Sister Mary Sophia Aihara, M.M.
Current Ministry Location-Maryknoll Sisters Center
Sister Mary Sophia Aihara has been a Maryknoll Sister for over 60 years. A translator of the Encyclopedia Britannica into Japanese, she was born in Uchide, Ashiya City, Hyogo-ken, Japan, Sister Sophia entered Maryknoll at its motherhouse near Ossining, NY, in 1954 from Saiin Parish, Kyoto, Japan, and made her final vows on March 7, 1963, in Japan. A 1971 graduate of University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo, with an M.A. in English Literature, Sister Sophia also holds a B.A. in English Literature from Doshisha, Kyoto.
An educator who spent most of her missionary life in her native Japan, Sister Sophia’s first assignment was supervising the sewing room at the congregation’s residence in Kyoto from 1957-1958. She then did parish work at her home parish in Saiin, Japan, from 1958-1958, followed by working at another local parish in Isa-she, Japan, from 1961-1963.
Sister Sophia then taught English, religion and math in Yokkaichi, Japan, from 1963-1968. Following completion of her studies at University of the Sacred Heart, she taught English at the university from 1971-1973 and English Literature at Sacred Heart Junior College from 1972-1973.
From 1973-1984, Sister Sophia worked at the Encyclopedia Britannica offices in Kichijoji, Japan, translating the entire expansive work into Japanese, while also teaching at Sophia University there. She continued teaching at the university until 1989, also leading bible study groups from 1987-1989.
Following her formal retirement in 1989, Sister Sophia moved to Tokyo, where she currently resides, participating in catechetical, educational and family ministry until 2005, and pastoral ministry with women and prayer and several years later returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in New York.