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.
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”.