Four Good Samaritan Oblates from Western Australia have recently returned from visiting the Good Samaritan Sisters and their Associates in Japan.
The visit was on “a pilgrimage of connection”, which had deepened the bonds of friendship first forged when the sisters visited WA last year.
Bev Agar, Kathy Beeck, Jan Gorza and Elaine Walley – who have been Good Samaritan Oblates since 2016 – visited Nara, where the Japanese Good Samaritan Sisters are based.
They also visited Hiroshima and the Fukushima area, where Sr Haruko Morikawa is currently ministering.
The visit,from 9 to 23 April, came about after five of the Japanese Sisters visited WA last year following the Good Samaritan Sisters’ Chapter Gathering in Sydney.
“We got to spend a few days with them then, both in Perth and New Norcia, last year,” Ms Gorza said.
“It was the start of a great friendship, and they mentioned it would be nice to try and do something in return.”
The trip took form, and with the help of WA-based Sr Anna Warlow and the Japanese Sisters.
Ms Gorza said the trip was a profoundly touching experience.
“The sisters had planned much sight-seeing for us, but they each took turns in taking us out for the day, which was a great opportunity to spend time with each of them and get to know them as well as see the sights,” she said.
“I came away from Japan feeling a sense of gratitude for what I’ve got but also for all we learnt there, about courtesy and respect and peace.
“I feel there’s a strong connection there now and hopefully we can build on that.”
Sr Morikawa said the visit of Bev, Kathy, Jan and Elaine was a wonderful experience for the sisters in Japan, deepening the shared bonds of being a part of the Good Samaritan family.
“They showed [us] the essence of being Christian,” she said.
“While they were here they were willing to serve the people in the area [by] visiting, caring and helping.
“They shared the importance of the Good Samaritan spirit, and as Oblates, they are aware of the responsibility they have to carry on the mission. It was great learning for us.”
Sr Morikawa said the Oblates shared their positive and active commitment to the community with the Japanese Associates through exchanging stories and experiences, during which their training in ministry, prayer and study of the Benedictine tradition was evident.
“Another highlight for us was to celebrate Sister Benedicta’s golden jubilee with the oblates during their visit,” she said.
“Sr Benedicta [Michiko Hiu] is sick, so she did not attend the celebration [of jubilees] in Sydney, but she seemed very happy to celebrate it with the Oblates from WA.”
For the WA Oblates, the pilgrimage helped strengthen the ties between themselves and the Japanese Sisters and their associates, but they said it also had a profound personal impact.
Originally published by the Goiod Samaritan Sisters in The Good Oil