Hello, friends in Christ! I am Novice Inoue Makiko from Japan. I was sent to the Philippines to spend my novitiate here and to experience community life with the Sisters in the Philippines. I am enjoying my stay very much. In Japan most of the people are Buddhist like my family. I am the only Christian among them.
I want to share my story why I have chosen to become a Daughter of St Paul. My first encounter with Christianity was when I enrolled at the Catholic high school run by the Assumption Sisters. The foreign Sisters are teaching English so, I chose the school not because it was a Catholic school, but because I wanted to learn English.
It was here that I experienced the Christian atmosphere. It was my first time to see Sisters. Some of my friends said, "You know, we heard that Sisters do not get married." I was curious why they have chosen that style of life. They taught us the "Our Father." We had a Bible class and the Sisters taught me catechism. I was very happy to spend some time with them. Whenever I met them, I felt some kind of emotion, different from what I feel with other people. May be it was holiness.
Gradually, l noticed a deep desire in my heart. "I want to be like them? I also want to become a Sister." At that time I was not a Christian yet. But I told my desire to a Sister. She said, ?Oh, Makiko you are not yet a Christian. You have to be baptized first.? She smiled and encouraged me to pray for my vocation. After two years on the Easter Vigil of 1997 I was baptized in the school chapel. One day in April, during the Easter season, I went to the book center of the Society of St Paul in Tokyo. I saw an invitation for a recollection for search-inners. I said to myself with excitement, ?I want to attend this because I am interested in the religious life." I participated and it was my first time to encounter the Daughters of St Paul. I was then a junior college student. After that the vocation directress suggested that I should visit the convent once a month to think of my vocation. I really did not know so much about them. I only knew that they publish religious books.
One time, the vocation directress told me the story of Father James Alberione, Founder of our Congregation and of the Pauline Family. She shared the story of the "famous night" which divided the 19th and 20th centuries. What struck me were the words of Jesus, "Come to me, all of you." I understood that Jesus wants all humanity to come to him so that we may have eternal life through him. I said to myself, "Since I came to know Jesus, I have already received so many graces, especially his unconditional love for me. I want to tell all people how much God loves each one of us, and how good and merciful He is." I also found out that the apostolate of social communications is very effective in communicating the Gospel to all peoples.
At first, my family was not happy about my decision, but they understood me. I decided to quit my job in the company. In l997, on the feast of the Queen of Apostles, I joined the Daughters of St. Paul. Two years after my entrance, my superior told me I had to go to the Philippines for my formation. I was very happy because I never imagined I could go abroad since in the convent we cannot just go anywhere we like. Of course, I had the difficulties adapting myself to various cultures and environment.
St Paul has also helped me very much during the difficult moments of my life. I prayed very much to him and told him I want to be a missionary like him. To follow my Master is not a comfortable and easy way, but I want to continue this journey to witness to His infinite goodness and love in my life. I want to share the Good News with all people and be like St. Paul who became all to all.
Novice Makiko made her first religious profession on June 30, 2001 after which, she returned to Japan to continue her religious formation. Ed.