Brother Luis Kawabe went to the Salesian garden:
Witness of contagious joy and happiness
Beppu, Japan, 5 August 2017 -- Salesian Brother Aloisio (Luis) Kawabe Kinshiro was called to the house of the Father on 3rd August 2017 in Shin Beppu hospital at the age of 88 after living 65 years as professed Salesian of Don Bosco.
Immediately the next day on August 4th was held the vigil prayer at the parish church of Beppu (rector Fr. Orlando Puppo) and the funeral Mass was celebrated by the provincial of Japan, Fr. Mario Yamanouchi on August 5th in the same church. The photo of Br. Kawabe used during the funeral Mass was taken in front of Don Bosco mosaic in the same parish church (cover).
Following ‘confessions of ‘Teacher Kinshiro’ are taken from the interviews done by the Yokkaichi aspirants during 2004, when Br. Kawabe was an assistant of the Aspirants.
How did you meet Don Bosco and his Salesians?
I was 23 years old, when I was member of the Franciscan parish of Tokuden (Tokyo), however most of my family were fervent Budhist and so I didn’t know much about the Christian faith. One day my parish priest, a Canadian missionary suggested me to see the social work for the abbandoned boys – war orphans - of the Salesians in Kodaira, Tokyo.
First Salesian I met was Fr. Clodoveo Tassinari. In the Franciscan parish i was not able to receive baptism, since my parish priest was not satisfied with my knowledge of the catechism – ‘You are not yet ready!’ But after getting know Fr. Tassinari better I made the same request and to my great surprise Fr. Tassinari replied: ‘You have asked a very good thing, now you can receive baptism!’ And after 3 months of intense preparation I was able to be baptised on Christmas Day 1952.
What was your motivation to become a Salesian Brother?
Young Kinshiro had 3 elder brothers and two younger sisters and he was the Benjamin in his family: ‘When i was looking at the fruitful family life of my siblings and their weddings I start to reflect, if there is no other way of living a happy life. I went to the Budhist temple of Ryozai-ji (Shizuoka city) and I was impressed by a person of a young monk and even thought to follow him. However after the encounter with Fr. Tassinari I discovered a religious life journey in the Catholic church as my future and entered in to the formation of Chofu without knowing what it’s all about. I put myself with a complete trust in the hands of my ‘master’. And during my discernment path about becoming a Salesian priest or brother, I have chosen to be a religious brother and not a priest.
Life and work of Salesian Brother Kinshiro
Straight after the first profession I was sent to the first Salesian work in Japan, to Myiazaki. Fr. Tassinari used to tell me: “If it’s for the good of the souls, do all posible what you can! These words sunk deeply in my heart! As a young practical trainee I have started a club of Dominic Savio and called even the mayor of Miyazaki to take part in the academy of our club!
As Salesian religious Br. Kawabe repeated the key words of Fr. Tassinari: ‘In order to make other joyful, do it with your whole heart!’ and of Don Bosco: ‘Do the things that the priest and candidates to priesthood can’t do!’
During my initial formation I had many excellent living models of Salesian Brothers:
Brs. Lagonia, Romelli, Akabae Antonio, Hibino and many others! I had never doubted about my Salesian Brother vocation, with a great trust that this is the path wanted by God for me! This conviction was strengthen when at three provincials did asked me if I don’t feel the priestly vocation and I have always answered that I don’t feel this. I felt always very happy as Salesian Brother!’
The seed fall in a fertile land and gave hundredfold fruits
‘I was asked many times by the aspirants if they could continue their Salesian vocation journey. And my reply was always the same: A genuin vocation motivation should be not that I like to work in the youth center for the young, this is not the most important! But the deep motivation for religious life is to be ready to give up always his whole life to God! Not to follow own desires, but to be available to give all for God! I was always very clear, that we should not forget that Salesian life does consist in searching for God’s will and be available for any task where the superiors will send me!’
Finally, if we don’t search sincerely in prayer for the will of God and this spirit of availability we would be not able to find our happines inside the Congregation. If one religious wants to be happy and shine the joy of God in his fruitful life, we need to give our all to God through our obedience to the superiors and availability to do His mission.
Life of Salesian Brother Aloisio KAWABE Kinshiro
- 1929: born in Tokyo, family soon transfer to Kanagawa prefecture (Zushi)
- 1952: first profession in Chofu, Tokyo
- 1958: perpetual profession in Chofu, Tokyo
- 1958-1969: teacher in Hyuga Gakuin, Miyazaki (1964 – five months visit in Italy)
- 1969-1975: Teacher in Seiko Gakuin, Osaka; provincial councilor and vocation director and in charge of the aspirants.
- 1975-1976: World Congress of Salesian Brothers delegate, Ongoing formation, Rome
- 1975-1987: Educator - teacher in Kodaira, Tokyo; provincial delegate for Youth Ministry
- 1987-1990: Teacher in Hyuga Gakuin, Miyazaki (secondary school)
- 1990-1995: Director of the orphanage in Nakatsu.
- 1995-2002: Assistant and library in charge in Salesio Gakuin, Yokohama
- 2002-2004: Teacher and social assistant in Oita Study center (danno-haro), teaching Japanese language to the migrants, Italian language to the Japanese students and teachers
- 2004-2006: Assistant in the Aspirantate of Yokkaichi (Mie prefecture)
- 2006-2012: Resident in Salesio House (Beppu, Oita prefecture) until his death
- 2017. 8.3: Passed away in Beppu
Many Salesians remember Br. Kawabe in these terms: “I will never forget his cheerfulness, friendliness, radio-announcer-voice and good English!
Rest in peace, Brother Kawabe! Please greet Don Bosco for us. Always spreading your contagious joy and laughter!”