Sophia Magazine vol.1 / SUMMER 2015

29The Kulturheim: Sophia’s Heart and Soulfor lectures on Catholicism. The Kulturheim has come to symbolize Sophia Univer-sity’s long and continuing commitment to education and research, a commitment engendered by the wish of St. Francis Xavier, who pioneered mission work in East Asia during his visit from 1549 to 1551. The evolving role of the Kulturheim over the years has seen this wish blossom into a university in the capital of Japan where graduates become leaders who tackle the four issues that modern so-ciety confronts, namely poverty, the environmental crisis, education reform, and the preservation of human ethics, and who work toward solutions to build a better society and an international community. Just as Sophia University has diligently and consistently fostered education and research based on the Christian spirit, the Kulturheim is lovingly protected and preserved under Sophia’s benecent care. Today, the building is also used for meetings and Masses, and on weekends and national holidays weddings of gradu-ates are held in the upstairs chapel. Twice a week, zazen meditation sessions are held in the main meeting room. Every morning, Masses are conducted, and during lunch on Fridays, they are held for students. The Kulturheim, the oldest existing building on campus, predates the establishment of the university itself. It is the birthplace of Sophia University and, in the words of Father Donal Doyle, Professor Emeritus, represents the “heart and soul” of the university. It was constructed at the end of the 19th century, in the Meiji era, for Viscount Tomonosuke Takashima as a single-story residence in the European style with high ceilings and Georgian replaces. In 1913, after three Jesuit priests, German, French and English, purchased it, the building was used for the rst classes at the newly formed Sophia University, part of the Society of Jesus’ mission to create institutions of higher learning in Japan. In the beginning all classes, administra-tion, and living quarters were under the same roof. There were only three departments: Philosophy, German Litera-ture, and Commerce, enrolling 14 full-time students and 56 auditors for the evening classes. A second oor was later added which now houses the main chapel for up to 80 congregants as well as several other smaller private chapels. The building was named Kulturheim (literally “cultural home”) around 1937, and began to serve as a cultural cen-ter to bring Catholics together and provide opportunities Left: The front of the Kulturheim. Top right: The main chapel on the second oor. Bottom left: Fa-ther Donal Doyle in St. Therese Chapel. Bottom right: Bust of Saint Francis Xavier with holy relic.EpisodeTHE KULTURHEIM1Catholic Heritage

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