By Margaret Prang
A really amazing individual, Caroline Macdonald (1874-1931) was once a Canadian lady who spent virtually her whole operating existence in Japan and who performed an important function there in either the institution of the YWCA and in felony reform. a local of Wingham, Ontario, she used to be one of many first girls to wait the collage of Toronto, the place in 1901 she graduated with honours in arithmetic and physics. yet instead of persist with a tutorial occupation, she opted in 1904, via her connections with the Presbyterian Church and the YWCA in Canada and the U.S., to maneuver to Tokyo to paintings as a lay missionary and social employee. throughout the Nineteen Twenties, she was once the best-known international girl in Tokyo. In ’A middle at relaxation from Itself’ Margaret Prang follows Caroline Macdonald’s lifestyles and profession, targeting her paintings in Japan on behalf of incarcerated criminals. operating typically with male prisoners and their households, Macdonald turned a global interpreter of the flow for criminal reform paintings for which she remains to be warmly remembered in Japan. She seemed herself as a missionary yet used to be additionally hugely severe of a lot missionary endeavour, her personal paintings being extra within the functional than non secular realm. Her dying in 1931 elicited tributes from around the globe, fairly from Japan. maybe the main becoming got here from Arima Shirosuke, the criminal governor with whom Macdonald labored so much heavily. Reflecting on her lifestyles, Arima saw that he idea it was once her absolute conviction that each man or woman was once a baby of God and her ’effortless’ perform of that religion that put Macdonald ’beyond each prejudice’ of faith, race, or classification. She was once, he acknowledged, ’a center at relaxation from itself.’ This ebook throws mild on Japanese-Canadian kinfolk within the first few a long time of this century. Macdonald’s profession finds the cross-cultural effect of the YWCA in Japan, the position of the Protestant church buildings there, and the evolution of felony reform in Japan and the folk keen on it.
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Additional info for A heart at leisure from itself: Caroline Macdonald of Japan
If I mention ... that I passed a good medical examination I am reminded that some who have had the best records have been the first to break down. '2 At the beginning of the new year Caroline began to attend a language school conducted by Mr. Matsuda, a teacher at the prestigious Peers' School, and said to be the best teacher of Japanese in the country. ^ Since the YWCA was not yet formally constituted, Caroline had no official position, but she began to work with two groups of girls, one a Bible class for English-speaking Christian students at the Higher Normal School, and the other with girls from the central telephone office with whom discussion was conducted through an interpreter.
Caroline 'could easily imagine the speech to be made at the present time in Tokyo, the great intellectual centre of Japan as Athens was of Greece. '4 As it turned out, she continued to teach this group of young men for the next two years. From the beginning of her association with the Japanese, especially the young people, Caroline was aware of the widespread support for the war against Russia, which had begun ten months before she arrived. One day, as she and Theresa Morrison were chatting at home with a group of girls from a government high school, there was a cry outside in the street: 'Gogai, gogai' ('extra, extra').
Who knows God and His word'; moreover, 'through her father who is a member of parliament she knows ... ^ Indeed, Peter Macdonald was no longer simply a member of Parliament: a few months earlier he had been appointed deputy speaker of the House of Commons. As she contemplated her future, Caroline had reason to feel confident about her academic achievements and her background in the church and the YWCA. Yet there was one area in which she lacked self-confidence: she was not always comfortable with her physical appearance, although this was a relatively minor anxiety that never seriously inhibited her.
A heart at leisure from itself: Caroline Macdonald of Japan by Margaret Prang