Real time Reflection Question: Do you still believe in miracles?
Shinto priest’s wife, daughter in Easter baptism
Published: March 30, 2010
Among the many thousands who will join the Catholic Church this Easter are a mother and daughter from Japan. Their story is unique because the family’s father is a Shinto priest.
Eglises d’Asie reported the story of Ito Miyuki, 38, and her daughter, Kotone, 5, who will be baptized into the Catholic faith.
“My home is a Shinto temple; my work is that of a miko,” she told UCA News, referring to a woman assistant in a Shinto temple.
With only a few days left before her baptism, Miyuki continues to play sacred music during her husband’s ceremonies.
She began to work in the Shinto shrine in the prefecture of Shimane at 23.
Later, she returned to live with her parents in Yamagata, where she met Haruhiko, a Shinto priest.
Three years after her wedding, during a trip to India, she visited the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta and was blessed by Mother Teresa, who gave her a rosary.
However, Miyuki’s conversion came later after doctors diagnosed cancer of the pharynx, telling her it was terminal.
Without being able to explain it, the image of Mother Teresa came to Miyuki’a mind and she said to herself: “I want to be baptized before I die!”
But someone close to the Church told her that, being a miko, she should reconsider her decision.
However, she persisted and contacted the parish of Yonezawa, where she was received by the team in charge of the catechumenate.
Two months later, her cancer disappeared.
“My life was saved by Jesus Christ; I want to spend the rest of my life in the Church,” she thought at the time.
For some time Miyuki considered the possibility of abandoning her functions in the shrine, but she was dissuaded by a priest of the parish and the team of laymen that support her.
In regard to her daughter, Kotone herself went to see the priest to ask to be baptized.
“I want to know Jesus,” she said at the age of 5. “I love Jesus and I love Mary.”
Miyuki’s husband has no objection to the prospect of the forthcoming baptism of his wife and daughter. He says he feels profoundly fortunate.
“Considering my position, I can’t be baptized myself,” he explained. “But for my own part, I do wish I could.”