Founder of Kochi Girls’ School (now Seiwa Jogakuin): An Educator of Love

Annie Dowd was born as the third daughter of a lawyer on Nov. 6, 1861. Her home was so well known that mail was delivered even without a proper address. People only needed to write Dowd, Mississippi on the mail. After graduating from a women’s college, she worked as a music teacher at a church-related school. Later, however, she gradually started having a strong desire to share the Gospel overseas. At that time American Southern Presbyterian Mission received a request for another missionary in Kochi, Japan, and Dowd was sent there when she was 26years old.

 

In 1887, Dowd arrived in Kochi as a teacher at Kochi Eiwa Girls’ School, but in her free time, she also taught the Bible to women and communicated the gospel eagerly herself. Although this school was closed within ten years, Dowd stayed on in Kochi and preached the gospel to the people in the countryside. She could not forget the underprivileged girls she had met while she travelled the countryside, and she started praying for them to have faith and education.

 

In 1901, when the then 40-year-old Dowd returned to Japan after being succesfully treated for breast cancer, she rented a house in Takajomachi, where she welcomed two girls into her home and started educating them. This was the start of Kochi Girls’ School, which later became Seiwa. She started receiving girls one after another who were raised in poor homes and had had no opportunity for an education, even at the age of 15 or 16. Dowd lived with them and taught them life skills as well.

 

Kochi Girls’ School was a home-like school with a dormitory. A time of worship was held every morning and evening, and on Sundays, everyone attended church. The school laid emphases on English and music, and everyone was able to play the piano and organ. The embroidery patterns made at school were sold at churches in the U.S. to help pay for school fees.

 

Financial management of the school was difficult, but the administrators always managed to supply the girls’ needs. Dowd scrimped in every way she could in order to use her own salary for the needs of the school. She bought second hand clothing and had to tailor them to fit, and she often wore mended socks and sown buttons over the holes in her skirts.

 

As the school’s numbers continued to increase, the mission took over the management of the school from 1915, and in 1924, a new school building was built in Takajomachi with funds contributed by church women in the U.S. Sadly, on Dec. 3, 1927, after only three years of operation, a fire caused by a faulty stove burned down the building. Dowd led the students out of the burning building, taking with her only her old Bible, but fortunately nobody was injured. The headlines in the local newspapers read “Crying students and Dowd’s tears.” It explained how Dowd led the students to safety as quickly as possible. At this time Dowd was 66 years old, and although she was disappointed by the loss of the new school building, she said “Let’s stop crying. There is nothing that God cannot do.” And immediately, she started praying for a new school building. She was unable to get support from the mission, however, as they thought it best to just close down the school. However, she was able to rebuild a new school the following year with the support of former students and other people who valued her work. Because of Dowd’s hard work and endless community support, Kochi City decided to honor her with a commendation ceremony. At first, she intended to decline such an honor, but the teachers of the school encouraged her, saying this was a reward for her hard work in serving God for his glory. So she accepted it on Feb. 11, 1933. The certificate of commendation stated: “You are calm and sincere, rich in philanthropy, and you came all the way to this city as a missionary to passionately engage in evangelism. You also established Kochi Girls’ High School and educated underprivileged girls for over 30 years. Even though you are over 70 years old, you never show signs of fatigue and continue to put your efforts into local education. Your achievement has been enormous.” The name Dowd and her work were known all over the prefecture.

 

Dowd had been postponing her retirement as a missionary, but when the mission delegated management of the school to Kochi Church, she decided that this was the appropriate time to return home. Dowd, who was 76 years old, arrived back in the U.S. on April 12, 1937. She offered almost her entire adult life to Kochi. She had said, “I do not really want to return, and if it is God’s will, I would like to die here.” She had even bought a cemetery plot on Mount Takami. God had appointed her to work in Kochi but also decided that she should return home.

 

Seiwa Girls’ School, which was established in 1901 by one missionary, still exists despite some difficulties, continuing to treasure Dowd’s mission. When we hear the name Dowd, we remember that small works of faith bear much fruit.

