Current Ministry Location: Japan
Sister Teruko was born in Kyoto, Japan on March 25th, 1945 to Nobu Ito and Masachika Ito; she has two brothers. Sister Teruko graduated from Notre Dame High School in Kyoto in 1963 she became acquainted with the Maryknoll Sisters who worked in the parish next to hers. After her graduation from Notre Dame High, she received a scholarship to attend Maryknoll College in the Philippines where she earned a B.A. in Mathematics.
After working for a year, Sister Teruko returned to the Philippines and entered the Congregation on July 24th, 1968 at the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate for women in Asia.
In 1970, she was assigned to Tanzania. During her time there, she studied Swahili and taught math in secondary schools in Dar es Salaam and Morogoro. She pronounced First Vows November 20th, 1971 in Tanzania. Soon after, she made her first trip to the United States to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY for a year of reflection. She served in the Information Services Office and also earned an M.A. in Religious Studies at the Maryknoll Seminary.
In 1978, she was assigned to Japan. A Maryknoll priest welcomed her as he was trying to organize some rehabilitation centers in Japan. He brought the Alcoholics Anonymous program to the country and Sister Teruko did some translation for him. He created a bilingual meeting between English-speaking and Japanese-speaking AA members and she assisted with the translation. It was a good way to understand the disease and the recovery process. She helped in the Maryknoll Alcohol Center (MAC) on the outskirts of Sanya, Tokyo and was asked to join the project as a full time worker, she was the only non-alcoholic person on the staff. She pronounced Final Vows February 1st, 1981 friends in Japan.
From 1989 – 1993, Sister Teruko was Co-Director of the orientation of candidates to the Maryknoll Sisters at the Orientation house in Newburgh, NY. In 1989, the candidates and their directors represented six countries.
After some studies at Fordham University, Sister Teruko was assigned to Guatemala in 1995. She studied Spanish in Cochabamba, Bolivia and then became part of a Diocesan Commission of Maryknoll Sisters developing Women’s Ministries in the diocese of San Marcos, the poorest of the twenty-three departments of Guatemala. Their ministry was largely the formation of women and men regarding the value, dignity, equality, responsibility and participation of women in family and society. Through workshops and community meetings they analyzed their reality and created openings to awareness of discriminatory attitudes and actions, leading to change. When groups expressed a desire to engage in projects, the Commission facilitated: literacy classes, reforestation, canning of fruits and vegetables, candle and soap making, weaving and marketing of woven products, vegetable gardening, etc.
They offered accompaniment to women and children in abusive situations, and provided workshops on alcoholism, on domestic violence and on HIV/AIDS. Sister Teruko offered therapeutic body treatment, such as massage, Reiki and Reflexology at an Alternative Health Center.
In 2014, Sister Teruko was elected as a member of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregational Leadership Team for a term of 6 years.