National award for Japanese sister’s overseas service

Sister Hiro Kageyama receives her award from Japan’s First Lady, Ms Akie Abe Photo: FESCO

Sister Hiro Kageyama receives her award from Japan’s First Lady, Ms Akie Abe
Photo: FESCO

Sister Hiro Kageyama, who, in 1957 became the first Japanese woman to be professed as a Sister of the Good Samaritan, has been honoured by her home country with an award recognising her many years of overseas service for people in need, especially in the Philippines.

Hiro travelled to Tokyo earlier this month with Sister Anne Dixon, with whom she lives and ministers in the Philippines, to accept the award from the Foundation for Encouragement of Social Contribution (FESCO).

“It was very unexpected,” she said. “And my main feelings about it were just inexpressible, deep gratitude to God, my parents, my Congregation and communities, and innumerable supporters, for my long life both in Japan and outside Japan, especially Australia and the Philippines, for their kind loving assistance.

“I was also very happy because the nature of this award is for social contribution, which means helping others, and as Sisters of the Good Samaritan, that is what we try to do.

“I think God allows us to feel happy when we help others, as a little taste of heaven.”

Hiro joined the Sisters of the Good Samaritan in 1955 after meeting the late Sister Mary Catherine Teresa Mercovich, who was ministering in Nagasaki.

“I had been with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart for all my school education, but somehow God wanted differently,” she said.

Sister Hiro in Tokyo earlier this month to receive her award Photo: FESCO

Sister Hiro in Tokyo earlier this month to receive her award
Photo: FESCO

She spent many years working as both a teacher and principal at the Seiwa School, in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Ken, which was run by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, before spending some time at the mother house in Nara working in formation. After another period at Seiwa, she was appointed provincial for the Japan Province, a position she held for 10 years.

When she retired as provincial in 1994, Hiro ministered in the Philippines from 1994 to 2001 and again from 2012 to the present.

Over those years Hiro has worked with the Good Samaritan community and their partners in ministry in a variety of projects, including providing assistance with nutrition programs for children and religious education programs.

Hiro is currently involved in the ongoing development of the Good Samaritan Kinder School and the Good Samaritan Outreach Centre in Bacolod. She also supports an educational scholarship program, serves on the Diocesan Commission of Family and Life, provides pre-marriage education for Japanese and Filipino couples, and teaches Japanese to students.

Hiro said she loves her work with the people of Bacolod on Negros Island in the Philippines.

“The work we do is not just to help people out, but also to build up self-reliance and sustainability,” she said.

“If we help them to learn ways of living so that they can sustain themselves, especially the mothers, then we are helping to build up the community for the long-term.”

Hiro said she was thrilled to be at the award presentation in Tokyo, which was attended by Her Imperial Highness, Princess Yoko, and more than 400 other people. Hiro received her award from Japan’s First Lady, Ms Akie Abe, who is Chairperson of the Foundation for Encouragement of Social Contribution. She was also “extra happy” to be treated to a celebration by her many friends at the Seiwa School, before the award ceremony.

“I was deeply impressed and moved by the other awardees’ dedicated, compassionate action and activities for the needy. They really deepened my insight into social service,” she said.

“And also, I think my father would be very happy in heaven, because he always told me to be helpful for society, to study hard and work hard for society. The Sisters of the Sacred Heart also emphasised this at school, and then of course, I entered the Sisters of the Good Samaritan who are all about the neighbour, helping other people and having compassion for people.

“So when I look at my life, I see that God arranged this. Somehow, God prepared one road from my childhood and I have been walking a road of social contribution, whether I was aware of it or not.

“Other people are so important. We are all sisters and brothers.”

Download a printer-friendly version (PDF 199KB)


The Good Oil, July 19, 2016. If you would like to republish this article, please contact the editor.

18 Responses to “National award for Japanese sister’s overseas service”

  1. Marie Casamento says:

    Congratulations Hiro. What a wonderful tribute your own people have given to you. You are indeed blessed and we are blessed because of your presence amongst us. Marie Casamento

    • Marie Casamento says:

      Dear Marie, thank you for your kind message to my goodoil article. Yes, it was unexpected but in reality it made me very happy and has encouraged me a lot. I am fully grateful to you all who have been assisting me with prayers, words, etc. Also Marie,HAPPY AND GRACEFILLED BIRTHDAY ON THE 10th. Special prayers went to you, Marie. Hope you had an enjoyable day, too. |Grateful love. Hiro.

