Motherhood

After Satoko Kitahara celebrated her first Christmas in Ants’ Town, she wrote to a close acquaintance, Shizue who was expecting her first child. Satoko knew she would stay single and not experience giving birth, and thus promised Shizue

Satoko in Ants’ Town

to pray for a safe delivery. But, she also wrote of “her own children”, saying, “It has become a real joy spending time with these little disadvantaged ones. My heart swells with special joy for your child because I too have come to know the joys of motherhood — thanks to my children in Ants Town. By devoting her life to the children Satoko became known as Ari no Machi no Maria – Mary of Ants’ Town.

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Elizabeth Maria…

Elizabeth Maria Satoko KitaharaImage

Satoko took the baptismal name of Elizabeth, a heroic and courageous queen of Hungary who burned herself out in 1231 by looking after destitute lepers and establishing a hospital for the poor. When Satoko explained to her bemused parents the Un-Japanese custom of choosing a baptismal name, her father, an economics professor, quipped,: “Were she my pupil I would have to fail her on the way she wasted her family’s money!”