The Book of Soden

Australia : Part 2 


Bro.Aloysius Soden Marianist Religious , Dayton, Ohio

Lt. Aloysius Soden, USNR, Chaplain & Japanese Translator at Truk in the Pacific1945  on the USS Missourri



One remarkable story of great pride to the Soden name are the life and achievements of Br. Aloysius Soden (1907 – 1966) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Aloysius was born on 4th July, 1907 into a large Catholic family. He had one brother and four sisters. His brother , Martin, became a priest in Spokane Washington and three of his sisters became nuns with different religious orders.


His education

Education was an important element in his life. He attended Philadelphia Catholic High School transferring to the Marianist College in Beacon, New York. He would enter the Marianist Religious Order in Dayton, Ohio. He entered the University of Dayton studying Oriental languages and would later go onto manage their school , St. Joseph’s in Yokohama Japan.


World War 2

At the outbreak of war he was interned in Yokohama and repatriated in 1942. From 1942 – 46 he worked as a US Navy officer as a chaplain and translator on the USS Missouri and the USS Portland. He was present at the Japanese surrender of the Mandated Islands on 2nd September, 1945. He stayed with the US Navy in Tokyo till March, 1946 when he took over control of the Marianist College of St. Joseph’s , Yokohama till 1953. After spending some two years in Dayton, he happily returned to Japan to finish his work. However his health greatly deteriorated over the next few years and after returning to Dayton for medical treatment , he died on 2nd January, 1966. He was 59 years of age. He is buried in Beacon, New York. 


The photograph shows Lt. Aloysius Soden (far right standing) at the signing of the Japanese Surrender aboard the USS Portland at Truk in the Pacific, on 2nd September, 1945 at which event he was the translator. 


Br. Aloysius Soden saw a great opportunity to win the souls of the Japanese through the similarities between Buddhism and Christianity. His pupils had the utmost regard for him, a number became teachers at St. Joseph’s and a number proceeded after his death to establish an educational foundation in his name.


Sources:

Biography of Br. Aloysius Soden, Marianist Order, Dayton, Ohio, USA

Letter of Bro. Aloysius Soden 8th December, 1966

'Mary: A Point of Contact with Japanese Buddhism', article by Br. Aloysius Soden, New York, Fall Number 1966, 'World Magazine'.

Catholic Telegraph , January 14, 1966

Catholic Telegraph, January 6, 1967

Dayton Daily News, Friday, 30/12/1966