2012-04-22 GENERAL HOUSE

Read my story as a sacred story and in the perspective of Ad gentes


I’d like to read with you and for you my story as a sacred story in the perspective of Ad Gentes. Upon reading my story as a sacred story, I am able to affirm that I see my vocation as a call from God. If I want to do it from the perspective of AD GENTES, I can say that it is a call to a specific vocation, within the call to the more general call of being a Marist Brother.

During the course of my formation, I have always personally felt that God was accompanying me. When I set off to the novitiate it was a very difficult time, especially when I had to tell my parents. They did not deal with it very well. But they finally understood and I think God gave my father the strength to understand my vocation. My family finally appreciates and understands my calling.

After the novitiate I lived a normal life in community. God has always helped me with the aid of real Brothers. In 2009 I clearly felt the call to Mission AD GENTES and I answered the letter of Brother Sean offering myself to follow this call. That date seems so real to me even now and it gives me much joy.

Upon my perpetual profession I am able to say that my family was “converted” from not believing in my vocation to supporting me and believing in my convictions and in the call of God to become a Marist Brother. At that time my parents were living in city. They attended Mass even though they did not understand any Spanish. My ancestors had a close connection with the first evangelization of Japan. From that I received a solid tradition of the Christian experience. When my family decided to emigrate from Japan to Bolivia, they did so with a missionary spirit: to maintain the faith through the evangelization and animation of the Japanese Colony established in Bolivia. That has also given me much happiness and I see now that my whole family feels the joy of my being a Marist Brother. I know that it also cost them when I decided to depart for the Ad Gentes Program but they have accepted it.

In summary I am able to say that the three steps in my formation were very beautiful (postulancy, novitiate, scholasticate): I have always been able to see the presence of God in the Brothers in my community. I was always open with my superiors and their support was extraordinary. I would say that God has placed them in the journey of my vocation. Everyone listened to me very attentively and that gave me courage. It developed in me the habit of seeing community as God’s space.

Besides my relationship with the Brothers, I am also used to seeing God in the beauty of little things. Perhaps this may be more Oriental than Bolivian. Finally, upon reading my story as a sacred story, I am able to say that I am in love with my vocation as Brother. And, to be a Brother is to live as a brother.

I know that the call to Ad Gentes is a special, even exigent, way of living as a Brother. But, with the help of God, I throw myself into this adventure. There will be many difficulties (learning English to begin with), but culturally I think I know how to adapt without too many problems. The Marist vocation has made me grow very much, as much on the human level as on the Christian. I am from an Oriental culture (my family is Japanese) and I lived divided between a Western culture, the Spanish Brothers in my community, and the Bolivian culture; moreover, within Bolivia there are two ways of thinking: the Oriental-Bolivian culture (Los CAMBAS) and the Western-Bolivian culture (AYMARA-QUECHUA). I was born into the Oriental-Bolivian culture. When I entered the house of formation, the first thing that I had to work on was the theme of cultural identity, at the Bolivian level, and later integrating the Japanese culture and, in the communities, the culture of the Spanish Brothers.  

The Congregation helped me first find myself as a person. Later it helped me to assimilate into two cultures, and then integrate myself in them. I had to learn how to relate in the multicultural world.  In the beginning I felt divided between the two cultural expressions of my country but in the last couple of years I feel myself more of a “bridge”.  So, ‘being a bridge’ I believe that I can adapt myself to the Oriental (Asian) culture of Ad Gentes.  As I have said above, I think in a more Oriental way and feel the realities of the Bolivian-Latin American life style, and I plan in a Western way because of my relationships with the Spanish Brothers. All of this will facilitate my integration into the Ad Gentes communities.

Brother Mitsuaki Hatnaka Sakata
 April 5, 2012 – Rome


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