Brother Benedict Terasawa, SA – Franciscan Friar of the Atonement
(February 25, 1925 – June 22, 2019)
(June 26, 2019 – Graymoor, Garrison, NY). Brother Benedict (nee Francis Masayuki) Terasawa, SA, a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement, passed from this life on Saturday, June 22, 2019 at Cabrini of Westchester Nursing Home in Dobbs Ferry, NY. A wake service was held Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 7 p.m. at the Chapel at St. Christopher’s Inn at Graymoor in Garrison, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Friday, June 28, 2019 at 11 a.m. in the Chapel with interment in the Friars’ cemetery immediately after Mass.
Br. Terasawa was born on February 25, 1925 in Yokohama, Japan. He attended local schools and graduated from Toshiba College in Kawasaki City in 1946. Br. Terasawa entered the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in 1955 and received the habit in 1957. He professed first vows in 1959 and made his final vows in 1964. He was the first native Japanese brother to be accepted into the Fraternity.
After his profession in 1959, Br. Terasawa studied theology at a Sophia University course run by the Jesuits in Tokyo. From 1959-1989, he worked in many of the Friars’ Japanese ministries and activities in the cities of Tsurumi, Nigata, Yokohama, Kawasaki, and Miura. He also served as an instructor on the national level for the Boy Scouts of Japan, was involved in social communications work through the National Bishops Conference, and served as CCD Coordinator for the Yokohama Diocese. He also counselled youth at a correction center run by the Japanese government.
In 1990 at the age of 65, Br. Terasawa decided that the United States, which he had visited a few times, would offer an intriguing change of ministry. He was assigned to St. Christopher’s Inn at Graymoor and found deep personal and spiritual fulfillment in serving the homeless and addicted men receiving treatment at the Inn. He tailored donated clothing for the men and baked in the kitchen, utilizing his culinary skills to create 250 to 400 portions of desserts, snacks, and bread each day. Br. Terasawa also became an art restorer, and in his spare time repaired many of the religious statues around Graymoor and in local parishes. Br. Terasawa entered Third Age status in 2007. He was honored at the 7th Annual St. Christopher’s Inn Board of Directors dinner in May 2011 for his 21 years of service to the Friars, staff and residents of St. Christopher’s Inn.
Br. Terasawa was the son of the late Hiroyuki Terasawa and Maria (Raku) Terasawa. He was predeceased by his two brothers, Hiroshi Terasawa and Yukie Terasawa, and sisters, Ineko Inoue and Reiko Terasawa.