St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
Clara Riu Judine Matsukuma Miyazaki, 93, a long-time parishioner of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Holladay, passed away peacefully of natural causes, on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Sept. 15, 2020, in the Midvale/Sandy area.
Clara was born April 28, 1927, at a private residence in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the former Japanese Town area of downtown SLC. She was the youngest daughter of Dr. Hisao Matsukuma, a surgeon and former diplomat, and Mitsuko Kuranaga Matsukuma, both descendants of the Japanese Imperial House. Shortly before WWII, her family returned to Japan. During the US occupation, Clara, who was both a Japanese and a US citizen, worked for the U.S. Air Force, as a civilian employee, until she was repatriated to the U.S. when Gen. McArthur mandated the surrender of one of the citizenships of Japanese Americans who held dual citizenship. Her older brother and sister chose to retain their Japanese citizenships. Clara and her younger brother were repatriated to the U.S. when they surrendered their Japanese citizenship. Clara married Kiyoshi Miyazaki, Aug. 11, 1949. They had 5 children. Clara and Kiyoshi owned and operated the New Boston Hotel, Pleasant Cleaners, SLC, and the Holiday Motel, So. SLC. They lived in Utah early in their marriage, and then moved to New York City, when Kiyoshi was offered a job opportunity to manage and operate a chauffeur and limousine service. They remained in NYC until 1960, when her in-laws, wanting to retire, asked them to return to take over their hotel and dry cleaners. Though they raised their children Roman Catholic, Clara did not become Catholic until the 1980s, after her spouse was murdered, in 1982, at their motel; but, she and her husband were supporters of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, Long Island, NY, then the Diocese of SLC, and the Cathedral of the Madeleine Parish until 1968, when they moved to St Ann Parish, SLC. After long-time friend, Msgr. Wm. H. McDougall baptized Clara, she became an active parishioner, first at the Cathedral of the the Madeleine, then at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, until her health prohibited attending Mass a few years ago. For many years, she was active member of several parish prayer groups, attended daily Mass, was an active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Birthday Club, the Vincentinos, and the Golden Club senior groups. She prayed the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, daily, for several decades. She also became a certified Eucharistic Minster to the Homebound in the first classes offered by the diocese. In the late 80s, after a visit from Fr. Ralph DiOrio, and during one of his healing sessions, Clara received the gift of healing. Clara also traveled on pilgrimage to Medjugore, Yugoslavia, twice, once prior to receiving the gift, and once, after. Clara was privileged to witness many miracles there, including viewing the apparition of Blessed Mother, the Miracle of the Sun, and the transformation of her rosary chain from silver-toned to gold. During the next few years, her gift became more pronounced, and she began a healing ministry that took her around the world. In addition to conducting healing services in her home state of Utah, Clara traveled to many states in the U.S. to conduct healing services, including California, Nevada, Alaska, New York, etc., where she was the first to be invited to conduct services for several consecutive days at Our Lady of the Island Shrine, Long Island, NY, after so many people were healed. and Washington State, where she became friends with many of the Jesuits of Gonzaga University, Spokane, after many of the elderly priests were healed. She also became friends with Fr. Armand Nigro, SJ, a noted speaker and retreat facilitator, and former instructor at Gonzaga. Fr. Nigro became her spiritual director and they remained close friends until his death, in 2019. In tandem with Fr. Nigro, who had been asked to conduct a spiritual retreat for Mother Theresa's Daughters of Charity, Clara was invited to conduct healing services for the sisters, many of whom suffered from multiple health issues. After one of the sisters received a dramatic and total healing from late-stage Breast Cancer, through Clara's intercessions, Mother Theresa became a supporter of Clara's healing ministry, and invited her to return to Calcutta several more times to pray for the sisters. However, Mother Theresa passed away a few years later, and Clara was not able to return. In appreciation for her successful intercessions for healing, Clara was invited by the sisters to attend the beatification ceremonies for Mother Theresa, in Rome, and Clara happily attended the event with the sisters. It was one of the highlights of her life. Clara traveled to numerous other countries to conduct healing services, from Venezuela, to Japan and Korea. Many were converted after being healed. She traveled around the world twice and made many friends through those visits. For the last 9+ years, she lived with her daughter, Pauline “Tomi” Miyazaki Austin, a long-time parishioner and lay minister at St. Ann Parish and Blessed Sacrament Parish, and moved to the Sandy/Midvale area with her 5.5 yrs ago. Clara was cared for by her daughter on home hospice for approximately the last 2 years, and for 1.5 years, several years prior, due to multiple health issues. Many thanks to the CNAs, RNs, and Alan Lowe, the Social Worker, from Bristol (formerly Brighton) Home Health and Hospice, who helped provide such loving and gentle care to Clara for the last nearly 2 years, particularly CNAs “Sara” Graciela Zavaleta, and April Tameriz, who treated Clara as they would family. Sara was particularly uncompromising in providing such excellent care of Clara, and made her last years comfortable.
Many thanks to all who supported mom in her healing ministry, and welcomed her in their homes, especially those on the West and East Coasts, particularly Frank and Danny Barker. We most appreciate Danny Barker and the kindness and love he showed mom, who regarded him as her 4th son. He always remembered her on her birthday and Mother's Day, and called her periodically to brighten her day.
Clara loved her family, particularly her grandchildren, who not only made her proud, but their visit on her birthday so bolstered her spirits, that her health rebounded last year, at a time when she was not expected to survive.
Clara is preceded in death by her husband, Kiyoshi, her youngest son, Keith, her father, Dr. Hisao Matsukuma, mother, Mitsuko Matsukuma, brother, Bill Hisamichi Matsukuma, sister, Midori Yukiko Tashiro, brother Richard Hisahide Matsukuma. Daughter-in-law, Debbie Miyazaki
She is survived by her children: Arline Saiki (Shinzo), Arthur Miyazaki Sr. (Jolene), Pauline “Tomi” Austin, Albert Miyazaki, daughter-in-law Yumi Miyazaki Summers; grandchildren: Brandon Kiyoshi Austin, Monique Miyazaki, Tamie Saiki Calhoun (Mike), Arthur “A.J.” Miyazaki Jr. (Ashley), Dr. Julie Saiki (Johan Andreasson), Ryan Miyazaki, Ashley Miyazaki, Zachary Miyazaki; great-grandchildren: Kira Johnson, Meadow and Callie Sainsbury, Cooper, Emma, and Annie Austin, Lily Miyazaki. Legend Miyazaki, Gabriel, Naomi, and Alexander Andreasson, Hana, Maiya, and Asher Calhoun; and many many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and cousins in the U.S., Japan, and Hong Kong.
Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated on Friday, October 9th at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 1375 East Spring Lane at 11:15 a.m. Viewing will be held from 10 a.m-11 a.m.; rosary: 11-11:15 a.m.. She will be laid to rest with her husband in a private ceremony at Salt Lake City Cemetery.
A live-stream of the services will be available for those who cannot attend by returning to this page just before services and clicking the red "Watch Service Live" button that appears.
Though flowers would be very much appreciated, in lieu of flowers, the family will appreciate ay honoraria that will be used in observance in Japanese custom of Okoden, and to make a donation in Clara's name.