May 2013 – Good News from the MISSIONS OFFICE published by the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, 710 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104 May 2013 issue Page 6
Martyrs, Maryknoll, and a Marker
On June 8, 2013 Archbishop J. Peter Sartain will formally dedicate and bless a historical marker remembering the former Our Lady Queen of Martyrs parish and school in Seattle. The parish was set up and administered by the Maryknoll Society at the invitation of Bishop Edward O’Dea in 1920 to serve the Japanese-American immigrant community, and later the Filipino-American immigrant community as well.
In 1920, Maryknoll Sisters Gemma Shea and Gerard Gallagher opened a kindergarten for sixteen Japanese children of working immigrant mothers. By 1922, enrollment had grown to eighty-four pupils so the kindergarten was relocated to a larger house at 17th & E Jefferson St. By 1926, twelve Maryknoll Sisters were educating over one-hundred students and had added a children’s home and day care nursery.
Fr. Leopold Tibesar, MM, became the parish priest in 1935. Following the December 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 in February, 1942 which led to military orders to evacuate all people of Japanese descent from the U.S. West Coast to relocation camps. Fr. Tibesar accompanied the parish evacuees first to the fairgrounds in Puyallup (“Camp Harmony”), a few blocks away from the current location of All Saints church, then to the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho, where he was assisted by two Maryknoll Sisters from the parish, Srs. Thomas Marie (Regina) Johnson and Marie Rosaire Greaney.
The dedication and blessing is scheduled for Saturday, June 8, at 3:00pm to which the public is invited. The blessing will take place on the corner of 16th and Jefferson Streets just outside the Jefferson Tower entrance of Swedish Hospital. There will be a social afterwards in the foyer of the Jefferson Tower. June 8 marks the 151st Anniversary of the canonization of
the Martyrs of Japan (16th and 17th centuries). The event is co-sponsored by your Missions Office and the Maryknoll House in Seattle.