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Monday, February 25, 2013

Marianist Foundation in Tokyo

The Very Rev. Joseph Simler (1876-1905) Fourth Superior-General of the Society of Mary (1833-1905) following William Joseph Chaminade (1817-1845), George Joseph Caillet (1845-1868), and John Joseph Chevaux (1868-1875)


Departure from Paris.

The Fathers of the Paris Foreign Mission Society was founded to develop missions for the Church. In the year 1875, they made the first appeal for the cooperation of the Society of Mary in making a foundation in Japan. This was one of many appeals to the Marianists

In Circular #42 (June 21, 1887), Father Simler writes "From all sides, requests for foundations continue to pour in". In the same Circular he announced that the foundation in Japan would wait until the opening of the scholastic year 1888.

Thus on November 18, 1887 two teams of Marianists left Paris for Japan. (Circular #47, May 19, 1888, pg. 15) The plans were to meet in Yokohama and open a school in Tokyo by October 1888:

Rev Nicholas Walter left for America; he planned to meet Brother Joseph Senentz in San Francisco and continue to Japan using the western route.

Rev. Alphonse Heinrich, Bros. Louis Stolz and Camillus Planche took the opposite route; they embarked at Marseilles to take the eastern route via the Suez Canal. Their voyage was expected to last about forty-five days.(Circular 43, October 15, 1887 pg. 2)


Marianist Founders in Japan

Rev. Nicholas Walter and Bro. Joseph Senentz arrived in Yokohama from the USA on December 21,1887. This team moved to Tokyo the following day.

Rev. Alphonse Heinrich and his team arrived in Yokohama on January 4, 1988. (via latina # 220 — February 2013)


Rev. Nicholas Walter and Bro. Joseph Senentz

Visit to the Sisters of the Congregation of our Lady of St. Maur. (December 21, 1887)

Marianists received in Tokyo by Bishop Pierre Osouf, M.E.P. (Paris Foreign Missions Society), Archbishop of Tokyo(1891-1906).(December 22, 1887).

Returned to Yokohama to join Father Walter's group.(January 4,1988)(Source: Circular #47 May 19, 1888, Foundation of Tokyo May 19, 1988 pg.72)


The United Community of 5

In the evening of January 4 there was still time to visit the French and American Consuls at Yokohama. At 10 AM the next day, the community boarded the train for Tokyo.

The first days the community lodged with Fr. Lecomte, of the Society of Missions. It was here that the group received their first lessons in the Japanese language.

Fr. Alphonse Heinrich founder of Marianists in Japan.


Bishop Osouf offered temporarily part of the seminary to the Marianists including a class-room on January 23.

On the vigil of Purification (February 1) The Marianists opened a small school called Gyosei Gakuen in the European Quarter of the town Tsukiji Kyobashi Akashi.

By February 10 Father Walter was teaching English; Bro. Senetz, German and Arithmetic; Bro. Stoltz, Penmanship and Drawing; and Father Heinrich, French. There were three Japanese students.(Source: Circular #47 May 19, 1888, Foundation of Tokyo May 19, 1988 pg. 79)

By September 11th, The Marianists had left the lodging which Bishop Osouf placed at their disposal. The Brothers had moved into a house used for residence and a school. There were about 50 students.

In November the Marianists prepared for the purchase of new school sites.

In July 1890 the schools were transferred to a new site at 1-2-5,Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. (See the Gyosei Gakuen website - use google page translation for English.)

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