By Margaret Prang

A very awesome individual, Caroline Macdonald (1874-1931) used to be a Canadian girl who spent virtually her complete operating existence in Japan and who performed an important position 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 college of Toronto, the place in 1901 she graduated with honours in arithmetic and physics. yet instead of stick to an educational profession, she opted in 1904, via her connections with the Presbyterian Church and the YWCA in Canada and the us, to maneuver to Tokyo to paintings as a lay missionary and social employee. through the Nineteen Twenties, she used to be the best-known overseas lady in Tokyo. In ’A middle at rest from Itself’ Margaret Prang follows Caroline Macdonald’s existence and occupation, concentrating on her paintings in Japan on behalf of incarcerated criminals. operating quite often with male prisoners and their households, Macdonald grew to become a global interpreter of the circulation for legal reform paintings for which she remains to be warmly remembered in Japan. She seemed herself as a missionary yet was once additionally hugely serious of a lot missionary endeavour, her personal paintings being extra within the functional than non secular realm. Her demise in 1931 elicited tributes from worldwide, quite from Japan. probably 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 inspiration it used to be her absolute conviction that each person was once a toddler of God and her ’effortless’ perform of that religion that positioned Macdonald ’beyond each prejudice’ of faith, race, or classification. She was once, he stated, ’a middle at relaxation from itself.’ This booklet throws mild on Japanese-Canadian kin within the first few a long time of this century. Macdonald’s occupation unearths the cross-cultural effect of the YWCA in Japan, the function of the Protestant church buildings there, and the evolution of felony reform in Japan and the folks all in favour of it.

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34 Overseas work was not entirely new in the Canadian YWCA. As early as 1899, the association had sent Englishwoman Ruth Rouse, a lively and effective Oxford graduate with extensive experience in both the British and American YWCAs, to India for a year. Later, it had helped the American YWCA support a doctor in Korea and the British association to pay a student worker in India. The Canadian association was thus open to an appeal from Annie Reynolds and the World's Committee to send a secretary who would help an interdenominational group of women missionaries establish a YWCA in Japan.

After four years (1870-4) spent in preparing a curriculum in the natural sciences for the Japanese Ministry of Education, Griffis returned to the United States and published The Mikado's Empire (1876). By 1903, when this work was in its tenth edition,?? Griffis had published numerous articles and books on Japan. He did not return until the 19208, but his work remained an excellent guide to nineteenth-century Japan. Although not officially a missionary, Griffis was a vigorous Christian, as were others among the foreign experts - men such as his mentor, the educator Guido Verbeck; the agriculturalist William S.

Her capacity for attention to others gave Caroline a presence that outshone everything else about her. At the beginning of September 1901, Caroline Macdonald took up her duties as the first university-educated general secretary of the Ottawa YWCA at a salary of $25 a month, plus room and board and laundry at the YWCA. 16 The 'Y's work in Ottawa was typical of its program in other Canadian cities. 17 Caroline's employer and the ultimate authority in planning the association's work was a volunteer board of directors composed of women affiliated with the Protestant churches, especially Presbyterian and Methodist.

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A heart at leisure from itself: Caroline Macdonald of Japan by Margaret Prang
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