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Mother Mathilde: lessons still relevant today

Japan recently celebrated the 150th anniversary of Mother Mathilde Raclot's arrival on Japanese soil. The first woman missionary to enter the country .She was 58 years old when she arrived with four young sisters in 1872. It was the start of almost 40 years of missionary activity, marked by terrible trials: the successive restrictions imposed on Christian missionary activities, the premature death of the young sisters, the great Kanto earthquake and the Second World War. Despite all this, Mother Mathilde never lost hope, thanks to her deep roots in God and her inner strength.

As part of this celebration, the provincial team prepared a course entitled: "The teachings of history through the letters of Mother Mathilde - Reflections and sharing", attended by fourteen Infant Jesus Sisters and eight lay people. For six months, from August 2022 to January 2023, they met once a month for a time of online sharing. The programme included reading the many letters that Mother Mathilde wrote to the Superior General in France to inform her of various happenings and events in Japan. A mine of historical information!

What one participant had to say :

I learnt a lot about the 'real' history of Mother Mathilde's time and her missionary activities. Her detailed descriptions are so precise and vivid that I could feel the joys and sorrows that she and her sisters experienced, even if it is far beyond what we can imagine. I am deeply touched that God has sent us Mother Mathilde. I firmly believe that we must keep the missionary spirit that she witnessed throughout her life and pass on this treasure to future generations.

And if you want to know more, don't hesitate to get hold of Françoise Fauconnet-Buzelin's book, « Mère Sainte-Mathilde Raclot (1814-1911). Une épopée missionnaire asiatique », Ed. Salvator.


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