Director of Caritas Joins Sisters of Charity after witnessing the Tsunami and Hearing the Voice of Jesus....SHARE

Tsunami "made me hear the voice of Christ. And I chose consecrated life "
Sawako Inae was a director of Caritas Japan when the 2011disaster changed the country and her life. At 50 years of age, witnessing the devastation, she heard the Lord's call and joined the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa. She spoke about her life and her choice to AsiaNews and says: "In a country like Japan, where many feel lonely and helpless, we Catholics must bring all the love and closeness of Jesus."

Sendai (AsiaNews) - The tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 "completely matched with the Bible stories.  I really felt that Jesus spoke to me directly.  In such, the voice of Jesus was the engine of my choice”,  says Sister Sawako Inae.   The 50 year old spoke to AsiaNews about her decision profess vows after a life spent in the world of international assistance, a successful career at the United Nations Development Programme, and finally a top job at Caritas Japan.
As director of Caritas Japan, Sister Inae (then still a lay woman) was among the first to take action to bring aid to survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit on 11 March 2011. She moved to the diocese of Sendai, the epicenter of the disaster, and asked to be allowed to stay at the local convent of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa. These offered to host her for as long as necessary.

In the days following the disaster, which caused about 18 thousand dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, Inae thre herself heart and soul into helping survivors: "I worked mostly with the groups of victims of the tsunami, caused by an earthquake. To put it in a nutshell, people from the same region and who may not have known each other before the drama came together in self-support groups, especially psychological ones. In this way they were pushed to find a way to start over. It was amazing: to see people who were living an empty life without stimuli, become completely different humans. The desire to help others changed many people, for the better. "
The beginning was not easy: "When they got together aftermath, they had seemed to think that they had nothing to offer to the group members.  As they mourned over and accepted the loss one another, they seemingly got ready to move on.  And after some time, each and every individual has become a resourceful person with so much to offer.  I witnessed the miracle whereby Jesus increased the number of breads and fishes.  In such, great earthquake represents miracles done by Jesus. The mentioned story was just one example of many. Even a disaster like that of 2011 can become a miracle of Christ. "

Understanding this reality helped mature a vocation in her heart. "Not even five months later - her bishop, Msgr. Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi  tells AsiaNews - I get a call from my colleague. To be honest I wanted to scold her for being late [he laughs] but I had not even started talking when she told me she wanted to become a nun. I was amazed, I really did not expect it. It was the biggest surprise of my life. " Today Sister Inae is completing the second year of consecrated life, the last before the profession of final vows.

She says her own life has become a testimony of God's love: "When I was a child, I had to move one country to another due to my father’s job.  I had enjoyed meeting with new friends and getting to know new places and cultures.  So it was natural for me to get a job to work with people while enjoying new experiences.  But after some time, I came to realize that it was not easy to leave people and places once I familiarized with.  To feel less pain, I have learned not to be involved too emotionally with people”.

But this state of affairs changes thanks to her discovery of the faith at a young age: "My encounter with Jesus set me free from being afraid of parting.  I can now freely be connected to people, knowing that the ties would be eternally kept through Jesus.  Also, I used to feel that I was drifting with no roots.  Now, I know that I am tied with Jesus that I could be anywhere with no worries".

In Japan the Catholic population is very small, approximately 650 thousand out of 120 million people. Caritas activities in the aftermath of the tsunami has helped many to discover the true face of the Church and drawn many young people to Catholicism.

But this work of evangelization is still a very long process, and needs the commitment of all: "We consecrated - says Sr. Inae - live without the anxieties of daily life, and above all we know to never be alone. We have a purpose in life and a perennial family. And this is the sense of being Catholic! In a country like Japan, where many feel lonely and helpless, we need to better convey this message. Every human being is created by God, and has a noble and beautiful goal in life. This is a truth that we have to shout from the rooftops. "

But the truth is that words are not enough: "We need the experience. That's why especially in my country it is important that the Church comes close to the population and live as citizens live, always trusting in the fact that Jesus is working through us. In this, the witness of Pope Francis is priceless. "

The election of the Argentine pontiff wowed Sister Inae, who did not know him as archbishop of Buenos Aires, but had heard of him: "I love this Pope. I find his message simple to understand, encouraging and very powerful. His ministry is exceptional: I find it always on the side of the people, for the people. He is a man tied to the land, in the noblest sense of the term. He says things that Christ would say if he were here today with us. We are very, very happy to have a man like him at the helm of the Church. " Shared from Asia NewsIT