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Angela, "Fisherwoman of men"

She was born in Rome, lived in Milan where she married a Japanese man. And in 1980 she had moved with her family to Hiroshima. She was at the origin of the CL community in Japan. The normal story of a special woman.

Angela Uchida was born in Rome on January 29, 1943. She was a doctor and had met and married a Japanese man, Yoichiro, in Milan. In 1980 they had gone to Japan with their two children, Makoto and Yoko. Their third child was born there. While he was growing up, she had slowly learned Japanese. Until she started teaching Italian at the music university where I graduated.

Many of us had not yet found our vocation, so she started meeting us on Sundays at church to say Vespers. The meetings turned into sharing articles from Litterae Comunionis, 30giorni, Il Sabato, which Angela translated into English with a friend. So we spent a lot of time together. At that time, she would say, "We did not come together to help each other, it was God who brought us together." She repeated the words of St. John Paul II: "Christ center of the cosmos and history." She sought to live and lived with Christ as the center of her life. She did not only have attention and concern for her friends, but also for the people she met on the street. I had never met anyone with her humanity.

In this regard, there is an episode I wish to recount. In a supermarket, Angela had met a woman named Lutsuko, who had found out that she was pregnant with her first child at age 40, but she was tired of living and was having doubts about whether to have an abortion. Angela had a gift in dealing with people in need, a "fisherwoman of men." She was also pregnant, so she felt even closer to that woman. Their friendship gradually grew stronger and Lutsuko gave birth to a baby girl, Masako. Angela said, "You cannot carry a child without love, that is, without God." Lutsuko and Masako were baptized on Easter 1984, when the girl was three years old.

Angela also “caught” me. I went to a Catholic university, so I was interested in Christianity, but I was fearful of Baptism. One day she said to me, "Let us go to Father's house to rest!" She meant going to church. Thus began my journey toward Baptism. I took the name Irene, suggested by Angela herself, who had told me that it means "peace."

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Angela died on Sunday, June 18. At the funeral there was a friend and former colleague of mine who happened to be there praying. Afterwards she sent me this message, "There is a phrase Angela said to me many years ago. And I have repeated it to myself over and over again." This woman was suffering from a mental illness. The phrase was, "I offer you my suffering." I think those were the words Angela used to say to herself when she was sick. Angela, like everyone, was a weak human being with many limitations, but without her CL would not have reached Japan and I would not have found my vocation. Thank God for her presence! Thank God for making her come to Japan!

Sako, Hiroshima, Japan