Sr. Sasagawa’s Akita Message “Not Known” to Her Superior?
Get ready for a twist and turn in the Akita story. It’s going to look strange at first, but I think there is more to this than first blush.
Last year, in October, word came that Sr. Sasagawa, the seer at Akita, Japan in the Handmaids of the Holy Eucharist, received a new vision. The new vision included a message to put on ashes and say your rosary. I covered the news on this post (Akita Reignites with New Message: Ashes and Rosary, Nov 3, 2019)
I asked friends try to validate the story. One friend of a friend came through with a direct inquiry. They contacted the Mother Superior to ask if there was any statement about the reports of a new vision from Sr. Sasagawa. In reply, they received this message:
We duly read your fax. I have not heard of any of such story from Sr. Sasagawa herself. We are sorry for not being of your help. Best Regards. Sr. Keiko Ogawa, Superior, the Handmaids of the Holy Eucharist.Message to friend circa mid-November, 2019
You might think this is bad news for the reports at first, right? I mean, it’s pretty clear and apologizes, even. It’s a done deal, nothing to see here! move along…
Wait! There is a Japanese culture context. Parsing the message directly you can see more clearly what is said: Sr. Sasagawa had not told this story to Mother Keiko Ogawa. Moreover, it appears that Mother Keiko Ogawa was not going to ask Sr. Sasagawa about it, either. Re-read the message: …have not heard of any such story from Sr. Sasagawa herself.
Alternatives could be, “I have heard this from other people.” or “I heard this and asked Sr. and she said is was not true.” or “I asked Sr. Sasagawa and she confirmed this message is true.” The disconnect here is important…
I’m my opinion, a Japanese denial would have been more like “We regretted reading this report as we were unaware of this event.” That’s close to what she said, but she placed Sr. Sasagawa outside of her response. Why would the superior wish to be “outside” of it? Perhaps the pressure not to make waves and some interest in the Japanese bishops to prepare for an upcoming event might help understand why a motive to be “unaware” would be important.
Sr. Sasagawa’s alleged new message happened around the time of the Amazon Synod, but also shortly before Pope Francis was going to visit Japan. As the Japanese bishops put it, “The Pope’s first visit in 38 years.” It was a big deal.
It’s subtle, but there was pressure to be unified and to be cheerful for the Pope’s visit. Take, for instance, the message of the President of the Japanese Bishops’ Conference: Note how it ends.
the visit, “must be a remarkable event… cannot be fulfilled without the understanding and cooperation of many people.”
What happens to upsetting news when there is a push to put on airs?
You get the idea… If she, the Superior of the order, knew anything about the direct report of a new vision, then there’d be a reason, even a duty, to do something about it, and it’d be upsetting. If she doesn’t know about it, then nothing would need to be done.
I’m glad that the Eucharistic prayer from the Angel’s visit in 1973 is still on the website for the convent. See it here.
I say that because Michael Matt made a trip to Akita last year (coincidentally, this would be close to the time when Sr. Sasagawa received the 2019 message). If you had not seen Michael Matt’s video about his trip to Akita, check it out here:
See, for instance, at timecode 11:17, the report of the Bishop:
Maybe you can see the dilemma here that would happen to a religious superior faced with information that one of her community was asserting that it IS TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. This would be a difficult place to be in Japanese culture. If, however, the Superior did not ask, then there is nothing to be done, right?
I like the sign that says “no pictures”. Watching the video makes it clear that there is a disconnect between the website above, and everything else. It also makes it painfully clear to me that any new message from Akita that might remind people that Our Lady warned of the devil entering the church in such a way that we will see “bishop against bishop, cardinal against cardinal” would be very upsetting, and it might have created confusion leading into the Pope’s visit.
In other words, if you know the Bishop doesn’t want to hear it because it could be offensive to the Pope, who will be visiting as a guest, then you might not want to make an investigation at such time.
I haven’t seen any other updates about the message to Sr. Sasagawa lately. Like everything else in the Church these days, it must be true because it is ignored.
On the other hand, you can read that message from the Superior really was denying it… that literally Sr. Sasagawa does not say this. If that’s the case, then it would mean that those reports last year were not from Sr. Sasagawa. That would be a legitimate read of that note. But it just didn’t ring true reading it that way because it seems to be a strange way to deny it, doesn’t it?
For me, until I see something more, I believe the 2019 message was real. Change my mind.
This article, Sr. Sasagawa’s Akita Message “Not Known” to Her Superior? is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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