Be a sign of God’s tenderness


“The Baby Jesus of the Crib cries out to you, ‘tenderness’… for each and every human being.  

He opens his arms to the whole universe but first of all to the little and poor.”   
   lsr Magdeleine


In Tokyo, we try to be a discrete presence with some prisoners condemned to death or having long sentences – a discrete reflection of God’s love for everyone. 

We were going to see and writing regularly to nine friends condemned to death.  Three were executed.  A fourth has been incarcerated for several decades, but they have just found the instigator of the murders he was accused of having committed and a re-trial is now taking place. 

        As for the others, there is little change in their external lives.  We feel that they peacefully accept their condition.  Life is monotonous but their hearts remain quite alive.  S. often writes us touching letters about how he leads the life of a monk: silence, prayer, peace, fasting, a spirit of contrition, etc.  F. often complains about having desires that cannot be realized and he doesn’t understand why.  K. and T. were out of work in December because the company that made paper bags for department stores and supplied work for the inmates went bankrupt.  Fortunately the prison found work elsewhere quickly enough.  But the inmates were not paid for their work in December.  Even if it is just a very small salary, they need it for their daily life expenses: soap, stamps, etc.

We also have some friends who have completed long sentences and with whom we stay in contact.  J. is living in the Kumamoto prison on the South Island, a region recently affected by a severe earthquake.  It is now his older brother who takes care of him legally, but he remains very faithful to describe his life in detail.  He has many plans for the future: marriage, life and work in the Philippines.  At New Year’s we were happy to receive news from T. who is in the Chiba prison.  He asked us to get him a Bible.  He is doing well and working as a carpenter making “mikoshis” (tabernacles that are carried in the streets during Shinto processions). 

We had a long phone call with S. whom we had known in a prison in the region of Saitama and who was now out.  She has a difficult life and a lot of trouble raising her children. 

To end, some good news!  When I went to see F. yesterday, he told me they were going to retry his case and that he had rewritten his testimony.  This is undoubtedly partly thanks to a journalist who came to our place and who was shocked that F. had been condemned to death as he is mentally challenged.  Please pray with us for him and for the others. 

              The little sisters of Tokyo