She was an educator and school administrator who served as a Maryknoll Sister in Japan for 52 years.
She was born Feb. 20, 1927, in Tokyo, to Joseph Hisakichi Soma and Maria Ko Nakayama.
Sister Maria Rosa, whose baptismal name was Rosemary Aiko Nakayama, was one of four children, two boys and two girls.
She was born in 1944 and graduated from Tamagawa Gakuen Girls High School in Tokyo.
Sister Maria Rosa also attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo from 1939-42.
She also received an R.N. from St. Luke’s College of Nursing in Tokyo in 1948, followed by graduate work at St. Luke’s, as well as at Catholic University, Washington, D.C. and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Sister Maria Rosa entered Maryknoll from St. Ignatius Parish, Tokyo, and made her first vows March 7, 1955, at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse and her final vows March 7, 1961, in Japan.
Japan’s Ministry of Education and Science gave her an award for “distinguished service in the promotion of community-based education.”
Sister Maria Rosa is survived by her sister, Hisako Nakayama, of Tokyo, and her nieces, Haruo Hatakeyama of Tokyo and Ruriko Imamusa of Kamagawa-Ken, Japan.
A vespers service will be conducted at 4:15 p.m. Monday in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center at Maryknoll.
A memorial Mass will be conducted at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the center.
Sister Maria Rosa donated her body to science under the direction of the Dorsey Funeral Home.
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