I will begin with the arrival of the family starting on
June 9, 1954 with Margaret, Bobbie Joe, and their son Jimmy, and our
brother, Bob who arrived from Dallas at 2:30. They went to Potters to
clean up after their long drive which began on June 7th. They had supper
at the convent and it was a fast day for all. Looked for accommodations
and found none until we went to Mrs. Walton where she was able to put
them up for 2 nights. The
family I had made reservations was not prepared td receive any guests. I
visited with James for a half-hour even though he was on retreat.
Thursday June 10, Margaret and her
family slept in and had a late breakfast at the convent. I visited with
them until time for them to leave about 9 a.m. for a day in
New York City sightseeing. Grace, Jim and two children, Loretta,
3 yrs. old and David, two
years 1. arrived at 2:30 p.m. from Nebraska. We drove to Elmsford to the
McAleers, where they cleaned up and we came back to the convent for a
visit and supper. Visited James until 8:15 p.m after which all returned
to their host for the evening. I
waited for Mom and Dad to arrive but they did not come.
Friday June 11: A call from Mr.
Potter early in the morning to tell me the rest of the family arrived
about 11:00 p.m. the evening before. They went
to the seminary and Jim took them to the Potters. At 10 a.m. we
left for a sightseeing
trip to New York City. I drove Frank's car with Grace and Jim following.
The two children, Loretta and David stayed with Sr. Justina. Mom, Dad,
Frank, Fern (Frank's wife) and their children, Ramona and John and I
went to the U.N. We had lunch and then to the Empire State after a lunch
in a Jewish restaurant. While waiting for a cab on the corner, we saw
three priests coming towards us. I recognized Bishop Sheen. I could not
let this opportunity pass, I asked Bishop sheen to meet my family who
were here for the ordination of their son at Maryknoll. He very
graciously shook hands with all and left us with several
"God bless you." It was a real thrill for the family to
meet and talk with the Bishop. On our way to the Cathedral- (St.
Patrick's) the cab driver took us on a long round about trip and of
course collected a fat fare from these country folks. We arrived back
after a lovely day and had supper at the convent so we would have time
to visit with Fr. James, who came over and joined us. He brought over
the chalice which the family had given to him but we had not yet seen.
(I am not able to describe it to you at this time 1979. March
June 12: The day of days had come. All came to 7 o'clock Mass at the
convent and received the Eucharist. We had breakfast and there met
Mother Mary Columba. We went back to chapel. I sat near Mamma in case
she should faint but she had no trouble. The place where I was sitting
was needed for the procession to enter and I had to make an exit--it
turned out to be a happy move as Sr. Rose Frances, who was sacristan
invited me to stay at the sanctuary entrance where I had a view of every
detail of the ceremony, Words fail to describe my emotions, of joy,
gratitude, love and wonderment at such a sublime privilege in Godís
answer to my lifelong prayer to have a brother, priest, another Christ.
gathered at a designated place for the family on the front lawn near the
entrance to Kateri garden and there greeted and received Father James
blessing for the first time. There was an emotional moment when all
realized how much Father Shafer was missed. Sister Scholastica, his
Maryknoll sister present, reminded us even more of Father's absence.
We went to the Seminary for dinner and later returned to
our section in the grove. At 3:30 we gathered at the Grotto of Lourdes
where we received the blessing of the newly ordained priests. I was
impressed by the congratulations given to Mom and Dad and to me, a
Sister. We went to Benediction in the Convent Chapel which was given by
Fathers Lavin and Rodrigues. There met many of the parents and relatives
of the Ordination Class and from there to the Seminary for dinner. We
toured the seminary compound and the farm then back to the convent for a
tour of the convent grounds and Maryfield to see the memorial Fr. Jim
left in the rustic furniture, Maria Hearth (a lovely fireplace), the
rustic crucifix that overlooks Maryfield (a ball field) and the steps
leading down from the motherhouse.
Marie and Carl Munk arrived from Fulton, New York. Marie
was a child in the Maui Children's Home on Maui, Hawaii when I was
assigned there in 1937. She married Carl who was in the military service
and they moved to his home town, in Fulton. Others whom I had known in
the service during World War II in Hawaii came up to visit. There was
James Perriharos, a Greek Orthodox who just happened in for a visit. Mr.
