TOBETSU TRAPPIST MONASTERY

Centenarian History (1896 ~1996)

The foundation of the Trappists
April 17, 1891, marks the founding of the diocese of Hakodate (now known as the diocese of Sapporo) in which the Tobetsu monastery is located. Mgr. Alexander Berlioze became the first Bishop of this diocese.

1894
In the summer of this year Bishop Berlioze requests the abbot General of the Trappistr to found a monastery in Japan. The Abbot General, Dom Sebastian, replied that there might be a possibility of a Japanese foundation if land and buildings could be provided. At first it was thought that this condition could not be met, and the offer of the Trappists to come might have to be put off. However, within a few months two Catholics of the area offered a generous amount of land on which the monastery was to be built.

1895
In the autumn of this year two priests of the Paris Foreign Mission Society offered 1,000 francs for the building of the monastery.

1896
On New Year's Day of 1896 Dom Bernard Favre, the abbot of Our Lady of Consolation monastery in China, arrives in Hakodate after having accepted the request of Bishop Berlioze to help in the founding of the Japanese monastery.

On the following day Dom Bernard visits the site at Tobetsu to ensure its suitability for a foundation. Having found everything satisfactory, on January 6th a contract was drawn up and signed, and construction begun. By the fall of 1896 the first buildings were completed.

It was perhaps in late January or early February that Dom Bernard Favre left for Europe to collect funds for the new foundation. He made the rounds of several monasteries seeking recruits for the foundation, and, on October 28, 1896, he returned to Japan with 9 monks --- five monks from France, two from Holland, one from Italy and one from Canada; two were priests, one a deacon, and one choir monk still in simple vows.

1896 ~ 1905

1896-1897
On November 21,1896, the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, in the presence of the priests residing in Hakodate, Bishop Berlioze presides at the ceremonial opening of the monastery according to the canon low. The new monastery would be called "Our Lady of the Lighthouse", as had been previously agreed upon by Bishop Berlioze and Dom Bernard Favre, because of a lighthouse located nearby.

1897
On January 27, Dom Gerard Peuiller arrives from the abbey of Bricquebec as the first superior of the Tobetsu monastery,

On April 12th of the same year Dom Bernard Favre sends a French Brother from the monastery in China to join the new Japanese monastery.

In September of that year an orphanage was moved from Yunokawa to the Tobetsu monastery nearby. This later became known as the "Trappist School", and it continued until 1933. Nearly 3,000 children had been cared for there.
1897-1900

In November of 1897 Dom Gerard sails for Europe to explain the situation at Tobetsu.

In December of this year the first pamphlet on the Trappist life in Japan, written by Fr. Francois Ligneul M.E.P, was published.

Also in this year a provisional dairy was built.

In 1897 or 1898 the monastery began to make butter in a wooden churner.

BRICQUEBEC BECOMES THE MOTHERHOUSE OF THE TOBETSU MONASTERY.

On January 29,1898, agreeing to the request of the abbot general, the abbot of Bricquebec monastery, Dom Vital Lehodey, accepts responsibility for the Tobetsu monastery as a daughterhouse of Bricquebec.

On March 1st Tobetsu monastery becomes a priory, and Dom Gerard Peuiller is named as its first prior.
On April 28th of the same year Dom Gerard returns to the monastery with five new monks whom he had recruited for Tobetsu. This second group of monks are French and Dutch, coming from various European monasteries. On December 4, 1898, all the monks who came to Japan from other monasteries made their vow of stability to the new Tobetsu monastery.

In 1898 or 1899 a barn for storing the crops was built. This now remains as the oldest wooden building on the property.

In the spring of the year 1900 Dom Vital Lehodey arrives in Japan for his first canonical visit as the Father Immediate of Tobetsu monastery,

On April 10th and 12th of the same year articles appeared in the local newspaper which were very critical of the monastery in their locality.

In June Nogami Jinjo Elementary School opens (it closes to provide sleeping space for the monks after the fire in their monastery.)

