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How Satoko Kitahara found the Church in very unlikley circumstances

2015-05-31

Satoko Kitahara was always an unlikely Catholic convert. She was born in Japan during the summer of 1929, and her aristocratic family could trace its bloodline to ancient Japanese Samurai.

But now she has been declared a Servant of God. One day, Kitahara could even become a Blessed or a Saint.

FR. ANGELO PALERI
Postulator General, Satoko Kitahara
"For us Christians and Catholics, it is an important example of how people from any place, time, family, or origin can be become people who accept the love of Christ and give themselves to others, even in a difficult situation.”

Kitahara converted to Catholicism when she was just 20-years-old. She was moved by what she saw inside a Catholic Church, and it inspired her new interest in the religion.

FR. ANGELO PALERI
Postulator General, Satoko Kitahara
"The first time she entered a Catholic Church, it simply gave her a sense of peace. She was particularly struck by the expression on a statue of Mary.”

Shortly after converting, she abandoned her life of comfort and wealth to tend to the poor. Kitahara became known as "Mary of Ant Town,” because she spent her days in a junk yard that was called Ant Town.

While working as a junk collector, she also taught children and organized events for them. She even helped make sure that all of the junk yard children stayed clean.

Some Japanese even converted to Catholicism because of the example that Kitahara set. Many people still visit her grave to this day.

FR. ANGELO PALERI
Postulator General, Satoko Kitahara
"Many remain devoted to her, not just those from her time but also people from throughout the Church in Tokyo.”

Even though some people disapproved, Kitahara never wavered in her devotion to the poor. She was moved to Ant Town when she became gravely ill, because her doctor knew that she would be happy to die among those she had served.


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