 

After Dowd went home, she lived in a retirement home in Jackson, Mississippi. In spite of difficulties walking, seeing, and hearing, she continued to serve by visiting bedridden women in the home, as well as continuing a Bible study, always praying and reading her Bible as she was able. On April 23, 1960, she passed away at the age of 99, having served God her whole life. (Tr. NS&JGO)

 

—Yokoyama Yoshiro, principal

Seiwa Girls’ Junior and Senior High Schools

Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku

 

 

『愛の教育者 アニー・ダウド』

清和女子中高等学校校長 横山義郎

 

アニー・ダウドは、1861年11月6日「ミシシッピ州ダウド」だけで郵便が届いたと言われるほどの名家に、弁護士の三女として生まれました。女学校卒業後は教会付属の学校で音楽の教師として働いていましたが、やがて外国人に神の救いを伝えたいと言う思いを強く持つようになりました。丁度その頃、高知にきていた宣教師の依頼を受けた南長老派教会は、26歳のダウドを高知に赴任させました。

1887年、高知英和女学校 の教師として来高したダウドは、教師のかたわら、独力で市内の婦人達に聖書を教え、キリスト教伝道を熱心に行いました。この学校は10年足らずで廃校にな りましたが、ダウドは高知に留まり、僻地伝道を始めました。その途中で出会った恵まれない少女 達の事が忘れられず、この少女達に教育を受けさせ、信仰を持つことが出来ないものかと祈り願うようになりました。

1901年、乳ガンの治療から帰えってきたダウドは、鷹匠(たかじょう)町(まち)の借家に2名の少女を引き取り教育を始めました。 ここに清和の前身である『高知女学会』が誕生しました。ダウド40歳でした。15・6歳になっても全く教育を受けていない貧しい家庭の 少女達を次々に引き取りました。ダウドは、生活を共にしながら勉強だけでなく生活に必要な全てのことを教えました。

高知女学会は家庭の ような学校で、全員が寮で生活をしていました。毎日、朝夕に礼拝を守り、日曜日には全員が教会に出席しました。英語だけでなく音楽教 育にも力を入れ、全員がピアノやオルガンを弾く事が出来ました。授業で作った刺繍の作品は、学費補助のために米国の教会で販売して貰い ました。

女学会の経営は困難 でしたが生徒達は必要な物を十分に与えられていました。ダウド自身は自らの給与を切り詰め、安い質流れ品の洋服を仕立て直し、繕った靴下を履き、穴を隠すために幾つものボタンをつけたスカートをは くなど質素な生活をしながら経営を続けていました。規模が大きくなった学校の経営は、1915年からはミッションの経営に変わりました。1924年には米国の教会の婦人達の献金によって鷹匠町に新校舎を建てる事が出来まし た。しかしこの校舎は3年後の1927年12月3日、ストーブの煙突の故障が原因で全焼してしまいました。ダウドは使い古した聖 書だけを片手に生徒達を誘導し、1人の怪我人も出しませんでした。『泣き叫ぶ女生徒。ダウド嬢の目にも涙』の見出しで、機敏な避難の様子が新聞記事に残されています。ダウド66 歳の時でした。校舎の消失にがっかりしたダウドでしたが、『泣くのは止めましょう神様には仕方がないことはありません』と再建へ の祈りを始めました。廃校を考えていたミッションの支援は得られませんでしたが、卒業生とダウドの働きに共感する多くの人々の支 援により翌年には校舎を再建することが出来ました。

このようなダウドの 働きに対して、高知市はダウドの表彰を決めました。当時としては異例のことでした。最初、固辞していたダウドでしたが、神の栄光のた め、全力を注いで主の業に励んだ結果だと教職員に勧められ、1933年2月11日に表彰を受けました。その文面には、『冷静深厚、博愛の心に富み、宣教師として遠く本市に来任し、熱 愛を持って伝道に従事せらる。傍ら、高知女学会を創設して薄幸なる女子教育に従事すること30余年。古希を過ぎても疲れることを知らず、地方教化のために力を 尽くされた功績は寔(まこと)に甚大なり。』と記されていました。ダウドの名前と その働きが県下に知られるようになりました

宣教師としての定年 延長をしていたダウドでしたが、高知女学会の経営がミッションから高知教会に変わり、清和女学校になったのを機に帰国の決心をしまし た。

1937年4月12日、76歳のダウドは帰国の 途につきました。人生のほとんどを高知のために捧げ、『帰りたくありません。神様が赦して下されば高知で死にたい』と高見山(たかみやま)に墓地まで買っていましたが、神様は高知での働き をこれまでと定められダウドを帰国させました。

1901年、一人の宣教師によって始められた小さな清和学園は、多くの困難の中でダウド の思いを大切にキリスト教主義の学校として存続しています。ダウドの名前を聞く時、私達は信仰による小さな働きが、大きな実を結ぶこ とを思い出します。

ダウドは帰国後はミシシッピ州ジャクソンにある老婦人ホームに暮らしました。目 も耳も不自由になり、足も弱っていたダウドでしたが、ホーム内では、バイブルクラスを開いたり、寝たきりの婦人達を訪問するなど、祈 りと聖書を読む事を欠かさない生活を送り、1960年4月23日99歳で天に召さるまで、ダウドの生涯は神様に仕えるものでした。