July 5,1900, marks the death of Dom Bernard Favre, the abbot of Our Lady of Consolation abbey in China.
1900-1905

On July 13,1900, a government representative from the House of Peers was sent by Emperor Meiji to verify reports about the Tobetsu Trappist
monastery. After returning to Tokyo he wrote several articles in a magazine called "Taiyo" which dispelled all false rumors about the Trappist monastery. He entitled the articles "The silent monks of Hokkaido."

Dom Gerard Peuiller becomes a Japanese citizen.

After submitting many requests Dom Gerard was granted Japanese citizenship on August 7, 1900. His Japanese name became Okada Furie.

The year 1900 to 1901 marked construction of the cow barn.

On February 28, 1902, the third group of monks arrived from Europe. Two were from France and one was from Holland -- one was a priest and two were Brothers.

On March 29, 1903, after the noon meal, a fire broke out from the kitchen chimney, spreading to the ceiling and roof, and then destroying the whole monastery. At that time there were 25 members of the monastery, 12 of whom were from Europe. This event was reported in the April 25th issue of "Koe", the Catholic magazine.

During that same year the Dutch Brother Tarcis arrived in Japan, accompanied by a Holstein bull and four cows--this marks the beginning of the dairy industry in southern Hokkaido. A small amount of butter was produced for sale in Hokkaido and Tokyo.

On January 1,1905, the spiritual and temporal affairs of the monastery were entrusted to the patronage of St. Joseph. When the abbey church was completed a small altar was dedicated to St. Joseph.
In June of 1906 D. Jean Baptiste Chautard, abbot of Sept Fons monastery,
made the canonical visitation of Tobetsu monastery.


1907 ~1916

May 15, 1907, marks the laying of the cornerstone of the main monastic building, with Fr. Jacquet M.E.P. presiding as a representative of the bishop. An article appeared in "Koe" magazine noting this event. Plans for the construction of the main building were drawn up by a Yokohama firm.

In December permission was received for a cemetery for the monastery. This cemetery is now used as the burial place for the local Catholic community
1908
October 8, The inauguration of the Parish of Tobetsu. The monastery school is used for church services.

October 28 Completion and blessing of the main building of the monastery. Bishop Berlioze presides. Many Catholics and benefactors were in attendance.

November 2 The erection of the Stations of the Cross in the monastery Church.

November 6 The erection of the Stations of the Cross in the cloister.

The school building of the Nogami School is transferred to the East wing of the monastery to be used as the guest house.

1909
Dom Vital Lehodey, abbot of Bricquebec, makes his second visitation of Tobetsu.

December 25 Fr. Ligneul M.E.P. publishes a pamphlet on Trappist life, including pictures.

1910
In early spring Dom Gerard has an unfortunate accident in the snow-covered back mountains. Providentially his life was spared, and he was taken to a hospital in Hakodate. While he was in the hospital plans were made for a cave as the setting for a Lourdes shrine. After his release from the hospital construction was begun in the summer.

Lay Brother John Baptiste returns from Holland with 1 Holstein bull and 4 cows.

1911
On May 11 the Lourdes shrine is completed, and blessed by Bishop Berlioze. The sermon is given by Fr. Hayasaka, later to become bishop of Nagasaki. The statue of Our Lady was given by Fr. Phelan M.E.P.

1911
The butter operation which was begun last year is completed.The churn which had to be turned by hand is now operated by steam, which also provides sterilization.

1912
January 10th the monastery receives approval as a foundational juridical person.

An altar dedicated to the Sacred Heart is set in the back of the monastery church.

In January of 1913 Dom Edward Obrecht of Gethsemani abbey in the USA comes for the canonical visitation.

May,15. Stained glass windows of St. Gertrude and St. Lutgarde are donated by Fr. M.E.P.
The statues graced both sides of the Sacred Heart statue. They were destroyed in a typhoon in September of 1954.

On the same day Bishop Berlioze lays the corner stone for the Tobetsu Parish Church.

The Japanese National Railroad opens a rail line between Hakodate and Kamiiso.

