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Finding God in ‘daily tiny events’

Sister Elizabeth Ikuko HASHIMOTO, a member of Franciscan Missionaries of Mary congregation (Photo supplied)

A 90-year-old Japanese Franciscan nun says God calls her to trust and serve in “daily tiny events."

Sister Elizabeth Ikuko HASHIMOTO, a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM), works in her congregation's headquarters, also known as the General House, in Rome, Italy.

"I am over 90 years old and work for sisters in the refectory of a big community of 50 nuns. This is not what I asked for but was given. I am trying my best," she says on her social media post.

When she looks back, she realizes how much she has done to help others. 

"I am small and not noticed, but I just ordinarily do small things," the nun says. "I believe that God is calling me by tiny daily events. I put my trust in this and will keep living in joy and peace."

Sister Elizabeth celebrated the 70th anniversary of her consecrated life as a nun on June 13, 2022, during the feast of St. Anthony. 

"I think that I have just followed the way of Jesus all the way. I have not done anything special. But it is like a miracle to think about who I am now after meeting so many people who helped me on my life journey," she recalled.

She would like to use this opportunity to look back on the journey of her life, she adds. 

Sister Elizabeth Ikuko HASHIMOTO works in her congregation's headquarters, also known as the General House, in Rome, Italy. (Photo supplied)

Her family was not Catholic, and she was born in Tsu, a city on central Japan’s Ise Bay in Mie Prefecture. 

When she was a student, she was fascinated by foreign countries and people. In those days, many missionaries from abroad were at work in Japan. 

She encountered a priest from Germany, and she became absorbed in studying catechism, which led her to be baptized. 

"When I was thinking about my future after graduating from school, I happened to meet a Paulist nun who had just arrived from Italy at the church nearby. She welcomed me warmly," the nonagenarian nun recalls.

One day, she followed an aspirant from that congregation to a hospital run by FMM nuns. 

"It was there that I met an FMM sister for the first time. She advised me to meet her provincial. She might have thought I looked like I wanted to join the convent. I made an appointment to see her," she said. 

At that time, a school in Kobe [which is Japan's seventh-largest city after Kawasaki, the third-largest port city after Yokohama, and the capital city of Hygo Prefecture] was looking for a home science teacher. 

And she was employed right away, with joy. This was the first step toward her future. The school was being run by FMMs. 

Not opted, but given: The 90 years old works for nuns in the refectory of a big community of 50 nuns in Italy. (Photo supplied)

"My mother, worried about my going to Kobe by myself, arranged for my elder sister to accompany me. I was not happy about that because I had not told my parents about my baptism yet and I was afraid that my secret would be revealed to them," Sister Elizabeth shares. 

To her relief, the time passed without any disturbance, and thus her life as an aspirant started. 

"I have great joy and gratitude for my FMM vocation, for which the Lord Jesus prepared and guided me with numerous unexpected encounters," she says. - With inputs from Franciscan Missionaries of Mary - General House in Rome 


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