The Infant Jesus Sisters were the first women missionaries who came to Japan in 1872 after the long, severe systematic persecution over 250 years by the Tokugawa Shogunate eased off.
This historical event was prompted by some Japanese Christians in Nagasaki who came forward to confess their faith to Mgr. Petitjean, MEP, the then apostolic vicar in Japan, the faith which had been secretly passed on over the centuries by their ancestors who were most severely persecuted. In response to his urgent request, Mother Mathilde and a group of IJ sisters arrived at Yokohama Port on 28 June 1872. On the very day of their arrival, they started studying Japanese, thus began their missionary work.
It was a memorable event in the Catholic Church in Japan, the year of the re-evangelization after St. Francis Xavier first brought the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Japanese people in 1549.
We will enter into the anniversary year with the opening Mass on 28 June, the day of Mother Mathilde’s arrival in Japan, to be celebrated by Fr. Pierre Perrard, MEP. Several years ago, it was found out, by chance, that he is related to Mother Mathilde. What a blessed coincidence!
Various events are planned during this anniversary year: see the Events tab.