05 March 2008

'A Spring Flower': 12-year-old baptized on her death-bed

The March-April issue of Misyon, the publication of the Columbans here in the Philippines which I edit, has a very touching story of Keiko, a young Japanese girl, who became a Catholic on her death-bed in 1973. This touched me very deeply when I first read it and I've often told Keiko's story in retreats and homilies. It touched me deeply again when I was editing it for our latest issue, though very little editing had to be done.

The author, Fr James Norris, a Columban from New Zealand, spent 56 years working as a missionary in Japan before retiring to his home place where he died last year just a few months after celebrating his Diamond Jubilee as a priest.

Like kidnapped Archbishop Rahho of Mosul, Iraq, like murdered Father Raqeed in Iraq, Father Jim too was 'configured to Christ' in his long and faithful service as a priest-missionary in a country where very few are interested in learning about our Saviour, though Japan has its canonized martyrs and surely their blood will reap a harvest of faith some day.

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