03/14/2019, 15.40
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Finding Christ through books: the conversion of a Japanese nun

Sister Piermaria Kondo Rumiko was born into a Shinto family. During her childhood, her religious experience was influenced by her grandmother. She became a Christian at 24, after a period of personal difficulties and illness. For her, "Faith is a grace” and her vocation has made her happy.

Rome (AsiaNews) – Sister Piermaria Kondo Rumiko (pictured) is a “Christian and a religious because of the grace from the Lord”. Born into a Shinto family, she joined the Daughters of St Paul (Pauline Sisters) after her conversion.

The daughter of a carpenter, Sister Piermaria was born in the Prefecture of Ehime, in the northwest of Shikoku Island. Her family is devoted to Shinto, a polytheist and animist religion native to Japan.

"When I was born,” she told MattersIndia, “my parents dedicated me in the temple. Like most Japanese, on the first day of the New Year I used to go to the Shinto temple. When I was nine years old, I danced for the Shinto party as an adult initiation."

As a child, Sister Piermaria was greatly influenced by her grandmother in matters of religion. The latter "was very devoted Shinto and a Buddhist. She prayed to the Buddha wherever she found one of his statues. It formed in me a deep sense of love toward God.”

She became Christian at the age of 24, after a period of personal difficulties and illness. She is an avid bibliophile.

“Since I loved to read books, I used to frequent a bookshop,” she explained. “I went there to find something to read that would give me some peace of mind and some encouragement in my life. I found a book by Carl Hilty titled For Sleepless Nights. The book had a lot of Bible quotations. The Gospel verses were very consoling. So I began to read the Bible.

"I realised that Jesus never abandons me no matter what happens in my life. I felt this when I read the Gospel of John, ‘Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me; I will certainly not reject anyone who comes to me’ (Jn 6, 37). And I also liked a Protestant song: ‘Master, No Offering Costly and Sweet (Love’s Offering)’. It seemed to me that I heard the call from Jesus through this song.”

The young woman began to attend a Protestant church. At "that time, I got an inspiration to dedicate myself to the Lord for all of my life. I shared my desire with the pastor. He suggested that I go to a Catholic church as the Protestant Church has no provision for people who want to follow a life of consecration.”

She eventually met a woman working at the reception of a Catholic church who would later become her godmother.

"I shared with her my desire to be a religious and she guided and encouraged me. After two years of instruction in the faith I received baptism. My godmother had two friends in the Daughters of St Paul. Thus, she directed me to the congregation.”

Although “my parents did not agree, [. . .] they let me go” and in 2012 she made her perpetual vows. At the same time, “I did not feel the need to convert them, because faith is a grace, and I think they believed in God, even if they worshiped [him] in different ways.”

Since then, her father has passed away. “My mother and only brother still do not understand my choice, but she has told me that she is happy that I am content in my vocation as a religious.”

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