Special Visiting Hours – World Meeting of Families & Papal Visit
Shofuso will be open Monday, September 21 through Wednesday, September 23, 10 am to 4 pm.
Shofuso will be closed Thursday, September 24 through Tuesday, September 29.
Regular visitation will resume on Wednesday, September 30.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony: Tea for All Nations
Exhibition in Memory of Brother Joseph Keenan, Ph.D., FSC
September 10-27 with regular admission
“Let me say to you that whatever nation and culture you come from, and whatever traditions you embrace, I hope that your journey in life will be filled with joy. But no matter how or where you follow your path, don’t forget to take the tea!” – Brother Keenan, 1990
Japanese tea ceremony has been part of Philadelphia’s culture since the 1876 Centennial Exposition. In modern times, Shofuso is the home of the Urasenke Philadelphia tea school, which conducts lessons and public tea demonstrations, and was founded by the late Brother Joseph Keenan (1932-1999), a member of the Christian Brothers Catholic teaching order and a professor at La Salle University.
Brother Keenan first became interested in chanoyu, or Japanese tea ceremony, while attending a series of lectures and demonstrations at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. With his background in liturgy, he immediately saw parallels between Japanese tea ceremony and the Eucharist of the Catholic mass. He began to research the connections between the two rituals, which led him to starting taking lessons in chanoyu.
Brother Keenan’s passion led him to offer classes in chanoyu at La Salle and oversee the renovation of one of the campus’ outbuildings into a tea ceremony house, completed in 1987.
We honor Brother Keenan’s commitment to Japanese tea ceremony in this first-ever exhibit adapted from his famed talk, Tea for All Nations, delivered in Kyoto, Japan, October, 1990.
Chado at Shofuso
When Brother Keenan died in 1999, two remaining teachers, Taeko Shervin and Mariko LaFleur, kept the tea house open with the help of the students and the support of the faculty at La Salle University. In 2007, however, the university ended the tea program, and so the chado group went in search of a new home.
Shofuso had been home to a wide variety of Japanese cultural activities throughout the years, including tea ceremony demonstrations, and the chado group began conducting weekly lessons here. In 2013, the chado group became a formal chapter of the international tea community.
Chado Urasenke Tankokai Philadelphia Association – Urasenke Philadelphia for short – is a chapter association (kyokai) of the Urasenke school of chado headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. As an educational nonprofit organization, they are dedicated to supporting the tea ceremony community in the greater Philadelphia area. Their members offer lessons, demonstrations, and gatherings with the hope of helping others experience the way of tea, a wonderful legacy of the vision of Brother Keenan.
About the Japanese House
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is a traditional-style Japanese house and nationally-ranked garden in West Fairmount Park that reflects the history of Japanese culture in Philadelphia, from the 1876 Centennial Exposition to the installation of its contemporary Hiroshi Senju paintings in 2007. Shofuso hosts over 30,000 visitors each year from more than 20 different countries. 10% of our visitors are school groups.