1915
In July the process is begun for producing condensed milk.

The Tobetsu Parish Church is completed.

1916
July--Dom Maur Veychard, abbot of Consolation monastery in China, comes to Tobetsu for the canonical visitation.

1917 ~ 1928

1917
June 1st. The monastery is formally consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

On June 6th the Parish Church located near the monastery is blessed by Bishop Berlioze
1918
May 15. Economic difficulties are experienced. The butter operation is turned over to the management of a local company for a period of 20 years.

On August 15, as Japan was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Hokkaido frontier, Dom Gerard receives official government commendation for the monastery's work on the land, agriculture, and dairy production.

From the end of 1918 until the beginning of 1919 Mr. Akashi, founder of
the Mariana College, comes to Tobetsu to teach math and science to the candidates.

1919
September 21 Dom Gerard receives an award for distinguished service from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

1920
Dom Gerard turns over to the Hakodate Museum his collection of mineral stones and primitive stone tools.

February 2nd. 3 French priests from Bricquebec and Scourmount arrive to help out at the monastery.

1920
August 16 - September 1
Archbishop Pietro Fumasoni Biondi, the Apostolic Delegate to Japan, visits the monastery.

1921
In January the Visitation was made by Dom Bernard Delauze, abbot of Dombes, who later became the abbot of Aiguebelle.

CELEBRATION OF OUR 25TH ANNIVERSARY

In order to commemorate the event Bishop Berlioze presides at the unveiling of a monument in the Parish Church.

At this time there are 11 monks from foreign countries, and 44 Japanese monks.

On Easter Sunday, April16, 1922, Mr. Miki Rofu and his wife are baptized by Dom Gerard. This event was written up in the May issue of Koe Catholic magazine.

From August 7th until September 1st Archbishop Mario Giardini, the second Apostolic Delegate to Japan, visits the monastery. Archbishop Giardini often came to spend time at the monastery during his summers here in Japan.

On October 10th Dom Gerard receives a Distinguished Service Award from the Livestock Association.

On March 15, 1924, Fr. Bernard Tanikami, the Japanese monk becomes to be ordained to the first priesthood.

On April 6th D. Louis Brun, the abbot of Consolation, makes the Visitation. At the same time there arrived with him two monks from Timadeuc.

"The Apostolate to the Far East"
An Association for Masses and prayers to be offered for the Far East was begun at Consolation monastery in China. This Association spread from China to Europe. With the encouragement of Pope Pius XI and the Father Immediate, Tobetsu monastery became a branch member of this group.The magazines "Koe" and "Komyo" recruited members for this Association.

In June of this year Mr. Miki Rofu returned to Tokyo with his wife after four years of service at the monastery.
October 10 - 11, 1925, Bishop Berlioze celebrates the 50th Anniversary of his priestly ordination, with many dignitaries in attendance.
On October 28th a special celebration was held for him at the monastery.

In February of 1926, Fr. Bernard Delauze, abbot of Aiguebelle, comes for the Visitation of Tobetsu.

In March Dom Gerard retires after 30 years of service in Tobetsu. He brings with him one priest and 3 lay Brothers, and goes to Shindenbaru in Fukuoka, Kyushu. Property had been given for this project in Shindenbaru by Fr. Edward Durand, M.E.P. of the Nagasaki diocese, to provide ANNEXE for young candidates.

Having served as second superior for many years, Dom Augustine is now appointed superior ad nutum of Tobetsu.

1929 ~ 1935

1929
In April and May of this year Dom Bernard, abbot of Aiguebelle, comes to Japan for the Visitation of Tobetsu, Tenshien and Shindenbaru.

July 16th Dom Vital retires as abbot of Bricquebec and is succeeded by Dom Louis Kervingant.

On December 28 Bishop Berlioze dies in France at the age of 77.

In April of 1930 Dom Louis Kervingant comes as Father Immediate to visit Tobetsu.

