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Legacy of Viatorians in Japan Continues

August 25, 2016

Its roots date back to the end of World War II, when five Viatorian missionaries from

Fr. White leads a procession at the Viatorian school in Kyoto, Japan, circa 1952

Fr. White leads a procession at the Viatorian school in Kyoto, Japan, circa 1952

Canada and the United States were sent to Japan to open a school.

Now, more than 65 years later, their ministry continues to draw interest.

Danielle Leveille, who graduated in May from Saint Viator High School, spent a month in Japan over the summer and one of the first destinations she sought out was Rakusei-St. Viator High School in Kyoto.

“Going to Rakusei in Kyoto was an amazing experience,” Danielle says. “Compared to Saint Viator High School, Rakusei consists of over three buildings for classes, the Viatorian residence hall, and a variety of club activities.”

Danielle Leveille, left, with English teacher Colette Morin from Rakusei-St. Viator School

Danielle Leveille, left, with English teacher Colette Morin from Rakusei-St. Viator School

Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, former president of Saint Viator High School, connected her with Viatorians still serving in Japan.

A current photo of Rakusei-St. Viator

A current photo of Rakusei-St. Viator

Construction on the school began in 1951 and its first principal was Fr. Francis White, CSV, who was 34 years old at the time. He would go on to spend more than 70 years as a Viatorian religious.

Rakusei opened in 1952 with 110 students and over the years it has been ranked among the 20 best schools in Japan. Its current enrollment is more than 1,100 boys.

The school left an impression on Danielle. After meeting its faculty members and touring some of the famous shrines in Kyoto, she headed home, but with a clearer vision of her future.

Danielle Leveille with student tour guides from Rakusei St. Viator

Danielle Leveille with student tour guides from Rakusei St. Viator

“I wanted a challenge, and I wanted one that would undoubtedly benefit my future career and life prospects,” Danielle says. “I plan on majoring in business analytics with a minor in Japanese and a certificate in international business from the University of Iowa.”

Her interest in the Far East started at Saint Viator High School, where she studied Chinese and traveled last spring to China with the Chinese Club.

Yet, after spending a month in Japan this summer, she now plans to return next year to study abroad at Meiji University in Tokyo.

“She is an excellent student, with a real interest in these cultures,” says Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal of Saint Viator High School who traveled with the Chinese Club to China. “She personifies part of our mission, which is to inspire students to a lifelong journey of learning and discovery.”