This time we are interviewing Sr.Serena Kanazaki in Macao. This interviewwas held in 1999.
If you had the chance to watch the program Waga Kokorono Tabi (The Journeyof My Heart) on BS channel 1. Mr. Shinichi Ichikawa a well-known scenariowriter who wrote Ougon No Hibi (The Golden Days) visited Macao in thisprogram. He explained his long time wish to visit Macao. There were manyJapanese (Francisco Xavier even mentioned that he met many of them there)from the era, which Christianity was prohibited in Japan many went to Macaoto end their lives. The graves still exist today in Macao and are proof ofthe history.
is Macao like?
As you know Macao will be returned to China in December of 1999. I haveheard that people around the world will attend the largest and lastcelebration of the Portuguese holiday on June 10th. The people in Macao aremostly Chinese but many languages are spoken here, Portuguese, Cantonese andEnglish, the official language is Pekinese. The people call themselvesMacanion however they are facing issue of which citizenship they willchoose, Chinese or Portuguese according to restoration.Seniors choices for them to make for themselves.
are the Catholic churches?
Macao has been officially Catholic as a territory of Portugal. Only 10% ofthe population is Catholic although the Catholic calendar is used andCatholic holidays are celebrated. There are other religions and churchesother than Catholic.
you worried about the change in policy after the restoration regardingfreedom
to practice religion?
There was news that the Chinese government will only accept "AikokuChurches" others including priests of underground churches would be takenand killed. I'm not worried about it. I suppose that if not opposing thepolicies we will not have any problems.
have been sent to Macao twice? This is your mission in Macao now?
Yes, I have moved to Macao in March of 1969 and returned to Japan in 1992.I left Japan to return to Macao in January of 1997. Between two missions inMacao I worked in Yotsuya at St. Ignatius church. Actually my first missionwas in Taiwan my perpetual vow. In Taiwan three were Japanese includingmyself I studied Pekinese for 9 months at a local school. I then spent thelast part of the year with a mission at a branch in Taiwan. I was ready towork more actively but I was to go to Macao and open a new convent. Ilearned Cantonese with the help of an elementary school teacher since therewere no language schools in Macao. As you may know Cantonese has differentpronunciation from Pekinese.
do the daughters of St. Paul do?
We have six members and one convent in Macao. The mother Superior isBrazilian and speaks Portuguese we also have one Portuguese two Korean andtwo Japanese nuns. A nun who is a native of Macao is working in Taiwan. Wevisit schools and churches to sell Catholic publications. We also visitnurseries that are attached to the schools. We have a Filipino man who worksfull time he helps with just about anything including computers.We also have a Portuguese woman who works part time. Our superior sometimeshelps Filipino people who work here as domestic helpers for counseling.
Do you have any editorial work or production here?
We have enough books and tapes purchased from outside sources. We importanything Portuguese from Portugal, Chinese from Taiwan and Hong Kong andEnglish mainly from the Philippines. We may face some difficulties after thePortuguese leave Macao because of the restoration.
there any other convents affiliated with St. Paul?
There is a convent of St Paul and there are four fathers, one Portuguesepublishing a newspaper in Portuguese, two Filipino one belongs to a Parish.Also Fr. Teruo Yamaguchi who is Japanese and has been preparing missionarywork for China is currently working with the Japanese in Macao. I think thatthe Filipino father who lives with Fr. Yamaguchi will eventually go to Chinato help.
How do you feel about Japan on this visit?
I always think it is clean, organized and quiet. I'm amazed at the newimprovements and development in the city although people are still veryJapanese-like clean and polite. City of Macao can be very noisy! I'mimpressed with the large bookstores and the great number of readers. I wishthat politicians and leaders would have a broader view and learn more aboutcountries other than Japan. I do not expect that to happen suddenly. I hopethe younger people have more opportunity to interact internationally inorder to acquire cultural sensitivity and understanding through theexperience.
Translated into English by Chieko Sekine from the original Japanese text written by Sr.Serena Kanazaki.