Return to blog
It is also an unusual association in that it was originally born as a business entity. The congregation began when Cardinal Doi entrusted us with the operation of Sakuramachi Hospital, which was built by Fr. Totsuka Bunkei upon his return to Japan from Europe. Fr. Totsuka devoted himself to saving the bodies and souls of tuberculosis patients. Tuberculosis was considered a national disease at that time, especially for the poor and abandoned. Fr Totsuka began at a hospital called St. John's Pan-Ai. Since the beginning of the Showa era, he had been providing "holistic care," which is commonplace in this day and age. As St. John's Pan-Ai Hospital became too small, he decided to establish a hospital in Musashino, and it was from here that Sakuramachi Hospital was born. However, Fr. Totsuka did not wait for the opening of Sakuramachi Hospital and died before its completion. Our foundress, wanted to get the hospital up and running and hand it over to the Tokyo Diocese. However, she was entrusted with Sakuramachi Hospital by the then Archbishop of Tokyo, Cardinal Doi, who said, "Why don't you do it yourselves?” She was given time to pray and think about it, which she did upon returning home. The foundress found God's will in Cardinal Doi's words and decided to establish a convent. She fully believed that God would give them great light, blessings, and the necessary grace because they were a small group of people who could do nothing by themselves.
We call our Foundress "Mother" with respect and affection. With the help of many collaborators and benefactors, she turned Sakuramachi Hospital into a modern tuberculosis hospital and took on new challenges for the sake of the patients she came in contact with. She built a pediatric tuberculosis ward for children, and opened a children's welfare facility called Aiseien for war orphans. In those days, the sisters were so busy that they did not have time to sleep during the difficult postwar period, but they never missed praying in front of the Eucharist. Prayer was the bread and butter of their work. The foundress's spirit of finding God's will in every little thing and taking good care of those who are given to us is still alive in us today.
With the change of the times, tuberculosis was no longer a terrible disease due to antibacterial drugs, and Sakuramachi Hospital became a general hospital focusing on adult diseases. At that time, the aging of the population was not yet a concern, but preparations were being made for the construction of a special nursing home to care for the elderly. She also made preparations for the construction of a hospice for terminal care. This was the time when the idea of holistic care, as practiced by Dr. Totsuka, was spreading and people were beginning to take interest in it.
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.
If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be.