In May of 1931 Dom Augustine retires as the appointed superior of Tobetsu. He is succeeded by Dom Benedict Morvan. On February 8th Dom Benedict Morvan is elected prior titular of Tobetsu.
1932-1935

In June of 1932 the trading company, later to become known as Yukijirushi Dairy, which had taken over the monastery dairy industry, now returns the management back to the monastery.

1933
On March 18 Dom Augustine Brehier, former prior of Tobetsu, dies at the age of 64. He spent 31 years of his life in Japan.

On June 3 the abbot of Bricquebec, Dom Louis Kervingant, dies in an automobile accident. Dom Maur Daniel was then elected abbot.

At the General Chapter of 1933 Dom Gerard Haverbeque, the prior of Mont-des-cats is appointed as the Visitor for the Far East.

1934
In the summer of this year Dom Gerard Haverbeque makes his first visit to Tobetsu.

August 24. Archbishop Paolo Marella, accompanied by Fr. Bunkei Totsuka, visits the monastery.

On September 29 Dom Chautard, abbot of Sept-Fons, dies suddenly. He had made visits to Japan in 1906 and 1929.

1935
After the snow melted stones were gathered and cut to build an enclosure wall. This was completed in October.

TOBETSU IS RAISED TO THE RANK OF AN ABBEY
On September 14, 1935, the monastery is officially raised to the status of an abbey.

1936 ~1946

1936
On January 30, Dom Benedict Morvan is elected abbot.

On April 29, Archbishop chambon of Tokyo comes for the blessing of the new abbot

On June 29th the founder, Dom Gerard celebrates his 50th anniversary of priesthood.

In August the apostle of the Sacred heart, Fr. Mateo Crawley Bouvey, of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, comes to visit Tobetsu.

The first cookie factory is built. However, soon after, because of government regulations of goods, the factory was forced to close.

1937
On July 7th of this year the Sino-Japanese war breaks out. The monastery property becomes a strategic fortified zone. Photographs of the monastery are forbidden. Postcards and the decorative cans for butter are inspected. The powers of the police are increased.

Due to the Sino-Japanese war and the subsequent Second World War, 14 young monks were pressed into military service. Four of them died in the war.

Beginning in the autumn and continuing until the next fall the buildings for the refectory, novitiate and infirmary were completed.

In 1939 Dom Maur Daniel retires as abbot of Bricquebec.

On February 2, 1940, Dom Marie Joseph Marquis is elected abbot of Bricquebec.
1942
In August of 1942 coming to Japan from Consolation monastery in China, Dom Benedict abbot, is sharply interrogated in the monastery by a large group of police. He was forced to leave Tobetsu and go to the annex monastery in Shindenbaru.

1944
On May 29, Dom Benedict appoints Dom Alexis Noda as the temporary superior of Tobetsu.

In July the annex monastery of Shindenbaru is closed.

1945
A group of the military arrive from Chishima and intrude into the monastery. They begin to take over the guest house, church, and the main building, and take up residence here.
On June 29, 1945, due to the fire bombing in Tokyo, Fr. Noda, the rector of the Tokyo major seminary, sends 7 of his students to Tobetsu. Later there was a total of 16 students living here following the monastic schedule. Except for three of them they all became priests, and one of them became the Cardinal Archbishop of Tokyo.

On July 14th Hakodate is bombed. There is great destruction and 4,800 lives are lost.

On August 15th Dom Alexis, some monks and seminarians gather in Fr. Noda's room and hear the voice of the Emperor announcing the end of the war.

1946
The founder, Dom Gerard, celebrates his Diamond Anniversary of ordination.

On October 28th Tobetsu abbey celebrates its 50th anniversary. The former Archbishop of Tokyo, Mgr. Chambon, presides at the Solemn High Mass. A statue of Our Lady, blessed by Bishop Urakawa of Sendai, is set in the monastery garden.

1947 ~1956


1947
On July 1st Dom Gerard dies at the age of 87, having lived in Japan for 50 years.
1948
In March Dom Joseph Marquis makes his first visitation of Tobetsu.

Dom Benedict, abbot, returns to the monastery after a visit to Europe two years after the war is ended.

