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5th International Day of Prayer, Amsterdam 2003

Testimony of
Wakako, Japan / Germany

There is no more senselessness in my life

Carved statue of the Lady of All Nations
from Akita, Japan.

Wakako comes from the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido. She has worked as a stewardess and she lives in Germany with her German husband. They have two children. Versatile and always with new ideas, she works zealously for the veneration of the Mother of All Nations in her Japanese homeland. She recounted at the Day of Prayer how this came about.

Already in my childhood I was plagued by the question, “Is there any sense to this life?” I thought again and again, “Why was I even born?” “What is there for me to live for?”
When I reached high school, I occupied myself a little bit with Buddhism, but I could not find the answer there to my question about the meaning of life, and finally I thought, “The truth does not exist in this world!”
I met my husband in Tokyo when I was 21 years old. I was overjoyed and in love. We married and settled down in pagan Japan. I gave birth to our first child, a girl. Through the daily married life, the old, painful question again became a big deal to me, “What is really the sense of my life?”

My Conversion to the Catholic Faith

One day, my neighbor recommended a book to me written by a Catholic priest. Since I had no relationship to the Catholic Faith, I rejected it; but, out of curiosity, I took the book anyway and began reading it.
The book was called Our Lady in Akita. In it was written about a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary which shed tears 101 times.
The more I read, the more interested I became, and in the end I thought, “When everything that is written in this book is true, then the truth must be found in the Catholic Faith. Is it possible that the true God does, in fact, exist?”

Naturally, I wanted to know more about the Catholic Faith. I read many books, and visited the Japanese pilgrimage site Akita several times with my little daughter. And I have to say, Our Lady in Akita led me to Jesus. After two years of preparation for baptism, I became a Catholic. That was 17 years ago.

In 1990, 13 years ago, we moved from Japan to Germany for our children’s education. What a strange language, strange culture, strange environment! It was too difficult for me. I did not want to live anymore.
My faith became always weaker. I still went to Church on Sunday, but I received Holy Communion always more infrequently. I did not want to repent my mistakes and so I did not go to Confession any more either. The Bible passage, “So, because you are lukewarm… I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:16) was always in my head. Only one thing saved me during these years—the Rosary! I prayed the Rosary every day. Because I could not pray it deeply, I asked, “Our Lady, since I cannot pray from my heart, I give you at least my time of prayer.”

Mary heard this weak prayer. It was on Ash Wednesday, 6 years ago. That day I was praying before a statue of Mary, “I can not do it anymore! Help me!” Like an answer, Our Lady pressed me to search for The Golden Book by St. Louis Grignon of Montfort which I had already flipped through once. Now I read it one more time from cover to cover.
Each word spoke to me and it was as if my frozen heart thawed after a long time. For the first time, I could repent again with all my heart. In his book, Grignon encourages consecration to the Blessed Mother, which one could prepare through 33 days of spiritual exercises. I decided to pray this consecration to Our Lady on Pentecost Sunday. Therefore, I wanted to confess all my sins, even the ones I had committed before I was baptized.
I soon had that opportunity in Japan with a wonderful missionary priest from the “Foyer de la Charité”. In this confession, I experienced, amazingly, God’s unfathomable mercy with me although I was so unthankful, sinful, and unfaithful. Completely filled with this grace, I made my way to Our Lady in Akita, where I solemnly consecrated myself to her.

The Encounter with the Lady of All Nations from Amsterdam

In the fall of the same year, 1997, I found a color picture of Our Lady from Akita in a Catholic newspaper; she stood on the globe with her hands outspread. I wondered if “my” Mary from Akita also exists as a color painting and not only as a statue. Since I still could not speak any German, I began to slowly translate the text word for word with the dictionary. Yes, this was my first encounter with the “Lady of All Nations from Amsterdam”.
Amazing! I learned that the statue of the crying Mother from Akita was faithfully carved using a picture of the Lady of All Nations from Amsterdam. Thus Akita and Amsterdam belong together!

My Path to the World Action

Back in Germany, an acquaintance from the parish invited me on a pilgrimage with her to Amsterdam. That is how I was able to participate in 1998 at the Second International Day of Prayer. I wanted to do something to express my thankfulness to her and so I decided to help out with the World Action by spreading out the picture and the prayer of the Lady of All Nations in my homeland. Out of love for me, my husband brought a poster of the Lady of All Nations back with him to Japan on a business trip and thus this graceful image began to make a pilgrimage among the Japanese Catholics.
Often and unexpectedly, however, I felt the help of the Lady of All Nations. She prepares everything and cares for anything I need, even for encounters with the most crucial people.

My Thanksgiving to the Lady of All Nations

Since I started working with the World Action, I have also received many gifts in my personal life. I have met wonderful people in Japan, Germany, and also here in Amsterdam through my efforts for the Lady of All Nations. In addition, my health is doing much better now than it was before. I may go to Holy Mass every day. Earlier, I was always sick.
The best thing is now there is no more senselessness in my life. I know for sure that I received my life as a gift to live for God. I thank you, Mother and Lady of All Nations—you have become my true mother! You are the mother of us all!