Cuddalore – St. Joseph’s Seminary held a scholastic fraternal gathering on January 25th. The event was organized under the topic “Mercy and Compassion” by Fr. Vincent, SdC. Pondy- Cuddalore Minor Seminarians, SultanPet diocesan minor seminarians and St. Joseph’s Seminary students participated in the event. The spiritual session nurtured the hearts of the young chaps to march forward in their call. The sacrament of reconciliation was available to help the seminarians to become pure and holy. After the tea break, there was a friendly volleyball match. Therefore, this gathering boosted the seminarians both spiritually as well as physically.
‘In every human person there is the imprint of God’- Pope Francis. The statement reminds us that each of us is created in God’s image and likeness. Our province has given birth to new houses for the good children in the United States and in India, on June 12th a formal dedication of ST. LOUIS GUANELLA VILLAGE along with the grand opening of four new CHILDREN’S HOMES for children with Intellectual and developmental disabilities and on June 29th, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, DON GUANELLA RESIDENTIAL HOME for the orphaned special children respectively. These are the outcomes of the untiring efforts of our confreres along with the Staff, Parents, GLM, Benefactors and well-wishers. It is realized after 58 & 20 years of our ministry presence in USA and Chennai as per the sayings of our Founder St. Luigi Guanella, ‘A new house develops little by little according to the ways of Divine Providence.’ It is also a miracle of Providence. Fr. Luigi invites us not to put our trust in economic security or fixed revenues or human protection but in prayer, work, sacrifice and poverty. He not only expressed this by his words but by deeds of trusting in God and soliciting help from the people.
Every human person is born with a heart of compassion which reacts in accordance with the feelings of fellow humans. Compassion, love, affection and care are the innate qualities which make us human. It is these qualities that define the human person. All world religions ecumenically share and support this concept of treating others with courtesy and kindness. The best example of humaneness is the parable of “The Good Samaritan” in which a lowly Samaritan assisted a helpless man who had been waylaid and injured.
Therefore my humble reminder to all those associated with the Guanellian Mission in our province as we remember the foundation day of our ministry on July 3rd to inculcate a heart of compassion, love, affection and care to the differently-abled people who need love and compassion. Pope Francis rightly said in one of his audiences when he directly met the sick and the differently-abled people: “God has a special place in His Heart for differently-abled people.” Dalai Lama said: “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries… without them humanity cannot survive.” So let’s always strive to be persons filled with compassion and love for humanity without any distinctions. Having the imprints of God in us, let’s see God’s imprint in our fellow humans.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam, SdC
Manila – “Guanella Home‘s Little Angel,” “Alli Baby,” “Alli Baba”: these are just a few of the terms of affection used by those who know Allizer Agulto. Allizer is a 13-year-old child who came to Guanella Home 6 years ago. Although Alli is unable to speak, partially blind, must be spoon fed oatmeal three times a day for meals, will never be potty trained, and relies on staff to provide for all his physical and material needs, since he arrived he has won the hearts of all who meet him. Alli is by far Guanella Home‘s most dependent child. He has multiple disabilities: he has been or is currently undergoing treatment for: hydrocephalus, bacterial meningitis, seizure disorder, dysphagia, scoliosis and clubfoot. He is also partially blind and paralyzed, and he is developmentally disabled. He is one of the most poignant examples of why Guanella Home exists. Our Founder, St. Luigi Guanella (1842-1915), exhorted all Servants of Charity to see and to serve Christ in those persons who are most abandoned—and considered useless—by modern secular society. The world looks upon persons like Alli and sees someone who cannot contribute to the material growth of society, they look at him as a consumer—not a contributor. However, we look upon Alli and see Christ. We know that the world is a better place—a more holy place because Alli is here. Alli is a child of God; created in His image and likeness, and because of his condition he more closely resembles Our Lord on the Cross. As a result of Alli‘s life being shared with us, there is an increase of the inestimable gifts of love, understanding, compassion, and patience in the world—ushering forth the Kingdom of God. Alli gives to the world—and to us—much more than he receives and without Alli, the world would certainly be much more impoverished. When Alli first arrived, he was cute and chubby. His disposition (which has not changed) was pleasant. He would often smile and laugh—and rarely cry. He would amuse himself by looking at his hand from different perspectives. At that time his scoliosis was not pronounced or even noticeable to most people. He was not having seizures and he very much enjoyed the sound of bell ringing. Understandably, some of the staff and religious were a bit trepidatious and concerned about how to take care of such a precious and fragile treasure as Alli. Even though meeting his needs (such as feeding) was difficult in the beginning, the professionalism, expert care giving, and great love of our staff and religious overcame those initial challenges—even feeding him in just fifteen minutes. What is even more amazing is that our other residents—even those who are very rough and maculit towards others—are as gentle as kittens towards Alli, and quite attentive to his needs. This phenomenon was not taught to them, but is something led out from them by Alli‘s presence. Sadly, as time has passed, Alli‘s physical condition has deteriorated: Almost as if overnight, the scoliosis has twisted and distorted his spine so much that his body looks like an ‘S.’ His muscles have become tense and more rigid, making it more difficult to feed him. What used to take fifteen minutes now takes about an hour. His seizures have become much more severe—in fact, while hearing the bells ringing used to give him great pleasure, now the same sound will give him a seizure. As a result of his increased physical needs, his medical needs (such as maintenance medicines and medical checkups) have also increased; but so have our love, care, understanding and compassion for him. (Bro. Bob Neimeyer)