Johnson and his daughter, Loyola, the father and sister of one of my
Maryknoll group, Sister Virginia Therese also came. Mr. Ward, one of the
men in the Army also came in for a visit and for Father Jim's blessing.
The Johnsons (God bless them) gave Father his complete priestly
wardrobe. It was a day long awaited and full of joy for all. Deo Gratias
and Te Deum!
Sunday June 13: At eight thirty all gathered at the
Altar of God to participate in Father's first priestly offering of the
Sacrifice of the Mass. Mr. and Mrs. John Shack from Boston; Bob Hendry,
from Camden, N.J.; Marie and Carl Munk from Fulton, N.Y.; Michel Puchir,
a local friend; Mr. Potter, Maryknoll Sisters chief engineer and the
family. This group made up of representatives from the people and places
of my apostolic works and added to this glorious moment. Father
Jim offered the Mass beautifully, confidently and reverently. Words fail
to express my feelings and thoughts. I could only see him in the role of
Alter Christus. Many of the Sisters were also present at the Mass as
well as the Swysters, Sister Teresa Maureen's family. Breakfast was
served in the sisters dining room with all its festive decorations. We
expected about forty but I don't know just how many came. The
decorations were simple but beautiful, the backdrop was green and white
with a celtic cross in gold which centered a beautifully painted picture
of hands uplifting the host and chalice. It was made by Sister
Anthonita. Red and white peonies were the centerpiece with a post placed
in the center of the flowers bearing the name of Fr. J. Nishimuta.
After breakfast we visited for awhile. It was time to
return to the seminary for a buffet luncheon.
After the luncheon we went to the cloister for a visit with
Sister Theodore who knew Grace when she was at Maryknoll. We took
another tour of the grounds. We then went to the reserve place for Fr.
James' guests in front of an outdoor altar where the departure
ceremony took place. The backdrop for the altar was an oriental design
of deep blue and red, with a niche for the lovely statue of Our Lady. At
the ceremony Bishop Griffith gave a homily on the Blessed Trinity in the
role of the missioner. Benediction closed the ceremony.
A delicious dinner prepared by Sister Gregory and set up
and served in the auditorium at the Motherhouse for the family.
Charlotte Anderson's orchid and red carnation leis sent from Hawaii for
Mom and Dad was presented at this time as well as all that goes with
At the end of this happy day we all returned early to a
good night of rest before the trip back home. Margaret and Bobbie and
family started at 3 a.m. with continuous driving to reach Dallas and
then to Okmulgee, Oklahoma for Fr. Jim's first Solemn Mass at St.
Monday, June 14: Father said Mass in Mother Mary Joseph's
room. Mother Mary Joseph, the Foundress of Maryknoll Sisters community
and was at this time partially paralyzed from a stroke. Mother, Dad,
Mother Mary Columba Sister Mildred (Fritz), Mother Mary Joseph's
brother, Abe, his wife and son, Jerry, a Paulist seminarian. Breakfast
in the auditorium for the remainder of the family. After breakfast we
said good-bye to Maryknoll and left about 10 a.m. with lunches packed by
the sisters for the day's outing. We went to New York City to Battery
Park to take the Manhattan Sightseeing tour around the island by boat.
We missed a tour by a few minutes so ate our lunch (all 12 of us)
sitting on benches at Battery Park overlooking the water towards the
Statue of Liberty. We didn't have much privacy but enjoyed it all very
much. We finally got on board. It was the first boat trip for many and
the first in a long time for Mom, who came from Spain, and Dad, from
Japan. While on board, Fr. James heard his first confession and later
told us "it was a big fish." Deo Gratias.
Sr. Scholastica (Shafer) went with us on this trip as she
was not able to go to Oklahoma for the First Solemn Mass and we had such
little time together. Sr. Rose Mediatrice came as my companion to
Oklahoma and was welcomed and much loved by the family. We said good-bye
to Sr. Scholastica and started home by way of Washington, D.C. Enroute
Jim C. stopped off in Baltimore to visit a buddy, Bob Shadrach. After
leaving them we began looking for a cabin and finally found one far into
the night. Mother, Dad, Fr. Jim, Fern, and Ramona were traveling in
Tuesday, June 15: Mass at St. James Church in Falls
Church, Virginia. We had breakfast at the home of Jim's cousin with his
family, Cecilia and Joe and their children Elizabeth, Rita, Louise,
Monica and Danny. We met the rest of the party at the Franciscan
Monastery in Washington, D.C.
