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
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.
Home for the Unloved
Thalavadi – The Nazareth Illam community was filled with joy and happiness as a new home was opened for the mentally ill. On June 3rd Most Rev. A. Amal Raj D.D, Bishop of Ooty; and Rev. Fr. Soosai, Provincial Superior, officially blessed and opened the structure. The stone was unveiled by Mrs. Abbate Guliana, Vice President of ASCI. The local priests, religious and faithful were also present for the ceremony and Holy Mass. It was a generous gesture of the ASCI who gave a helping hand to build this beautiful home; a true example of living the Year of Mercy and the corporal work of mercy: Shelter the Homeless. Mary and Joseph struggled to find a proper place for the birth of the Child Jesus, but by the grace of the Holy Family, Nazareth Illam now has a place for the ‘little Jesus’ from the area. On behalf of the Province, the members of Nazareth Illam whole heartedly thank ASCI and all the good hearted people who “Make Charity the Heart of the World!”
The New ‘Family of Nazareth’
Thalavadi – There are many things happening at Nazareth Illam and with the construction of the new house, an innovation has taken place in the members of the community. June 10th was the joyful day in which the house of love and holiness welcomed Fr. Lawrence, the new administrator and director of Nazareth Illam. The house also was happy with the presence of Fr. Kulandai and Fr. Arputha Raj, the special guests. In the presence of Fr. Kulandai, the Provincial representative, Fr. Benson, former administrator, and Fr. Ligory, former director, passed their responsibilities to Fr. Lawrence. The community also received with joy Fr. Achariyam as a collaborator on June 23rd. Thus the new ‘family of Nazareth’ has begun its journey on the path of holiness.
Foundation Stone Laid
Thalavadi – The Servants of Charity have wanted to provide proper accommodations for their patients, and their dream came true at Nazareth Illam on October 17th. The campus was decorated with the DDAWO who served in the Erode district until October 15th, as well as the neighboring youth, the staff, the confreres and the patients. Fr. Soosai Rathinam and Fr. Visuwasam started the ceremony with a solemn prayer. Fr. Soosai blessed the foundation stone and it was put in place for the new building meant for the male mentally ill patients. He narrated the importance of the service and the need of the new structure, and thanked all the benefactors who contributed for this new building. Mr. Kanagaraj DDAWO addressed the gathering; stating that the congregation met the challenge at the recommendation of the then District Collector. He stated that this is the only institution doing the service of rehabilitating the mentally ill. After the ceremony food was distributed to the patients. May God bless this new endeavor. May the charity of St. Guanella reach around the whole world.
A Day of Joy
Thalavadi – All the residents of Nazareth Illam were anxiously awaiting the celebration of life on August 15th. They all awoke enthusiastically to begin the day of Independence. After breakfast the assembly was led by Bro. Pravin to ceremonially hoist the National flag. Eventually sports and games events were organized by Fr. Kannikkairaj and Bro. Pravin. It was a great occasion for everyone to display their talents in a simple way. Awards were given before lunch. The residents were than prepared in their Sunday best to go to St. Clare Monastery to pray and meditate. With singing and dancing the residents boarded a school bus for their journey to Panahahalli. The sisters of the monastery received them joyfully and led a simple prayer thanking Our Lady of the Assumption for their health and the gift of life. They were like the holy family on pilgrimage to the great City of God, Jerusalem. After snack everyone went to a nearby school for an expo of their talents. The day ended with great joy and requests for more outings to relieve their stress.
A Birthday Mission
Thalavadi – The families of Mr. Anand and Mr. Felix arrived on the pleasant morning of July 8th to enjoy the day with the mentally ill patients at Nazareth Illam, Guanella Nagar. The purpose of their visit was to give and share love that they bear from God in honor of Mr. Felix’s 50th birthday. The two families enjoyed preparing a special menu for the occasion. They also decorated the venue for the celebration. A grand and sumptuous lunch was shared with the patients and immediately they thanked God for the gift of life by celebrating Holy Mass with the community. During Holy Mass Mr. Felix thanked God for his 50 years and expressed how God blessed him throughout his life span. After lunch and Mass with the community, they spent time with the patients where they enjoyed the different talents expressed by the patients. They expressed that “it is in giving not in receiving” one finds great joy. The community is grateful for their friendship and love.
GLM Serving the Least
Cuddalore -Inspired by Mr. Christopher, a retired professor, a member of the GLM, and a sponsor of a visit to Nazareth Illam, and through the motivation of Rev. Fr. Visuvasam, the Superior of the Cuddalore Community, GLM members visited Thalavadi. The group, consisting of 6 men and 6 women, were very impressed and inspired by the service of the Guanellian priests toward the 53 mentally ill patients; serving them with care, concern and dedication. The visitors spent a night and a full day with them serving them and doing some cleaning in and around the campus; they also contributed 10,000 Rupees, 20 kg tamarind and 40 kg dhal. The patients performed dances and sang songs to entertain us. The time that was spent with them gave the GLM a soulful satisfaction which will be retained throughout their lifetime. Therefore some hope to return to Nazareth Illam and spend a week or even a month serving the patients. Continual financial, material and physical support was assured. It is a place that should be visited and supported by everyone encouraging the development of the Home.
Bangalore – A dozen GYM boys from Guanella Preethi Nivas and their coordinator, Fr. Adaikalam, went on a 4-day mission exposure to Thalavadi. The Guanellians minister to mentally ill patients at a mission house called “Nazareth Illam” aided by the Government. The sixty patients were brought from three different districts of Tamil Nadu. They were brought from the streets, were unattended, violent and pathetic. When the boys learned of these conditions they desired to go and offer what little service they were able. The Novices were notified of the boys’ abilities. Upon arrival, the boys with their dynamic nature began interacting with the inmates who in turn opened up to them. The boys performed dramas, dances and inspired the inmates to sing and dance. The boys served them, cleaned them and played with them. It was a fun, joyful and satisfying experience. To refresh after the mission, the boys stopped at Ooty for a picnic and to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in the mountains and valleys. They were four unforgettable days; a time of service, fellowship, learning, admiration and fun.