To the Students, Faculty and Staff of Elisabeth University of Music
It is a pleasure for me to send greetings to you through President Hideaki Nakamura, Prof. Yuuji Kawano, his assistant, and Chancellor Lawrence McGarrell, S.J., following our meeting in Tokyo on 26 and 27 August together with the administrators of Sophia University.
I have many warm memories of my visit to Elisabeth University of Music on 4 July 1992, and I am happy to learn of the progress and achievements of your school since then. Through music, you can communicate joy and hope to others in a unique and powerful way. I hope that you will continue to engage in this important work with great competence and compassion.
Elisabeth University of Music holds an important place in Jesuit education as the only Jesuit-founded school specializing in music among more than 200 Jesuit colleges and universities throughout the world. Your school belongs to a very large family, as Jesuit education institutions today number more than 3,400, where some 2,400,000 students and nearly 128,000 faculty and administrative staff study and work together. I hope that you will take pride in being part of this tradition, which reaches back in history to the activity of Saint Francis Xavier and his successors in Japan more than 400 years ago.
Today students, faculty and staff in Jesuit schools are asked to take up the challenge of becoming persons ‘for others’ who are ‘with others’ in true solidarity. It is a challenge that has great meaning for us all. As musicians, you know well that harmony and energy are achieved in ensemble only when competent players listen to one another carefully. Indeed, it is only in this way that they can discover the full meaning and beauty of the music they are performing and blend their energies successfully to create it. Music, thus, offers you a valuable paradigm for every aspect of your lives: listen carefully in order to understand well, discover what you can create for and with others, and use your competence generously in order to achieve it. I hope that as musicians ‘for others’ and ‘with others’, you will contribute much to make modern society more truly humane.
May you be blessed with strength and joy in your lives and in your work.
Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.
Superior-General of the Society of Jesus
Rome, 30 September 2005