Dom Alexis had served as temporary superior since 1944. Now Dom Benedict resumes his responsibilities as abbot.

On May 6th the former abbot of Bricquebec, Dom Vital Lehodey, dies at the age of 90. He rendered invaluable service for Tobetsu.

On July 28th Mr. Kawada, a baron who owned summer house in Tobetsu, is baptized by Dom Benedict.

1949
On February 1st Dom Benedict dies of stomach cancer. He had lived in Japan for 25 years and served as abbot for 18 years.

Dom Marc Jammes is then appointed superior ad nutum.

On June 29th Japan celebrated the 400th anniversary of the arrival of St. Francis Xavier. The relic of his arm came to Tobetsu and was enthusiastically venerated.

In August Archbishop Furstenberg Apostolic delegate visits the monastery.

1950
This was a Holy Year. The abbey Church was open to visitors all year long. A plenary indulgence was granted.

1951
On April 3rd the Japanese government established an official status for registered religious organizations.

In July D. Marc Jammes resigns as superior, and Fr. Thomas Takashima Gen-ichiro is appointed superior ad nutum.

From this time on the Father Immediate is able to come here by airplane and he visits almost every year.

1952
In January the annex monastery at Shindenbaru is turned over to the Trappistines of Tenshien for use in making a foundation.

This year the monastery begins a small-scale cookie making operation for the sale of cookies to the public.

In November of 1951 Dom Gabriel Sortais was elected abbot general, and in 1952 he makes his first visit outside of Europe and America to Japan.

1953
On August 20, Bishop Tomizawa of Sapporo presides at the Solemn Mass
commemorating the 800th anniversary of the death of Saint Bernard.
This celebration was attended by many visiting religious.

On September 26th the monastery becomes officially registered as a religious juridical person.

In October the monastery receives its first tractor from the United States. From this time on there is a marked development in the mechanization of the farm and dairy.

At this time land is rented from the monastery for the building of the Ishibetu Middle School.
On October 3, 1954, Dom Alexis Noda was elected as the first Japanese abbot of Tobetsu.

On November 30 Bishop Tomizawa of the Sapporo diocese presided at the blessing of Dom Alexis at the Parish Church of Tobetsu.

1955
In September Dom Alexis becomes the first Japanese superior to attend the General Chapter.

1956
Dom Gabriel Sortais makes his second visit to Japan.

During this year the monastery begins the production of soy sauce and miso (bean paste), but this did not prove successful, and production was stopped in March of 1962.

1958 ~ 1966

1958
The monastery begins the production of butter candies.

On April 3 two bells which were received from Brisquebec are blessed . The former monastery bell were confiscated by the military during the war.

1959
On May 30 Fr. Marc Jammes celebrates his golden anniversary of profession.

1960
On August 29 Archbishop Dominico Enrici, the pro-nuncio to Japan, visits the monastery.
1961
On January 15 the Parish Hall of Tobetsu was blessed.

A large candle blessed by Pope John XXIII on February 2 is received by the monastery from the pro-nuncio. This candle was lit during the month of Our Lady as a prayerful preparation for the Second Vatican Council.

1962
On February 21 Dom Alexis resigns as abbot. Fr Damien Uraguchi is appointed superior ad nutum.

On September 8 Bro. Hilarion Morita becomes the first Japanese monk to celebrate his Golden Anniversary of Profession.

On September 30 the monastery begins a novena of Masses as preparation for the Second Vatican Council.

On October 11 the Vatican Council opens. The Mass of the Holy Spirit is offered at the moastery.
1963
On May 26 the choir novices and the lay brother novices form a common novitiate.

On November 13 Dom Gabriel Sortais dies suddenly in Rome at the age of 61.

1964
On January 16 Dom Ignace Gillet is elected abbot general.

1965
On March 17 there was a Mass to mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the hidden Christians who were the descendants of the Japanese Martyrs.

From this time on there is a gradual introduction of the Japanese language into the celebration of the Liturgy.

