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.
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.
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.
Bangalore – The first service project of the Guanellian Lay Movement was a visit to the Rehabilitation Center at Thalavadi on September 21st. The purpose was to understand the mission of other centers and contribute in whatever way possible. The GLM collected goods; clothes, money, food, and toiletries, carrying all they could. Fr. Liguori welcomed them on arrival; it was lunchtime and the beneficiaries were introduced. The GLM were amazed by the abilities of these people; walking in unison, helping those in need. It was hard for the GLM to tell if they made any difference to the people there because of their mental illness. Some were happy to see new faces, some not sure how to react and many were totally lost. The GLM were moved and able to understand the struggle of each individual there. But sadness turned to joy as the mentally ill entertained them with some music.
Chennai – After Theology courses were complete, the students of Don Guanella Major Seminary jumped into the camps to prepare themselves for perpetual preparation. They are experiencing different communities through various ways. They spent several days during October in the Thalavadi Community. The regular programs were arranged by Fr. Ligory in order to enjoy their stay with the special children. Basic orientation was given to help them attend to the needs of the poor while understanding the pastoral necessities of the community.
In November, they arrived in Yesuvanam; experiencing a warm welcome and orientation by Fr. Gnanaraj. Fr. Praveen organized a short seminar on ‘The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.’ There was also a talk on ‘Administrative Skills in the Ministry’ by a Salesian priest. A valuable talk, ‘Challenges in Religious Life,’ was given by a Servite priest. The Students share experiences and spend precious time with the ‘good children’ of Anbagam every day. Fr. Gustavo De Bonis joined the group to present ‘Guanellian Spirituality and Charism’
Thalavadi – Throughout July, the residents of Nazareth Illam undertook a great task; eradicating Parthinium and other unhealthy plants in and around the campus. Parthinium can cause many health problems: wheezing, cancer, skin allergies, sinus, etc. With the help of the mentally ill residents, the plants were removed, the environment improved, and the awareness of the neighbors was heightened. This activity is a great benefit to the entire community. Please continue to support them with your prayers.