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Meeting of former students at Kobe

06/11/2010: Japan

Br. Ramón Bereicua, living in Kobe, in a letter addressed to a friend, gives some details about his life as a Marist in Japan. An event which filled him with joy was a meeting with former students of the school in Kobe. « On 10 October, we had a large Marist family gathering of some 190 former Marist students of Kobe, coming from Japan and different parts of the world: the USA, Europe, Middle East, Asia… even from New Zealand. With their spouses and friends, some 250 persons arrived in Kobe to share a convivial meal ».The Marist Brothers came to Japan from China in 1951. Brothers Louis-Charles and Léon-Stéphane, the founders, left Hongkong on 21 July 1951, and went to Kobe. The Brothers of China have proved ingenious in establishing themselves in new lands. The work of Japan is today attached to the Province of the United States.The second part of Br. Ramón’s letter mentions the fruits of the Marist work in Japan: « They asked me to say a word and also to bless the table. An extraordinary fraternal encounter and great praise for the « Marist fraternity ». Unbelievable! Among those present there were Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, but most were Buddhists, Shintoists, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Moslems… who were grateful to us for having prepared them to face life with a great sense of brotherhood and mutual respect. The day before, a good group of them visited the Marist cemetery in Kobe to lay a bouquet of flowers on the Brothers’ tomb… That’s what keeps us hopeful! »As in so many places throughout the world, the harvest is abundant and the labourers few and filled with years and with merits for having cultivated the Father’s field to the last hour. « From time to time, I take care of the cemetery of the Brothers in Kobe, where five are buried, including the founders who came from China, and even a Councillor General » Br. Ramón says.The meeting with these former students of such diverse origins keeps the Brothers of Japan open to hope, awaiting the time to pass on the baton to some candidate from mission ad gentes. « There are only two of us Marists in Japan, both advanced in age. When will the reinforcements arrive? »

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