By Margaret Prang
A very striking individual, Caroline Macdonald (1874-1931) used to be a Canadian girl who spent nearly her complete 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 was once 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 an instructional 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. through the Twenties, she used to be the best-known overseas girl in Tokyo. In ’A center at relaxation from Itself’ Margaret Prang follows Caroline Macdonald’s existence and profession, targeting her paintings in Japan on behalf of incarcerated criminals. operating as a rule with male prisoners and their households, Macdonald turned a global interpreter of the circulate for legal reform paintings for which she continues to be warmly remembered in Japan. She appeared herself as a missionary yet used to be additionally hugely serious of a lot missionary endeavour, her personal paintings being extra within the sensible than non secular realm. Her loss of life in 1931 elicited tributes from world wide, fairly from Japan. might be the main becoming got here from Arima Shirosuke, the criminal governor with whom Macdonald labored so much heavily. Reflecting on her existence, Arima saw that he idea it used to be her absolute conviction that each man or woman was once a baby of God and her ’effortless’ perform of that religion that positioned Macdonald ’beyond each prejudice’ of faith, race, or classification. She used to be, he acknowledged, ’a center at rest from itself.’ This booklet throws mild on Japanese-Canadian kin within the first few many years of this century. Macdonald’s occupation finds the cross-cultural impression of the YWCA in Japan, the function of the Protestant church buildings there, and the evolution of criminal reform in Japan and the folks fascinated about it.
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Additional info for A heart at leisure from itself: Caroline Macdonald of Japan
Much in evidence as well was John R. Mott, popularizer of the missionary movement's provocative and controversial slogan: 'The evangelization of the world in this generation/ The slogan was proclaimed during the quadrennial on a large banner that hung above the platform in Convocation Hall. 27 In the days following the quadrennial, 'the grandeur and the glory of that convention' grew upon Caroline. '29 Now, a year after the Toronto quadrennial, it was Caroline's task to follow up the impact of that gathering in visits to universities and normal schools in central Canada and the Maritimes, and then in Manitoba, where like every other visitor she became enthusiastic about the future of the booming city of Winnipeg and its hinterland, the vast Northwest Territories, where the process of creating the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan was beginning.
Although reluctant to see her off to a distant land, her parents and Peg, the sister to whom she was closest, understood the strength of the call to evangelize the world and were proud of Caroline's willingness to answer it. Since she had grown up in a family, a church, and a student milieu where interest in foreign missions was strong, and had herself been presenting the claims of the mission field to Canadian students, Caroline appears to have accepted the invitation to go to Japan with some ease; at least there is no record of conflict or hesitation surrounding her decision.
They were far more aware of the lively, intense blue eyes, fixed on each individual Caroline encountered as if that person were the only one in the world for the time being. 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.
A heart at leisure from itself: Caroline Macdonald of Japan by Margaret Prang