For Kanako Ota, from Osaka, Japan, this year’s Easter Vigil was a uniquely momentous occasion. For that is the date when she received the sacrament of Baptism, reports Ucanews.
“My parents are professed Buddhists, but I had a feeling I would end up being baptised. I even told my husband before we were married,” she says.
Baptism, of course, marks a person’s spiritual birth. For Kanako, it also marked the culmination of a long and often painful journey. As she puts it, her early family life was “complicated.” Just six months after she was born, her mother tried to kill herself.
The attempt failed but she injured herself so badly, she was left with an artificial arm and leg. Following that, she became mentally unstable and and on a number of occasions this drove her even to brandish carving knives.
Kanako went to Catholic schools throughout her childhood. “In the middle of all the troubles with my mother,” she says, “I sometimes went to the chapel at school, as if to seek counsel.
“I turned to the statue of the Blessed Mother and the crucifix and pleaded, ‘help me!’ Sometimes I just let out a scream inside my heart.”
Looking back on it now she sometimes feels that, in a strange way, her move towards Catholicism was influenced by her family’s Buddhist devotions. “Maybe I learned something, seeing my grandmother go before the family altar every day,” she says. “Maybe even with the differences of religion notwithstanding, you sort of pick up the way you are supposed to relate to God.”
When she was 26, her mother died. Some of her last words were, “my life was all for nothing.” Kanako, who had a one-year-old child of her own by then, says she felt “relief” more than sadness after the event.
FULL STORY One woman's inspiring journey to Catholicism (Ucanews)