July 7th 1990 - Hugo M. Enomiya Lassalle
Father Lasalle was born as son of a Huguenot family on November 11th 1898 in Externbrock, district Hoexter at the Weser. After World War I he entered 1919 the Society of Jesus. In 1929 he went to Japan to take over at the Sophia University in Tokyo a professorship for German language. His Japanese name is Makibi Enomiya.
Together with students he created in 1931 the 'Jochi Settlement', a social work in the slums of Tokyo. From 1935 to 1949 he was Mission Superior of the Jesuit Mission in Japan. In a difficult time he had the responsibility for the Sophia University in Tokyo and for the Apostolic Vicariate Hiroshima. On August 6th 1945 he experienced and survived there the atom bomb release at close range.
After World War II it is owed to his initiative that Jesuits from many countries came to Japan to help the work of the German Jesuits. Expression of this courage and commitment was the building of the World Peace Church in Hiroshima. It was Father Lassalle's idea and work.
Beside those activities he engaged more and more in another: He became engrossed in the spirituality of Zen Buddhism and became even a qualified Zen Master. It is his merit that the Zen meditation was introduced into the Christian spirituality. After the Second Vatican Council he became by uncounted meditation courses in the German speaking countries for many people an instructor of the inner life. His experiences found expression in many books and publications.
For his role as mediator between eastern and western thinking Father Lassalle got much acknowledgment. The city Hiroshima, where he had lived and worked for so many years, conferred on him the freedom of the town. The theological faculty of the University Mainz granted him the honorary doctor on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday.
During a meditation journey through Germany he fell and broke the neck of his thighbone. He needed care and therefore he came for the last months of his life into the order-own home for the elderly in Münster.
When pneumonia supervened he died in the St Francis Hospital Münster on July 7th 1990. There were also several Japanese present when he died. Those present sang in a low voice the song with which he closed all his Zen courses, namely 'Great God we praise you'. During the second strophe he imperceptibly passed away into God's eternity.
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