Thalavadi – A group of students from St. John De Britto School, Sathy, brought the Christmas message to our residence on a recent visit. Around 80 students of 6th-10th standard prepared a cultural program to bring the Christmas message alive for our residents. They enjoyed the dancing and singing, helping them to forget the worries, anxiety and trauma of their daily lives. It was also a good chance for the young students to learn the life situation of the patients and gain knowledge of their lives. This visit made an impact on them and inspired St. Joseph’s Matriculation School, Sathy, to also come for a visit, providing much needed rations and basic necessities for the residents. They are now able to give witness to the ministry.
Recognition for 10 Successful Years
Thalavadi – For World Special People’s Day all the institutions from the Erode District, including Nazareth Illam, were invited to attend the program organized by DDRWO of Erode. Mr. Prabhakaran, collector, and MLA’s of east and west constitution of Erode district were the guests for the day. In the cultural events many differently-abled people showcased their talents, one of our residents performed a beautiful dance on stage. It was a joyful moment for Nazareth Illam and the Congregation to receive the best institution award with a certificate and a trophy from Mr. Prabhakaran. Fr. Ligory, Community Superior, was awarded for rendering best service for the people. It is apparent that everyone appreciated our institution and our service.
Visit of Local Officials
Thalavadi – We are indeed happy to say that our ministry in Nazareth Illam is edifying many government officials of the Erode District especially Mr. Prabhakaran, Erode Collector. They have a good consensus of our mission. On November 27th Mr. Eshwaran, MLA of Bhavani Sagar and General Secretary of KMDK visited our home. All the residents cordially welcomed him at the entrance gate with a shawl and flower bouquet. He thanked them and also took time to chat with them. We, as a community, officially wrote a letter requesting a stipend every month and for a wall for our campus, since there are no safety measures. He promised that he’ll do his best to meet the needs of our mission. Mr. Kumar, DDRWO, also visited with his team. They met with the residents and enquired about the mission. The residents were so happy to welcome them and perform dancing and singing. The officials were so pleased to see our approach with the patients. Mr. Kumar then went through all the records, signing them with high remarks.
Visit of Justice Selvam
Thalavadi – Nazareth Illam inspires people to come forward and show their love toward the needy. People from Sathy, Erode and other districts all the way come climbing the mountain to visit our home. Justice Selvam, Division Court Judge Sathy, and some of the lawyers visited our home. He and his team met the residents and spoke to them. The residents welcomed them with joy and danced and sang for them. The whole team was glad to see firsthand the mission and the work we do. Justice Selvam in his talk said, “If you take medicine without fail and eat well, you’ll be cured. Listen to the priests and obey the staff.” After a while they served snacks to all the residents, who enjoyed the snacks and thanked the officials.
Thalavadi – “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” The psychiatrists made their monthly visit to examine our patients from General Hospital, Erode district, on June 23rd. The Counselors examined the patients and prescribed the medicines according to their growth and development. For some of the patients medicines were extended for a few more months and for some of the patients additional medicines were prescribed. Above all, the doctors recommended that a few patients would go home because of significant progress in rehabilitating them to a normal life. The doctors appreciated our mission and the way we look after our inmates in the spirit of our Founder.
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.
Thalavadi – Lent is a time when everyone makes an effort to grow in spirituality. This year, the Guanellian Lay Movement (GLM) and Guanellian Cooperators (GC) from Bangalore went on a mission experience to Thalavadi to serve intellectually and developmentally disabled patients (I/DD). It was a two day program aimed at Good Samaritan work. On the first day, the members received an orientation from Fr. Lawrence, the Director of the mission house. The members were amazed to learn how our Fathers, Brothers and helpers can take this mission forward with great compassion. We also learned that some patients were transformed and returned home. Several homes catering to these patients chain them and at times treat them harshly. This was not the case here. Fr. Lawrence and Fr. Ligori told us we only give them love and dignity, and it is God who leads us all in what we do. This was a wonderful lesson learned as a Guanellian. We organized ourselves to get closer to these patients and share their stories. The members actively participated in the residents’ physical activity and we entertained them in the evening with music and dance. The following day the members cooked two sumptuous meals. The Community accommodated us with great care and we appreciate their hospitality.
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.
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.