Our Senior Jesuits - Praying for the Church
by Luke Rodrigues SJ
If you were to glance through the Catalogue of the Bombay Province, you would see listed there the different Jesuit institutions and the Jesuits who reside there. You would also notice that a brief description is given of the key works being done by each Jesuit. Most of these are works we are familiar with – teaching, parish activities, retreats, social work, etc. Against the name of some senior priests there appears the phrase “Praying for the Church and the Society”. These are the Fathers who are now residing in one of two Province Infirmaries. After many years of service, they are no longer able to undertake the strenuous activities of our Schools, Parishes and Social Centres. This does not mean however that their mission has come to an end. They now take on another mission, the mission of supporting the Church and the Jesuits through their prayers and the offering of their illness to God.
The newer of the two Infirmaries is located within the St Mary's Jesuit community, Mazagaon. It is called ARRUPE NIWAS. About 8 Jesuits are wonderfully cared for here by a sister belonging to the Daughters of the Cross & her dedicated team of nurses assistants. Fr George Rosario along with the St Mary's Community fathers worked tirelessly to get this beautiful facility up and running.
The older Province Infirmary is based at Vinayalaya, Andheri. The green, peaceful surroundings here provide the right atmosphere for rest and convalescence. A religious sister from the Vedruna Congregation is the Directress of the Infirmary. Two nurses, six workers and a cook comprise the staff working under her direction. This ensures that our fathers receive round the clock care, with due attention paid to their physical and medical needs. It is a difficult and taxing job, but done with great devotion and commitment. It is edifying to see the manner in which sister and all the staff lovingly care for the elderly and infirm fathers. Additionally, a visiting doctor comes to check on their health and when necessary, they are taken for further treatment to the nearby Holy Spirit hospital.
The daily Eucharist at 11:30 am and the common Rosary at 3 pm provide a basic structure around which the Fathers nurture their spiritual lives. The free times in between are devoted to personal reading, watching television and the mandatory game of dominoes! Birthday celebrations are eagerly looked forward to. Our young brothers who are in training at Vinayalaya provide music and song for these prayer sessions and celebrations, and before long the fathers are not only tapping their feet in accompaniment but also leading the whole group in song. The occasional visits by relatives, friends, ex-students and parishioners bring a lot of joy, reminding the fathers that they are remembered with affection.
You are most welcome to drop in and pay a visit to our elderly brothers. They’ll be happy to see you. Who knows, you might just meet an old friend!