From there we visited the yet unfinished shrine of the Immaculate
Conception. Here at the altar of St. Joseph he said Mass. We visited the
Hamilton home with only the cook and house keeper, Mrs. Aurora Castalia
at home, the Hamilton family were in Europe. Aurora could only speak
Spanish and she and Mama had a wonderful time and we enjoyed their happy
time together even though we didn't understand the conversation. Later
we enjoyed real Spanish hospitality and refreshment among the dust
protected covered furniture. Mamma got filled in on the happenings of
the family that had brought her to the U.S.
We returned to the Shrine where we met the rest of the
family to continue sightseeing and later parting in a downpour of rain
to continue on the journey home. We agreed to make St. Louis our next
meeting place and left Washington, D.C. at 3 p.m. Stopped for lunch at
8:30 p.m. in Storm, Ohio. We had just gotten seated when in comes Fr.
James and the rest of the family comes in , just 500 miles from where we
parted. The owner looked very bewildered at all the commotion. He soon
found out and provided 5 rooms for the night.
Wednesday, June 16: An early start at 4 a.m. after
breakfast. Our next destination and meeting was in St. Louis for
Thursday morning. Cooked dinner at a wayside park on a gasoline stove,
washed under a hand pump and later off to Cincinnati. I helped with the
driving to give Jim time to sleep. Supper in Flora, Ill. I ordered
watermelon and a quarter of a melon was placed before on the table. We
all shared it and it was a meal in itself.
At 9 a.m. we called Valley Park to tell them we were
still 2 hours away and could not make it in time for the Mass. They had
not yet received the assignment from Maryknoll for the Sisters. They
thought we would bring them with us. Sorry.
Thursday, June 17: Feast of Corpus Christi: We little
David peeked in and awakened and we left at 5 a.m. taking the by pass
around Cincinnati and arrived at Valley Park at 10. Received a hearty
welcome from Sr. Winifred and sisters. Also from Fr. McGurkin who was
giving a retreat. The other car with Fr. Jim had not arrived so Father
McGurkin went on with the scheduled conference. After all had arrived we
gathered in chapel, including the retreatants (novices, postulants) and
all the sisters. Nearly all from the St. Louis houses so there were many
happy reunion for Sr. Rose Mediatrice and me. A wonderful breakfast
followed the Mass and was more enjoyed because of the lateness of the
hour and the long drive. We did justice to the meal as only Nishimutas
can. Fr. McGurkin joined us at breakfast. Lunch was packed for each car
and delivered as we were leaving on the last lap of our trip to
Sr. Joan Marie Ryan, one of the twelve who entered
Maryknoll at the same time as I, met the family for the first time after
20 years. We had a visit too after not seeing each other after her
return from China where she was imprisoned for 2 years and returned in
We were welcomed on the farm by the couple who watched
and cared for things for mom and Dad. Bobby and Johnny had arrived on
Tuesday and welcomed us with great joy.
Fr. Comber, CSSR and Jim took Sr. Rose Mediatrice and I
to the convent which was quite deserted as the Sisters had gone to their
motherhouse in San Antonio, for the summer. We found one bed with two
sheets and collected another sheet from a second bed to give us each two
sheets. We didn't need them as it was 99 deg. We turned in tired but
happy. It was a long trip.
Friday June 18: We went to Mass at 7:30 which Fr. James
said. Mom had her first spell at church but it did not last long. It was
the first time in a long time that I saw Mom like this. Grace was with
me so I let her take care of Mom. She knew what to do.
The day was spent colle'cting and doing laundry. Sister
and I cooked. We didn't have much to do since there was still a goodly
amount of sandwiches left. In the evening we had a fresh fish dinner.
Arrangements had to finalized for the rest of the family. Sister and I
pressed our habits late at night.
