Fr. Toshio Sato, C.M., Becomes U.S. Citizen
He grew up a farm boy in a rural area of Japan, 150 miles north of Tokyo. The nearest city is Fukushima the site of the nuclear reactor disaster caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 20,000 people.
His father was a leader at the local Buddhist temple. Every morning his grandmother faithfully said her prayers and invited the boy to sit next to her as she chanted before the Buddhist shrine in her home. This family was a traditional rural farming family growing rice.
The boy’s name is Toshio Sato. He was an excellent student who finished 5th in the local English speech competition narrowly missing qualifying for the Japanese national competition. As a seventh grade boy he was fascinated by the American DJ and radio personality Casey Kasem making weekly charts of the Top 40 rock and roll songs.
Toshio had a goal of studying international economics and enjoying the riches that come with a successful career. He came to Chicago in 1996 to work at the Japanese consulate, and found his way to DePaul University. As a student he had no idea who the Vincentians were but the influence of one priest changed his life. He attributes his conversion to the influence of his devout Buddhist family who instilled a distinctive spirituality in him and the powerful witness of the Vincentians. He converted to Catholicism in 2004 and was ordained in 2013.
“Freedom,” he says, “comes at a price and I feel a responsibility to be a good citizen and recognize the value of liberty for all.”
Most recently Toshio has completed the requirements for citizenship in the United States. “Freedom,” he says, “comes at a price and I feel a responsibility to be a good citizen and recognize the value of liberty for all.” Fr. Toshio has responded to the worldwide Vincentian call for international missionaries and will be serving the poor in Bolivia. Toshio encourages other young men around the world to listen to the call to serve.
Toshio Sato, CM. A Japanese boy. A servant of the poor in South America. An American citizen. A Vincentian priest of Jesus Christ.