Born in Hawaii of Japanese heritage, Stephanie Takazawa would journey from her Catholic upbringing to a loss of faith and back home again through the grace of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. She has presevered as a bride of Christ through many trials.
Stephanie’s grandfather was one of the first Japanese men in his Hawaiian village to become a Christian. Despite persecution, he sent his daughter to a Catholic school, and this daughter, Stephanie’s mom, decided to become Catholic during high school. Stephanie’s dad also converted to the Catholic faith as a young adult. When Stephanie was 3, the family moved from Hawaii to Chicago, where she attended Catechism classes, and later Catholic schools from the 5th grade through high school.
During her college years, Stephanie questioned her faith and searched for an understanding of God by attending every denomination’s worship service. Soon she decided that God did not exist. After college, she worked successfully as the Vice-President of a marketing research company, with a small independent business of her own. She had her own car and house, yet none of these things seemed to matter. Faced with many trials, she desperately said, ”God, if you exist, do something!”
Stephanie received the grace of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in answer to this prayer. Eager to read God’s word in the Script-ures, her faith seemed so alive to her now. Her journey back to God took six years. ”I realized that faith is a choice. Without God, the choices that I made did not give me the inner peace and joy that I was searching for.” An acquaintance gave her a book of an Episcopalian priest’s testimony, and soon she was returning to the Catholic Church and looking for a Catholic prayer meeting. A friend’s invitation, ”I feel led to invite you to a prayer meeting” was all it took to get her there.
After meeting the Lord personally and feeling His touch, Stephanie wanted to give everything she had to Him. It didn’t dawn on her that the Lord was calling her to religious life. While she was attending prayer meetings, Stephanie made a retreat. At the end of the retreat, she knew that the Lord was asking her to make a total response with her life. The Lord led her to talk to the retreat leaders, who knew about our new, emerging religious community. Soon she met some of the sisters and entered the community in 1981. Receiving the name Sr. Mary Magdalene as a novice, she professed her temporary vows in 1983. Sister has served the Lord faith-fully in many ways, ready to witness to her Catholic faith. 1987 was the year for her final profession of vows to her Lord.