Saturday, June 19: Father James said 7:30 mass and
breakfast at 8:30 cooked by Jim Conroy who took orders. After breakfast
some of the women in the family went to church to decorate the altar
with red gladiolas at the request of the ladies of the parish.
During the day the family began to arrive, first
Margaret and family, Frank and Fern and family, Paul and Ora and son,
Mike. We were 21 for dinner of Spanish rice and chicken served in the
back yard as it was stifling hot. Grace and Margaret prepared the dinner
but due to a delay we sat down to eat at 7 p.m.
After confession we were taken to the convent about a mile from
the church. It was far, far into the night and we were so glad we had
our habits pressed and could turn in for the night. Fr. James left us
and went to the rectory for the night.
Sunday, June 20: Finally the day of the First Solemn Mass
for Fr. Jim. We received a dispensation from Fr. Comber to have liquids,
coffee and orange juice at the convent before the Mass. Msgr. Leven
called to let us know that his nephew was calling for us to take us to
the Church, on the way we had a very pleasant visit with him. Joe
arrived and went to confession to Msgr. Leven before the Mass.
Donna Marie and the first communicants of the year
wore their suits and dresses for this occasion. The whole family with
their children, Joe with his seven, the largest of all the family were
quietly in the front pews waiting for the procession to begin. The
Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in full uniform with their feather plumed
hats, acted as honor guards, The Knights led the procession into the
church, followed by the children and the younger members of the family,
the came Donna Marie dressed in a full length gown and shoulder length
veil, looking like a little princess as she carried the paten on a white
satin pillow. (During the Mass and homily, the children behaved so well
to the admiration of the congregation.)
At the foot of the altar Donna presented the paten to Fr. James
and Mass began. The Young Peoples' choir under the direction of Sr.
Corsini accompanied the Mass as they sang it in four parts. Msgr. Leven
preached the homily on the priesthood and the part we, the people have
in sharing the prayers, the sacrifice, the Mass and the fruit of the
ministry. The example Msgr. Leven used Moses beseeching God on behalf of
the people in battle as to how we can support Father by our prayers
- upholding him in supplication and in his need.
At the end of the Mass Fr. J. approached the pulpit and delivered his
message of gratitude. (The evening before we had used the recorder for
him to practice.) lie began by addressing Msgr. Leven, Rev. Fr. Comber,
Fathers, Sisters, parents-- a glance at Mom and Dad--he could not go on
and left the pulpit. The message was conveyed in a more powerful way
than any words spoken could.
We went to the front of the Church for pictures,
greetings, meetings and blessings took place. We went to the church hall
where dinner was prepared and served by the Ladies of the Church in a
In the evening a buffet supper was served for the
Monday, June 21: Grace and Jim with Loretta and David
left for Lincoln, Nebraska at 3:30 p.m. We had some good visits before
they left. Loretta and David were happy to be going home.
Paul, Ora and little Mike moved into the empty room. Fr. Jim
stayed at the rectory. Sr. Rose Mediatrice and I moved to Mrs. Colpitt
so we could be nearer to the church.
Tuesday, June 22: Spent an hour getting tickets to return
to Maryknoll by July 1st.
Thursday June 24: Mass at church at 7 a.m. and the two
brothers, Fr. Jim and Frank left at 5 a.m. for their fishing trip to Ten
Killer Lake about 60 miles away. We talked to Kay who decided to drive
us to McAlester leaving at 10 a.m. We had breakfast and Bobby, Ora,
Mike, Sister Rose, Mom and I left and arrived at noon after a grand
trip. Fern had waiting for us a barbecued steak dinner. We had a happy
visit after a trip around town and a tour of their lovely church, St.
John the Evangelist. In the evening after shopping we had an outdoor
picnic in the back yard, behind their very large house. Frank came in
about 4 p.m. We left for Okmulgee at six and arrived home before the
fishermen. After the fishermen came home, Sister and I went to Mrs.
Friday, June 25: Feast of the Sacred Heart.
Father Jim celebrated a Missa Cantata which Sr. Rose M., the two
Panchot girls, and I sang and ___Carini played the organ. We had fish
for breakfast that had been caught the day before by Paul and Fr. J. At
7 p.m had a special dinner in honor of the Feast Day. Later went
shopping and bought a gift of aluminum glasses for Mon. We just put them
on the table and at first she did not notice them but when she did there
was great excitement and fun.
