The Seisen STORY
Begin?...Seisen didn’t begin! It just happened...” laughed Sister Carmen.
“After the war, Air Force families asked us to run a kindergarten right where we already had one of our mission schools in a rambling house at Hatsudai, Yoyogi. So, we did. Years later they pleaded, ‘Sisters, couldn’t we have a first grade?!’ ‘All right,’ we said, ‘but no more, that’s all!’ Every fall we said no more, but somehow here we were, all the way to ninth grade!! There was a need, so…”
“Seisen School: Where Spiritual Growth is Emphasized”
Japan Times 1972
Seisen, which in Japanese means “pure spring”, grew from a trickling stream to a small yet forceful brook. In 1962, a kindergarten operated by the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was relocated from Yoyogi to Gotanda where it thrived. Plans for a first grade began. In September of the same year, the hope of the Handmaids and parents was realized as seven girls started first grade. With the approval of the Japanese Ministry of Education and the leadership of the first principal, Sister Rosina Gorini, classes at Seisen International School commenced.
Gotanda to Yoga
The vision of a school that meets the needs of foreign residents began to take shape. Taking over as principal in 1964, Sister Carmen Linares began the Montessori program and had third graders as the school's "seniors". By September of 1971, the next principal, Sister Sagrario Nunez, had students from grades K-10 in her care. While the Gotanda building was overflowing, construction of a building at the current site in Yoga was underway. In 1972, classes in Yoga began. In 1973, Sister Asuncion Lecubarri took charge of students from kindergarten to grade 12. In June of 1974, she awarded diplomas to 18 students, Seisen's first graduating class.
International Baccalaureate Begins
Since its beginning, Seisen has grown from 77 students in 1962 to over 600 students. The faculty has increased from 14 to over 80 full-time and part-time teachers representing nearly 20 nationalities. In 1988, the first International Baccalaureate Diploma was awarded. In 2007, the International Baccalaureate Organization authorized Seisen to start the Primary Years Program. After authorization for the IB Middle Years Program in 2020 Seisen would become a full IB Continuum School.
The growth of the Seisen family encompasses other significant facets: local and global service activities, the adoption of an annual school motto, biannual K-12 Masses, and a school-wide morning prayer each day. Not only have they strengthened the Seisen bond, but they have also translated the Seisen philosophy and objectives into action.
Into the 21st Century
In 1998, Sister Concesa Martin became the new headmistress. Miss Virginia Villegas took over as school head in 2002. In 2007, Sister Asuncion Lecubarri served as acting school head with Sister Concesa resuming the leadership of Seisen in 2008. Sr. Margaret Scott was the school head from 2012-2015. The current school head is Ms. Colette Rogers.
Handmaids Continue Their Work
The Yoga convent of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is located on the campus of Seisen International School. The Sisters continue to support the spiritual life of the school.
45 Groups of Amazing Young Women
Since our first graduating class in 1974 Seisen International School alumni have gone on to be leaders around the world. The Seisen Former Students Association acts as a link to keep alumni connected to each other and to the school.
SAINT RAPHAELA MARY’S VISION FOR THE CONGREGATION WAS INTERNATIONAL – IN MEMBERSHIP AND GLOBAL PRESENCE. TODAY THAT VISION IS FULFILLED THROUGH OUR MINISTRIES ON FIVE CONTINENTS. GOD’S FAMILY KNOWS NO BORDERS, SO NEITHER DO THE HANDMAIDS! CLICK THROUGH THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE THE BREADTH AND SCOPE OF THE HANDMAIDS WORLDWIDE.