(June 8, 1894 - June 10, 1987)
Raphael Ziegler was active as a missionary in Japan for thirty-five
years. During that time he exerted a remarkable influence on the lives
of many members of the Kobe foreign community as well as on the Japanese
people. Before coming to Kobe, Brother Raphael served for thirty-two
years at Saint Francis Xavier, Shanghai, China. In 1978 he was the recipient
of the German Cross for distinguished service and in 1985 was honored
by the International Committee of the Kansai. he died in Kobe after
a stroke; a Mass of Resurrection was celebrated Saturday, June 13, 1987
at Sacred Heart Church, Nakayamate, Kobe.
Matthew Callanan delivered the eulogy.
I express our sincere thanks to all of you as we come together to bid
a fond farewell to a wonderful gentleman, Brother Raphael. We certainly
do not mourn nor regret Brother Raph's final reward as he joins his
Father in glory, for that is what he is doing now, even as we offer
our last good-bye.
began his journey home over ninety-three years ago in his beloved homeland,
Germany. Little did he realize then where his journey would take him.
his early youth, the voice of the Lord called to him and Raphael answered
with a resounding yes. Thus was set in motion a way of life as
a Marist Brother that took him first to Italy for his early studies,
then to China, where he began his career as an educator of youth. His
career was to span some seventy years working with youth from all parts
of the world. Some of you know only too well what China was like in
the early and late twenties. But Brother Raph's work took all his time
and energy in the city of Shanghai.
life as a religious and an educator kept him in close contact with his
fellow Marist Brothers, and with students and their parents for over
seventy years; it kept him young in mind and heart. In time this deep
respect and concern for his boys became Brother Raphael's whole life.
When the tides of change began to sweep over China, Raph and many other
missionaries were forced to leave their work and missions. Raph found
his way first to Hong Kong and then in 1952 to Kobe, Japan. He brought
a wealth of experience deeply rooted in his love for our Lord, and in
a special way, our Blessed Mother, Mary. Raph's daily life was filled
with and reflected this love. He was one of those rare individuals who
is able to touch many lives. His students in Suma knew him as a tough,
fair, and gentle teacher: a man who had their welfare at heart, a man
who could laugh easily with them and still remind them that they owed
him and themselves work to be done at school or at home. He would accept
nothing less from them or himself.
companions in his journey, the Marist Brothers with whom he lived and
worked, especially those in Kobe, found in Raph an example of a man
fighting the good fight and growing old gracefully. In his younger golden
years Raph's favorite expression was "don't get old"; this
changed to "over the hill" and "too old" in his
senior golden years. Raphael had a delightful sense of humor, in which
he gradually indulged more in his later years.
so it is fitting that we offer a prayer of thanks:
thank you, Lord, for the gift of Brother Raphael as a Marist Brother
in our lives.
thank you, Lord, for giving the youth of many nations a compassionate
and loving teacher in Brother Raphael.
thank you, Lord, for allowing Brother Raphael to touch our lives with
Lord, we thank you for your gift of a loving reward to Brother Raphael
at the end of a long journey home.
to you who have joined us here today, in the name of Brother Raphael
and the Marist Brothers, God bless you all. Thank you.