On October 24 the Mass was concelebrated for the first time by the priests of the monastery.

On December 6 special prayers were offered for the Second Vatican Council which was to close on December 8th.

On December 8 the wooden Guest House was blessed.

1966
On January 31st the distinction between choir monks and lay brothers was removed, unless someone wished "to remain" a lay brother.

In April abbot general Dom Ignace visits Japan.

On May 11 Dom Bonaventure replaces Dom Damian as the appointed Superior.

From July 18 - 21 Archbishop Wurstenberg, the pro-nuncio, visits Tobetsu.

1967 ~1976

On August 16, 1967, the time of rising was changed from 2:00AM to 3:15AM. A new horarium was put into effect. The present time (1996) for rising is 3:30AM.

1968
On Easter Sunday, April 14th, Compline was sung in Japanese instead of Latin. This is the first part of the Divine Office to be sung in Japanese.

The new kitchen was completed and blessed on September 16.

On October 10 the cookie factory was completed and blessed.

On October 22 the Mass is now sung in Japanese in place of Latin.

1969
In May Dom Bonaventure Mitsuno is elected abbot.

On June 16 Dom Bonaventur is blessed as abbot by Bishop Tomizawa.
1970
Dom Ignace Gillet, abbot general, arrives for his second visit.

On July 24th the old tiles which had been on the roof of the main building since 1908 were removed, and the roof was refinished with sheet copper.

On September 1 the Office of Vespers was changed from Latin to Japanese.

1971
On May 30th a monument honoring Mr. Miki Rofu was unveiled in the presence of his widow.

On October 28th a monument was erected in the garth commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the foundation of the monastery. On one side is shown a relief of the Good Shepherd. On the other side is a winter scene of the monks logging in the mountains.
1972
July 25-26 Archbishop Bruno Wurstenberg, the pro-nuncio, visits the monastery.

On September 12 the responsibility as Father Immediate of Tenshien is transferred from Bricquebec to Tobetsu.

1973
On July 5th construction was begun on the new abbey Church, Guest House, and a north wing for the monks.

1974
On November 10 the new abbey Church was completed. It was designed in accord with Cistercian tradition, and conforming to the newly revised Liturgy.

The new abbey Church was consecrated by Bishop Tomizawa. Present were Archbishop Ippolito Rotoli the pro-nuncio, and many religious and representatives of the Church. At the same time the Guest House, and the new wing for the monks, were completed. In accord with an old Cistercian custom there followed an Open House celebration for one week. About 25,000 people visited the monastery at that time.
1975
July 9 - 10 Dom Ambrose Southey, who was elected abbot general on May 7,1974, visits the monastery.

1976
On February 5th the new abbey Church organ arrives from Luxemburg. This organ has 600 pipes. The harmonium which had been used since the foundation was donated to the Tokyo University of Music.

1977 ~ 1986

1977
A carved wood statue of Our Blessed Mother, made from camphor tree. This statue was carved by Mr. Funakoshi and blessed on May 24th.

1978
From September 21 - 24 Archbishop Mario Pio Gaspari the pro-nuncio visits the monastery.

1979
Plans were made for opening a new foundation in Oita, Kyushu. The commencement ceremony was held on August 25.

On September 8 Brother Andrew Nagata becomes the first Japanese to celebrate his Diamond Jubilee of Profession.
On July 11, 1980, the 1500th Anniversary of the birth of St. Benedict, Bishop Hirayama of Oita presided over the official opening of the Oita monastery. In attendance were the pro-nuncio,Bishop Hirata, Bishop Matsunaga and many religious and faithful.
1980
On October 26th a stone monument with a haiku poem about the Cross, by Awano Seibo, is erected on the monastery grounds.

1981
In April Dom Joseph Marquis retires as abbot of Bricquebec, and on June 4th Dom René Bonpain is elected the new abbot. His abbatial blessing was held on July 8th.

On July 22nd Dom Joseph Marquis dies suddenly at the age of 77.

From November 11 - 15 Dom Ambrose Southy comes for his third visit to Tobetsu.

