There is no End to Charity

Bangalore – “Until there are no longer poor and neglected to be assisted there is no end to our charity,” this is an inspiring quote from our Founder that motivates every Guanellian. The Cooperators and Lay members in Bangalore are working towards experiencing the true Guanellian spirit. Following their mission experience in Nazareth Illam, they spent a day at Don Guanella Aged home which cares for abandoned elderly men. The day was spent with the Grandpa’s grooming them, chatting with them, feeding them and cleaning their worship space. It is absolutely true that you can only understand the feelings of others when you spend time with them. As a regular practice we gather for an hour of Adoration on the last Sunday of every month, helping to spiritually nourish the Grandpa’s. Most Saturdays the members volunteer to do service. These Good Samaritan acts by the Cooperators and Lay members’ draws the attention of their family and friends who are awestruck by the service and in turn wins many good hearts that come forward to support the mission.

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Journey on the Mountain

Thalavadi – The point of Lent is to have a reoriented life towards God. This reorientation is more powerful when it is done with desert and wilderness. This is what the community experienced in the Lenten journey. The Nazareth Illam community joined the Lenten spiritual journey that was arranged by one of the parishes in the Thalavadi vicariate. Fr. Lawrence, Fr. Gabriel, Bro. Arun, Bro. Arul Claret OMI, staff and residents participated in the journey with full devotion. They climbed the mountain top which is about a 5 km journey, by reciting the rosary and praying the Way of the Cross. Other faithful from different parishes also took part in this Lenten journey. All classes of people prayed piously and walked through the jungle, thorn and bushes, showing a thirst for God and the unity of people. After climbing to the top of the hill, the gathering celebrated the sacrament of reconciliation and continued the Holy Eucharistic celebration that was a beautiful experience of God’s mercy and His presence. Afterwards the village people provided lunch to all the faithful. This Lenten journey helped them to experience the re-LENT-less love of God.

Mission Experience of Novices

Bangalore – The six novices and Fr. Kennedy from Guanella Preethi Nivas Novitiate went for a one-week mission experience with mentally ill patients at “Nazareth Illam” in Thalavadi. This challenging mission is aided by the Government. Right now there are 63 people, the neglected and unwanted of society are brought from the roads, streets, bus stops by social workers and government officials to stay there. The Guanellian priests are rehabilitating them with immense love, medication and care free of charge. They organize various programs, games, therapy and other activities for their benefit. In fact, this mission has brought popular identity of our institute in the district. The novices were given an orientation and training session about the home, its service and the patients paving the way for a fruitful time of service. The novices participated in manual work, gardening, games, prayers, entertainment, fire dance, cooking, feeding, and exercise. They also assisted with personal care, giving haircuts, shaving them and making their beds. Most importantly, the novices listened to their stories, problems, and their family backgrounds. This attentive, empathetic listening enriched both. Novices were touched by the miracle of love happening there: the patients get healed in part by the family atmosphere. Once they are stabilized and rehabilitated, they are examined by a psychiatrist and many are reunited with their families. It is really a hall mark of our noble service to humanity in Tamilnadu. After the mission experience the novices returned to GPN with immense satisfaction and valuable learning.

Visit of the Counselors

Thalavadi – The Nazareth Illam community arranged a daylong workshop for our staff to improve their service level toward our residents. Five psychological counselors from Dindigul under the head of Fr. David, Sdc organized the workshop. They helped our staff learn better approaches toward our residents, and taught ways to help cure them of their mental illness. Our staff interacted with the counselors and cleared many of their doubts. The counselors also provided books and videos for the staff to equip their knowledge in this field. The community fathers felt very happy for the effort of Fr. David, Sdc and his companions for their benevolent help to the mission.

Visit to Science Exhibition

Thalavadi – Human beings are social animals who depend on other human beings for survival and development. There are many fields where we depend on another man’s skill in which science is one of the prominent factors. To give an introduction into this world of science, the residents of Nazareth Illam, the community staff accompanied them on a one-day visit to the science exhibition that was held at a nearby school. The residents were very happy to explore the exhibit and interact with the students. The residents appreciated their talents and gained a wider knowledge and interest in the field of science. This outing helped our residents to recall and refresh their ideas and to trigger their thinking capacity.

Celebrating the Day of a Saint

Thalavadi – October naturally tends every heart and mind of Guanellians to think of the Founder. The Nazareth Illam community arranged a Triduum as an intensive preparation to venerate and ponder over the heroic life of St. Guanella. On the feast day, the community invited their benefactors and the local religious and diocesan priests to celebrate the saintly founder. Fr. Louis, Guruji of Anjali Ashramam presided over the holy Mass. A meal was provided to all the guests and residents following Mass. The residents were so happy to celebrate with everyone.

Mission Exposure Month

Thalavadi – October was the month of mission exposure for the Guanellian seminarians from Cuddalore, Andhra and Mysore. The Nazareth Illam community was delighted to have them and helped them to experience their style of Guanellian mission. The minor seminarians rotated through the tasks of the mission houses. They helped our residents in accompanying them to attend the Bible convention and to Bannari Amman temple on the day of Ayudha Pooja. Though the days for mission experience were short, the experience they gained was a concrete platform to live the Guanellian mission in their future.

Shower of Blessings

Thalavadi – August ended with showers of blessings for the Nazareth Illam community. Fr. Soosai visited to study the community project. He met confreres and the residents on the first day of his visit. The second day, there was a campus blessing following Holy mass. Accompanied by our residents, staff and confreres, he began the blessing ceremony beginning at the entrance and ended in the chapel. The necessity of blessing the campus was to remove any negative energy over the house and to bring forth God’s blessings to Nazareth Illam. Our residents actively and piously participated by singing devotional songs. Fr. Soosai was very happy that God made use of him to bring His blessings during his visit. The community also was very happy indeed because with the blessings of God the month ended and with a new spirit would enter the new month, the month of Mother Mary

Triple Salute

Thalavadi – August 15th is an important and unforgettable day for all Indians and was very special this year at Nazareth Illam with three reasons to celebrate. The first salutation was for India and the freedom fighters as we celebrated the 70th Independence Day with various colorful cultural events. A parade was conducted and the chief guest was Mr. Shiva Shankar, the vice-principal of Don Bosco School. He was awestruck by and congratulated our patients for their talents and discipline. In the afternoon, the community saluted Fr. Gabriel on the first anniversary of his ordination and Bro. Deva on his birthday. Our patients enthusiastically participated in the cultural events, making the day joyful and colorful. The celebrations ended with cake and vadai. The events of the day helped everyone ponder the sacrifice of noble dignitaries of our nation, our church and our congregation.

Pilgrims of Nazareth Illam

Thalavadi – The patients began this month with God’s favor and blessings by going on a pilgrimage. In the Tamil calendar, July is known as the month of Aadi, a special month for the Hindus in Tamil Nadu. They celebrate an event called ‘Aadi Peruku’ during this month. Respecting and recognizing the religiosity of the patients, the Nazareth Illam community arranged a pilgrimage to the Bannari Amman temple where the patients worshiped their goddess with deep devotion in their own style. The other devotees, who had come to worship the goddess, were astonished on seeing the faith and devotion of the patients. The pilgrimage was a time of letting go as well as a time of spiritual inheritance for the patients. It was also the first time in this academic year that they were taken off campus. The pilgrimage ended with cake provided by the community. The pilgrimage helped everyone to relax and realize that we are all earthly pilgrims to reach the ever-living God.