  2. Gerri Boylan says:

    I agree with you, Hiro, that neighbourliness and social contribution can be happening through us whether we are aware of it or not as that has become our way of life.
    Thank you for who you are and for bringing this aspect to our attention.
    Congratulations and love to you, dear Hiro.

    • Gerri Boylan says:

      Dear Gerri, thank you very much for your kind message for my article. Yes, it was unexpected but in reality it has given me good encouragement to continue doing what God wants me to do for serving His precious people in the Philippines. It was all due to the assistance of you all with prayers, words, actions etc. so I am deeply grateful to you, Gerri. Please continue to remember me in your prayers. In prayerful gratitude. Hiro

  3. Marie Jones S>G>S> says:

    Dear Hiro, you have always been a wonderful inspiration. May you continue your life with love, good health, peace in heart and mind.

    • Marie Jones says:

      Dear Marie, thank you very much your kind message for my article. Yes, it was unexpected but in reality it has given me much encouragement to keep on doing what God wants me to do for His dear people in the Philippines. It was all due to the assistance of you all with your prayers, words etc. Please continue to remember me in your prayers, Marie. With prayerful gratitude, Hiro

  4. 授賞おめでとうございます。これからも頑張ってください。森川

    • Haruko Morikawa says:

      Dear Haruko, thank you very much for your kind message for my Good Oil Article. yes, it was unexpected but in reality it has given me much encouragement to keep on doing what God wants me to do. I would like to thank you for all you have been doing for our Sisters in Japan. with heartfelt gratitude and prayer. Hiro.

  5. marites samillano says:

    congratulations Sr. Hiro. I am so happy that you prefer to stay here in our place to serve our people.I’m proud to be part of your community.You are truly a Hero not only in your place but especially here in the Philippines.You inspired us.we love you.

    • Marites Samillano says:

      Dear Marites, thank you very much for your thoughtful message for my Goodoil article. Yes, it was quite sudden and u expected, but good God allowed it happen on me. It is I who should thank you for all you have been doing for our Kinder School. We are very happy that you are the one who would carry its responsibility and service for the reign of God through His precious children. I pray daily for you now and you in near future, too. Marites. God bless you and I love you much. In gratitude. Hiro.

  6. Margaret Keane says:

    Congratulations Hiro. You are a role model for all of us. Thank you.Many blessings as you continue your ministry.
    Marg

    • Margaret Keane says:

      Dear Margaret, Thank you very much for your kind message. Yes, it was quite unexpected but in reality I was very much encouraged to keep on my ministries wherever and whatever God wants me to be and to do for His people. It was all due to the assistance from you and all with prayers, words, etc. Please keep on praying for me and the Philippine mission. Grateful love, Hiro.

  7. Moya Weissenfeld says:

    Loving congratulations, Hiro, and many thanks for the great work you do and have done for so many.

    • Moya Weissenfeld says:

      Dear Moya, thank you very much for your message. I appreciated your kindness very much. Yes, it was unexpected but the time and days were really gracefilled and encouraged me very much for keeping on serving others where and what God wants me to be and to do. Grateful love, Hiro.

  8. Eugennie Levinson says:

    Congratulations, dear Hiro, what a wonderful acknowledgement of your gifts and service to others.

    • Eugennie Levinson says:

      Thank you for your kind comment. It was good that Anne went with me for the Ceremony in Tokyo. I thank God and you and all who have been helping me with prayer and everything that I needed for my long service here in Bacolod with the Sisters. Prayerful love Hiro.

  9. Jeanie Heininger says:

    Congratulations to Hiro for receiving the Award for Encouragement and Social Contribution from Japan’s First Lady. I feel very proud of Hiro and all our Japanese Sisters over the years who have lived their lives in offering compassion to those in need in Japan and the The Philippines.

    • Jeanie Heininger says:

      Thank you very much for your comment of my receiving the Award. It is a gift from God and all those who have been helping me with prayers and everything. God bless you, Jeanie. Prayerful love Hiro.

Leave a Comment

The aim of The Good Oil's comment section is to encourage respectful conversation and dialogue. When posting your comment please:

  • be brief (no more than 120 words) and keep on topic;
  • be respectful of others whether you agree with their opinion or not;
  • be careful about posting your personal information online.

Our comment section is moderated. Your name and email are required for identification purposes. Your email will not be published. We reserve the right to not publish comments.