1982
Dom René Bonpain makes his first visitation.

1983
On January 25 Sister Gabriella, who offered her life for the cause of Christian unity, is proclaimed a Blessed by Pope John Paul II.

From September 14 - 21 representatives of the order from all over the world gathered at Tobetsu. This meeting of the Central Commissions discussed proposals for the new Constitutions.

1984
On August 15th Fr. Charles Taue became the first Japanese Trappist priest to celebrate his Golden Anniversary of ordination.

1985
On September 13 a decorative iron gate is installed at the main entrance.
1986
On February 5 the foundation in Oita, Our Lady of the Annunciation, was raised to the status of an independent simple priory.

On May 13, after having endured an illness since the previous December, Dom Bonaventure Mitsuno passed to his eternal reward. He was 61 years of age and had been abbot for twenty years.

On May 16 the funeral Mass and burial were presided over by Bishop Tomizawa and the Father Immediate, Dom René Bonpain. Many religious and faithful were in attendance to bid him farewell.

On May 28th Dom Maur Takagi was elected abbot.
On June 4th Archbishop (now Cardinal) Shirayanagi of Tokyo presided at the abbatial blessing of Dom Maur. Bishop Sato of Sendai, Bishop Sato of Niigata, and Dom René, abbot of Bricquebec, were in attendance, accompanied by many religious and faithful.

From October 24 - November 2 the meeting of ASPAC was held at Tobetsu. This meeting included representatives of the Order from the Asia-Pacific Region. Along with the abbot general, Dom Ambrose Southy, monks arrived from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Japan.

1987 ~ 1996

1987
On March 16th the Seikan Tunnel was opened. This is a railroad tunnel under the Tsugaru Straits linking Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, and Honshu, Japan's main island.

On October 19th the nun's monastery of Our Lady of Sujong in Korea was
opened. This monastery was founded by the nuns of Tenshien.
1988
On January 15 the successor of Bishop Tomizawa, Fr. Jinushi Toshio, is consecrated as Bishop of Sapporo.

On December 8th the new facilities for the visiting families of the monks was completed and blessed.

1989
On May 12 the new grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes was blessed. The former grotto, which was built in 1911, had become dangerous because of falling rocks. The new site is in the back hills about 200 meters from the old grotto.
1990
On September 8 Dom Bernardo Olivera was elected abbot general.

1991
On November 10 the new buildings for the Ishibetsu Middle School were completed.

1992
On February 5th Dom Vianney Yamaguchi was elected prior titular of Our Lady of the Annunciation monastery in Oita.

From March 19 - 23 Dom Bernardo Olivera visits the monastery community.

1993
On July 12th Hokkaido experienced a strong earthquake which resulted in irreparable damage to the parish Church. It became unusable, and was torn down.

1994
From May 30th to June 2nd the Benedictine Forum was held at Tobetsu. This is a meeting for members of religious communities working in Japan who take the Rule of St. Benedict as their guide. These religious communities include the Benedictines, Cistercians, the Society of Mary, Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, the Bernardines, Sisters of Jesus Crucified, and the Sisters of the Good Samaritan. This group meets annually during the month of June.
1995
From May 10 - 18 Tobetsu hosted the joint meeting of ASPAC (the monks regional meeting) and Oriens (the nuns regional meeting). Beginning with the abbot general, Dom Bernardo, representatives arrived from Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Japan.

From June 6 - 15 the Central Commissions of the Order met at the monastery of Orval in Belgium. At this meeting it was decided that the abbot of Tobetsu would assume responsibility as Father Immediate for the Trappistines at Sujong monastery in Korea.

On September 29th Archbishop William Carew, the pro-nuncio, visits the monastery.

On October 7 the monastery of nuns in Sujong is raised to the status of an independent simple priory.

On December 8th Bishop Jinushi Toshio presided at the blessing of the Tobetsu Parish.

1996
On June 27 the abbey received an award from a local association, for the dignified beauty of the tree-lined road leading up to the monastery.


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