The Sisters of the Good Samaritan, disturbed by the current “escalation of tensions and threats” between the United States of America and North Korea, released a public statement of solidarity with Japan and the Asia-Pacific region at the close of their 26th Chapter Gathering earlier this month.
“As a congregation of religious women living and ministering in Japan, the Philippines, Kiribati, and Australia, the Sisters of the Good Samaritan join with others in our interconnected global community in calling for the building of peace and harmony through dialogue and mutual respect between nations,” the statement began.
“We observe with dismay the growing tensions between the United States of America and the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (North Korea) and between North Korea and Japan. We recognise that many people are suffering under the threat of attack and we stand in solidarity with the people of Japan and all those who live in fear of nuclear conflict.”
The Sisters are acutely aware of the people of Japan who know too well the destruction and devastation of nuclear conflict and nuclear disaster. It was in 1948 that Australian Good Samaritan Sisters first came to Japan in response to an invitation to support and care for the survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
Today, a small community of Japanese Good Samaritan Sisters continues to live and minister in Nara, near Kyoto. One of those sisters, Sister Haruko Morikawa, recently relocated temporarily to Minamisoma, a coastal city near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, to support survivors of Japan’s 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
In their October 2 Statement of Solidarity, the Sisters said that “the only way forward to a peaceful future is to build dialogue between nations, and to respect the shared humanity of all people, including those living in Japan, the USA, and on the Korean peninsula.
“We recognise the extreme poverty of the people of North Korea and pray that they may be treated with humanity and justice by their own government,” the statement continued.
“The escalation of tensions and threats between the USA and North Korea has brought our world to a potential disastrous conflict and we pray that, through respectful dialogue and mutual understanding we may be able to stand together and build a new way of looking at each other and our world that embraces our shared humanity.”
Before concluding their statement, the Sisters made a prayerful plea for all nations to “commit to nuclear disarmament and active peace-building”.
“As Sisters, together with the Catholic community in Japan, and with people of peace in every community, we stand committed to dialogue and to working for peace as one human community.”