|Narito Airport, Tokyo|
Mr. Tom Haeg decided to gift Sister Olivia with this trip because her experience there and the love he also has for Japan. When Tom graduated from Saint John’s University, he decided he wanted to go to Japan. He came to the high school, where S. Olivia was principal at the time, looking for a job. Sadly, she had to tell him there were no openings in their school. So off he went to law school and practiced law; he also became a judge in Hennepin County, Minn. Years passed. One of Tom’s daughters graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in 2009. At the ceremony he inquired whether S. Olivia was around. She was. Thus-- friends once again!
Tom had continued to have a special interest in Japan; when he retired, he “took up” that interest in earnest. S. Olivia put him in touch with Mr. Mitsuo Takada (an acquaintance of hers for many years, and the principal of the school in Japan at the time) and the rest is history. Tom has been invaluable in helping with host families, outings, etc., when Japanese students come to America.
Both S. Olivia and Tom have kept in touch with Mr. Takada, who has visited in America a number of times. In October 2012, when the Sisters were the visitors to his country, he was there to greet them at Tokyo airport and kindly saw to it that they got through immigration and on the right bus to the hotel. The next morning he also made sure they were at the right terminal for the connecting flight to Muroran, Hokkaido. On their day of departure, two weeks later, he was once again at Narita airport in Tokyo to bid them farewell. He had travelled from Kyoto-- some distance from Tokyo-- for each of these meetings!
From Observations and Notes, collected by Colleen Haggerty, OSB
Japan, October 2-17, 2012