Before going to our room at Mrs. Colpitt we had the
renewal of Consecration to the Sacred Heart with Fr. Jim giving us a
blessing. The day was a happy quiet one.
Saturday, June 26: Dad, Mom, Fr. Jim, Bobby and the two
of us left Okmulgee for Cushing at 9:30 and arrived at 11 a.m. at Joe's
farm. How good to see the familiar places again. The children knew us
from our time together last Sunday. We had dinner and Paul and Ora were
present. Joe took us to the Deep Rock Refineries where he works. We were
guided through by Mr. Meeker. It was late so Paul and Ora took Joe home
to bring the rest of his family in to the city park where we had a
Teddy and Tommy, Joe's two oldest boys went to a pre-exam
in preparation for possibly receiving their first Holy Communion on
Sunday. The Hienly put us up in three rooms for the night. Paul and Ora
stayed at a motel. We waited in the city park for two hours for all to
get together and finally at 8:30 and all were there but the two boys and
Fr. Jim. Fr. Perras gave them a course of instruction in 2 hours. They
passed and will make their First Holy Communion on Sunday. It was very
late when we finished eating.
A forgotten telephone call on my part created a rush
problem for Maxie. She took it beautifully as she did all the other
Sunday, June 27: Sister, Fr. Jim and I went to church at
8:15 a.m. Mass began at 9. Teddy and Tommy made their First Communion at
the Mass. Fr. James read the Epistle and Gospel and gave a short sermon
on his apostolate to preach to the nations. After Mass he gave
individual blessings and after that baptized Mary Margaret with Paul and
Ora as sponsors, and Bobby Gene with Mrs. Dogherty and Bobby as
sponsors. We had breakfast at Mrs. Hienly. Later we had lunch in the
city park and went to visit Mrs. Annie Ryan. Aferwards came back to the
park for dinner, Fr. Perras joined the family at the park. We went back
to the farm to say good-bye to Joe and family before returning to
Okmulgee arriving at 8:30 p.m, We stayed at home now that all had gone
but Bobby and Fr. Jim and there was an extra room.
Monday, June 28: We went to Mass at 7:30 a.m. When we
returned home after Mass there was a telegram waiting for us from Sr.
Mary Mildred with the message that we were to return to Maryknoll by
June 30th. The only way we could possibly do that was to fly. After
breakfast we called Tulsa for plane reservations. Our first plan was to
leave by train from Tulsa at 11 p.m. tonight now we are to leave Tuesday
morning 9:10 via American Airlines. We had to go to downtown to cancel
the train reservations and get a refund.
Mom had a delicious chop suey dinner for us. After dinner
we went on a tour of the farm and found three puppies. We brought home a
lovely brown one. In the evening had an outdoor barbeque stale supper.
My last night at home and Bobby and I had a long talk.
Tuesday, June 29. Left at 5:45 for Tulsa. Said good-bye
to Dad at home. We went to Mass at 7:10 in Sapulpa. There we met
Boston-born Fr. Neville who knew Bishop Walsh Maryknoll's founder.
Arrived in Tulsa and bought our tickets, checked baggage and had a quick
breakfast before boarding. Mamma was very brave in her good-bye, I felt
the parting with Fr. Jim very deeply for we had been very close in the
four years we were at the Center.
In Chicago at our stopover, we called the two Maryknoll
Sister groups. Arrived in New York, La Guardia airport at 4:55 and we
were met by Sister Mildred and Sr. Assisi. Arrived at Maryknoll
Motherhouse and had a grand welcome by the sisters especially "the
Squad" who had worked hard and done wonders, under the direction of
Sr. Thomas Ann. God bless them.
Wednesday, June 30: Took the day off to write
acknowledgements and square accounts. The last four years was summed up
in the joys of the last 20 days with the culmination of Ordination of
Fr. James, the departure ceremony, his First solemn Mass in Okmulgee,
the time spent with the family and friends to celebrate the years of
training, prayers and his final goal of becoming a priest, a missioner
and being sent to our people, the people of our heritage, the Japanese
to introduce them to the Kingdom of God.