Ever since I was a high school student, I had vague thoughts about finding something, which I could dedicate my life to. I planned to study a subject that was practical enough to get a good job, however, I failed all the entrance examinations to go on to college. I made a promise to my parents that if I failed I would have no choice but to find a job right away.
So, I found a position at a publishing company as a general clerk. I thought about going to a night school until I run into my friend who was going to a night school that time. When I saw her, she did not look very happy to me. I did not want to be like her! My choices at this time were getting married or going to school. I settled with the idea of taking an English conversation lessons to satisfy my desire for learning.
It cost me a lot to take those classes. After one year, I switched school and started attending a class at a church in the center of the city. I was introduced to Catholic religion there at the church. There was a bookstore run by nuns from the convent of Daughters of St. Paul next to the chapel. I warned myself that I should stay away from them since I was planning to get married some day.
The very first thing I did for the church, as a volunteer was to help the nuns at the convent with daily housekeeping work. I was then asked to help their Sunday school. I worked with one of the nuns from the convent and naturally I started visiting the bookstore. Three years have passed since I began working at the publishing company. I though that I would continue to work at the company for the rest of my life until one spring I saw one male worker got promoted over one female worker who seemed to be more capable than him. How unfair it was! I thought that it was not good for my career working there! I was shocked to face reality of life.
I came up with the idea of becoming a teacher at a nursery while I was involved with activities for children. I wanted to study child psychology and thought about going to a college to study. However, I still wanted to get married while I was young. I felt as I finally found my life's work.
Around the same time I resigned from the company, I was asked to attend a retreat at the convent's headquarters in Tokyo. I had no idea what retreat was all about but I decided to go because I wanted to see the children from my Sunday school who moved to Tokyo along with their families. I was very excited to go to Tokyo.
After attending the retreat, I was in deep state of shock for noticing something had happened inside of me. On the last day, the priest said、"… you are still young, you do not have to make a decision about vocation. Although, I would like you to start thinking about which you would choose for yourself, marriage or vocation?"
It felt as if I was struck by a lightning. I asked myself, which would you choose? Vocation, I answered myself. It was surely a big decision to make for the girl from a non-Christian family. My mother was confused and my father was furious about me. My poor young brother was left alone without me at home. I tried hard to do well for myself.
Twenty-six years have passed, I spend each day devoting myself fully at any place I am sent with the Lord's mercy and guidance.
Translated into English by Chieko Sekine from the original Japanese text written by Sr. Ogata.