Sister Yasuko Teshimo’s long years of service included time at Duchesne

During 78 years of religious life, Sister Yasuko (Mary Theresa) Teshima of the Religious of the Sacred Heart served in numerous roles and places around the world.

She taught elementary, high school, college and seminary students and worked as an assistant treasurer, speech therapist, social worker, pastoral minister and nursing home visitor.

In the Archdiocese of Omaha, she served at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s as a teacher and assistant treasurer.

Sister Yasuko died March 31 in Atherton, California, at age 99. A funeral Mass will be offered June 3 in Atherton.

Sister Yasuko was born in Monterey, California, to Japanese immigrants.

She graduated from San Francisco City College in 1941 and worked as a bookkeeper for a Japan-U.S. brokerage firm. But after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she and other family members were interned in camps for Japanese nationals and their children, her religious community said in a written tribute.

In 1942, through friends and priests in San Francisco, she became a student at the former Duchesne College of the Sacred Heart in Omaha. Getting to know the school’s Religious of the Sacred Heart confirmed her growing attraction to religious life.

She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1943 in Albany, New York, making her first vows in 1946 and her final profession in 1951.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in history at the former Barat College of the Sacred Heart in 1950 and a master’s degree in education from Stanford University in 1951.

Following her service at Duchesne, Sister Yasuko volunteered as a social worker at the Japanese American Service Committee in Chicago and as a speech therapist with Japanese special needs children.

She also taught in Chicago and Lake Forest, Illinois; El Cajon, California; Tokyo and Sapporo, Japan; and in the Diocese of Cebu City in the Philippines. 

Upon returning to the U.S., she was a pastoral minister in Albany and later worked through a San Francisco agency visiting nursing home residents. Sister Yasuko retired in 2004 at age 83.

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