It was the summer of 1965. A woman who had met two Sisters of the Society of St. John earlier wiped off her perspiration and walked up the hill to visit the Konohara Institute. The school was nestled against a mountain in a rich natural environment. When she met the children for the first time, she could not help but flinch at the the reality of the physical and mental disabilities of each of the children. Where are you from? What's your name? What's your name? At that moment, she heard the voice of God in a deafening thunder and there was a sharp bolt of lightning that pierced her whole body. She there and then decided to join the Missionary Sisters of St. John. Two years later, she became a resident of Konoharagakuin. The children welcomed her with exactly the same enthusiasm as when she first met them.
Since then, many of the children have gradually left the Konohara Institute to find work outside the school, but the percentage of new cases that are severe has become very high. In 1967, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government recommended that the congregation build a building for the severely intellectually handicapped under the condition that they would also pay for housing for the staff. At the time, there were only two facilities in Tokyo that had both a severely intellecturally disadvantaged wing, so there were high expectations from those involved. This brought the total capacity of Konoharagakuin to 170 children.
The children were divided into four groups according to their abilities: a practice group, a study group, a childchare group and a nursing group where the inhabitants received both educational and nurturing guidance tailored to their individual needs.
The nursery nurses and nurses in charge of the dormitory constantly monitored the health of the children and conducted physical measurements, health checkups, and vaccinations.
Sports meets, arts and crafts events were held, spring and fall field trips, movie nights, and birthday parties to improve the children's social and emotional skills.
In 1969, the headquarters of the social welfare corporation was established in Sakuramachi Hospital, and in 1970, Princess Hitachi visited Konohara Institute.
In 1971, as Konoharagakuin celebrated its 15th anniversary, the number of children admitted to the institute became more severe and older, and the institute was forced to improve its structure. The school was originally built on a slope, which was very dangerous, and for these reasons, a plan was made to relocate to a new site. The relocation to the foot of Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture was unexpectedly difficult and was not completed until four years later in 1975. Thus, Konoharagakuin was renamed Fuji St. John's School, with a capacity of 90 children and 100 adults.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him.
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.