Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 6, 2017 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

 

Three great women… and an old guy!

As I begin to reflect on my six months in India, I am pondering the things that amazed me, perplexed me and occasionally frustrated me. And make no mistake, India can frustrate you to the point of screaming. You need to have your wits about you at all times and keep your “ patience meter” well calibrated.

I don’t think you need to hear any more about demonetization, pollution ( garbage, environmental and noise ), traffic chaos, frequent power outages and unpredictable internet service.

The plusses have far outweighed the minuses.

I expect that somewhere along the way when I get back home, someone is bound to ask me what surprised me most. This is a pretty easy one to answer.

Religion.

I had no idea of the scope, intensity and fervor that religion plays in this country of 1.2 billion people. You simply can’t escape it. Every village, town and city is dotted with churches, temples and mosques. And I think it is fair to say that religion is very much an “ in your face” thing. It is hard to ignore when  religious groups place massive speakers inside and outside their premises with the volume cranked to 10 ALL THE TIME. It’s like there’s some kind of competition to see who can attract the most attention. And in many places, the entire community is hard wired with speakers linked to the church/temple/mosque so that everywhere you go , you can catch a service just as if you were there.

Religion simply dominates the landscape. For a guy from a small town, it seems a bit over the top.

And then there are the quiet foot soldiers who live their religion through quiet action, particularly their work with the poor, marginalized, mentally ill, the sick and the elderly. And I’m not just talking about people in religious orders.

Like our own Sisters of St. Martha and the Congregation of Notre Dame back in Antigonish, the Daughters of Mary do their profession proud with deeds and not words. If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that they work with all of the groups mentioned above. I don’t want to single out one thing they do that’s more important than the other, but their work with the mentally ill, is particularly impressive and noteworthy.

Mental illness is universal and many of us know someone who has suffered or is presently suffering from poor mental health. It is one thing to have access to top notch health care but for many people in other countries, getting quality mental health care is a bit of a crap shoot.

The Daughters of Mary operate two facilities for mentally ill women. These women have been cast aside by their families and society. At Emmaus, 100 women are provided a safe and warm home along with medical care. Many of these women  are moved to a rural residence called Assissi Farm when they are stabilized.

With no government funding ( some day I will do a full rant on this subject ), the Sisters are constantly challenged to make ends meet. In order to contribute financially to operational costs, Emmaus runs several small cottage industries with the residents providing the labor. It is a win/win proposition. Having a reason to get out of bed is important for all of us.

Emmaus manufactures hosts used in area churches. They do these in a tedious fashion using hand operated equipment. There is a large market for hosts that Emmaus cannot currently satisfy. They need new, modern equipment but making “ heavenly hosts” doesn’t come cheap. An automated host maker costs about $5,000.

I know many of you have already given to one of the other projects but maybe some of you haven’t and might want to help out. The Sisters received a major boost from Antigonish a few days ago. The Opportunity Shop , run by St. Ninian’s Catholic Women’s league have contributed $2500 towards the purchase of the host machine. ( Speaking of women who quietly go about doing so many good deeds! ). That means Emmaus needs another $2500 to buy the equipment. Sister Agnes Cordeau taught me math. I think that 25 donors @ $100 would do the trick!

Check out this video (    https://youtu.be/hCjtAWy1soc ) to learn more and click on the Daughters of Mary link on my website ( http://www.week45.com/supporting-the-daughters-of-mary-in-india/ to donate.

Have a great day.

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Comments

One Response to Thursday Tidbits

  1. Anna Mac Donald says:

    I will be one of the 25 I wifi go to the Credit Union on Monday.

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