On 8 February 1926, 9 Salesian missionaries led by Vincenzo Cimatti, arrived in Japan after travelling for 40 days by ship. Despite the extreme poverty prior to the war and difficulties regarding the language and the cultural and climate diversity, they started their missionary activity in Miyazaki with joy and enthusiasm for the salvation of the souls.
In 1929, Antonio Cavoli, parish priest of the church in Miyazaki, rallied a group of young women and began visiting the poor and the sick. The project was developed in the Saint Vincent charity and a Hospice was opened for the poor, the abandoned and the sick. Before the First World War in Japan, nationalism had become popular and with it a campaign to extradite foreigners and so, receiving offerings from Italy was made impossible. As Mr. Cimatti wished to continue managing the Hospice, he therefore proposed founding a female Congregation to Mr. Cavoli, which the latter accepted and on 15 August 1937 the Congregation of the Caritas Sisters of Japan was founded.
The 9 missionaries arrived.
The Hospice was set up in Miyazaki.
The Congregation of the Caritas Sisters of Japan was founded.
The Congregation’s first two professions.
The Congregation’s Constitution Approval by the Propaganda Fide Congregation. Name change to [Congregation of the Caritas Sisters of Miyazaki]
The first missionary expedition in Korea.
First missionary expedition in Latin America.
Co-founder Vincenzo Cimatti died.
Founder Antonio Cavoli died.
Affiliation with the Salesian Family.
Congregation’s approval of the Pontifical Institute.
Transfer of the Generalate from Tokyo to Rome.
Name change from [Congregation of the Caritas Sisters of Miyazaki] to [Congregation of the Caritas Sisters of Jesus].
Mr. Cavoli was born in Italy in the village of San Giovanni in Marignano, Rimini, on 4 August 1888. He was sent on an expedition to Japan in 1926 with 9 Salesian missionaries, led by Mr. Cimatti. After his experience as an army chaplain in the First World War and then as a priest in the diocese of Rimini, he became part of the Salesians with a desire to go away on missions.
Once the priest at the church in Miyazaki, he scouted young women and organised visits to the poor, the sick and the abandoned elderly and in 1932 he created a hospice.
Following the Second World War and the influx of militarism, the Supervisor Vincenzo Cimatti, considering the continuation of the hospice project as necessary, proposed the funding of a Japanese female Congregation to Antonio Cavoli. Mr. Cavoli accepted the proposal and on 15 August 1937 he founded the Japanese Congregation, building on the [Caritas daughters] group that was working at the hospice. (The name was then changed to [Congregation of the Caritas Sisters of Miyazaki] and then again to [Congregation of the Caritas Sisters of Jesus].
Mr. Cavoli then focused on training the sisters and developing the Congregation. He passed away in Tokyo on 22 November 1972.
He was born in Faenza, Italy in 1879. At the age of 2 he saw Saint John Bosco on a visit in Faenza. Growing up amongst the Salesians, he fostered his vocation and made his first profession in 1896. He then studied at the University of Turin graduating in philosophy and natural science.
In 1905 he was commissioned a priest and for 20 years he taught at Turin Valsalice, where he showed extraordinary musical talents. In 1926, the Rector Major of the Salesians, Filippo Rinaldi, embraced his wishes, which he had expressed on many occasions, to go away on a mission and he was sent to Japan in charge of an expedition with a group of missionaries. He worked on pastoral and evangelising projects and took Saint John Bosco’s charisma to Japan.
He has guided Mr. Cavoli in founding our Congregation and despite the lack of economic funds and several difficulties, he has always proved to be a great, patient father. Mr. Cimatti as his Supervisor has always supported his projects and due to his virtues he was proclaimed [Venerable] by the Church.