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!”
Satoko Kitahara had the world at her feet when she was only twenty one years old. She had a privileged upbringing in a wealthy society, loved her rich traditional life and was pursued by suitors. She had just graduated as a Pharmacist when suddenly she encountered people living in the opposite world, a world of destitution. Courageously she moved to help them and then chose to become one of them, living as they did in order to lift them out of their misery. Her aristocratic parents were totally opposed to this. But her father had promised his children he would respect their freedom to do whatever they wanted to in life, “as long as they did it well”.