Marguerite D’Youville, Mother of Universal Love
The word "Caritas" is Latin for "love".
It comes from the name of the Order of Caritas Nuns, founded by St. Marguerite D'Youville, the “Mother of Universal Love.”
St. Marguerite D'Youville was a woman who devoted her life to "the service of love" in 18th century Canada.
She showed deep compassion and empathy for all people, especially the underprivileged and those in need and extended a helping hand. Her work was based on a deep trust that God is a loving Father to all people.
D'Youville's service activities, which began with a small act of kindness, eventually led to the creation of a community that transcended ethnic, national, religious, and cultural barriers in the service of universal love. This is the Congregation of Caritas Nuns.
D'Youville's spirit of universal love and her accomplishments were recognized worldwide, and she was canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II in 1990.
Sisters who inherited the spirit of D'Youville
In the nineteenth century, sisters who inherited the spirit of D'Youville were sent to various places to pioneer new avenues of loving service.
In 1845, Mère Elisabeth Bruère and her sisters were sent to Ottawa to found the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity and Virtue of Ottawa, where they began educational activities with immigrants of various nationalities.
In 1849, Mère Marcel Marais and others sent to Quebec founded the Congregation of the Caritas Nuns of Quebec, which cared for orphans, the sick, and the elderly, and expanded its activities into the field of education.
Following the footsteps of St. Marguerite D'Youville, the nuns were innovative in addressing the social issues of the time and provided bilingual education in English and French with an international sensibility that was ahead of its time. In addition to school education, they also engaged in a wide range of social welfare and medical activities, and promoted concrete activities for the service of life and the realization of justice and peace.
Three Sisters Sent to Japan
In 1953, the Congregation of Caritas Nuns of Quebec, Canada, sent three Sisters, Rita Deschaenne, Rose Anna Baillargeon, and Gloria Beaulieu, to Japan to respond to the urgent social need for school education in postwar Japan.
In 1960, seven years after their arrival in Japan, Sister Rita Deschaenne became the first director of Caritas Gakuen, an educational corporation established through the dedicated work of the sisters who overcame their language barriers. In 1961, the first Catholic school, Caritas Girls' Junior and Senior High School, was established in Nakanoshima, Tama-ku, Kawasaki City. The first entrance ceremony was held in the brand-new school building with 207 junior high school students and 157 senior high school students, and Caritas Gakuen made a brilliant start.