How the atomic bomb brought Good Sams to Japan

St Scholastica’s College students involved in the War and Peace project (The Good Oil)

St Scholastica’s College Glebe students have taken a “deep dive” into the history of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan in Japan, through an initiative run by the Australian National Maritime Museum. Source: The Good Oil.

Year 9 and 10 students were given the opportunity to take part in the museum’s ongoing annual project War and Peace in the Pacific 75 – a project that focuses on a different theme every year for five years, from 2017–2021.

The project is in its third year and the 2019 theme, "Secrets and Spies", explores the untold stories from World War II – stories like the establishment of the Good Samaritan communities in Japan.

The project was conceived as a result of the museum and the NSW Department of Education looking into how a student-led research program could engage schools in the tri-nations of Australia, United States and Japan to explore the battles and consequences of the war.

The research project is unique in its purpose. Students are solely responsible for their research as well as the final delivery of educational resources that can be used by the general public.

Maritime Museum senior education officer Jeff Fletcher was first alerted to the history of the Sisters in Japan by an attendee at the 2018 War and Peace exhibition. He contacted Sr Lia van Haren and the Good Samaritan Archives, who suggested the students of St Scholastica’s be considered as research candidates.

“I suggested they involve the students from St Scholastica’s largely due to the access the students have to our archives,” said Sr Lia. “They [the students] are located directly next door and I knew they would be heavily reliant on our archives as a resource for their research.”

It has been over 70 years since six Good Samaritan Sisters set sail for Nagasaki to aid in the reconstruction of the diocese after the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Significantly, this was the first overseas mission established by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan.

The final digital project by the students of St Scholastica’s College will be available on the museum's website early next year.

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Students ‘dive’ into the history of the Good Sams in Japan (The Good Oil)

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