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Sr. Maria Johanna Etsuko Shimazu

Sr. Maria Johanna

40 years have passed since I entered the convent. When I look back, there are several important points with so much grace and blessing. And I can see a tactful wide but narrow way behind me. Lord called me by my name, and walked with me along this way. I was 17 years old when I got baptized, together with my parents, and 3 years later I entered the convent. When asked "why the convent ?", the universal answer is that God called me, but there are two other facts which I can remember.

First is my experience of fruitless emptiness. After graduating from school, I could meet many new friends and enjoy my youth. But every time, there was an end, fruitless and empty, and I wondered if everything was all right this way. Something was missing. More I enjoyed myself, stronger was this feeling.

Second was when my elder sister who was in the convent of Daughters of St. Paul, came home for a visit. She was at home only a few days, but one night, we talked for a long time , just the two of us. I do not remember our exact conversation, but she must have told me about her life in the convent, and her experience. That was an opportunity for me to think concretely about the future, how I would like to live.

Since then, I often went to the church after my work. One evening, I met one of my aunts who was helping the priests, and I told her about my worry. She just listened to me, without scolding or advising, and she just said " I will be praying for you."
Through these experiences, I was guided to offer my life for Lord Jesus.

I do not feel the emptiness any more. I remember with gratitude the encounter which directed and led me to my vocation. And I cherish my daily encounter and communication with people

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