Sister Mary Sophia Aihara, M.M.
Current Location-Maryknoll Sisters Center
Sister Mary Sophia was born in Uchide, Ashiya City, Hyogoken, Japan. In 1954, she entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation in Ossining, NY from Saiin Parish, Kyoto, Japan, and made her Final Vows on March 7, 1963 in Japan. A 1971 graduate of the University of the Sacred Heart in 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 homeland of 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 – 1960, 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 the 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 1973-1964, 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 participating in catechetical, educational and family ministry until 2005. She also did pastoral and prayer ministry with women until she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in NY.