Luke puts his faith into action in India
Many thanks to the Jesuit Missions for this incredible opportunity to serve here in India as a volunteer teacher at St. Xavier’s School, Dumka. I was initially moved to sign up for this placement to put my faith and my passion for the people into practice, as well as to serve the Church’s Mission here – despite current government restrictions. In addition to teaching in the school during the day, I also take after-school classes for the poorer children from the local village who do not have the privilege of an English education. It is also amazing to experience and embrace what is perhaps the most fascinating culture on Earth. Yet most of all, it is the local people themselves, the majority of whom are marginalized Santali Tribals, who are the real blessing to be among. They are so poor, simple and humble, yet they have an overwhelming amount of joy, hospitality and soul which they are all so happy to share with me and with each other. Indeed, the traditional pan-Indian values of ‘Atithi Devo Bhawa’ (God in the guest) and ‘Dev Sarvatra Virajayte’ (God in everything) are well and truly alive here! It’s these poor people themselves- young and old alike, who are the real inspiration! I came here to teach and to give, yet I have learnt and received so much more!
Now I have just over 2 months left, I have begun to devote my spare time after school on Saturdays assisting the Sisters our local Missionaries of Charity orphanage, and thanks to the generous donations I received from the Lytham St. Anne’s Catenian’s; readers of the Catholic Voice of Lancaster; and my own friends and family, I have decided to sponsor one of our Infants, whose young father was sadly killed in a road accident just before Christmas, and whose mother is now struggling.
It is only thanks to the Jesuit Missions, and to all my wonderful supporters back home that I have been given this privilege to serve here. There are tough times, but as Pope Francis perfectly attests: ‘Openness to God makes us open to the Marginalized of this world, and gives us the courage to leave the confines of our own comfort and security to become bruised, hurting and dirty as we joyfully approach the suffering of others is a spirit of solidarity’. I feel St. Ignatius will be pleased as well, for it is certainly easy to ‘Seek and find God in all things’ here! Many thanks to you once again, and may God bless us all.
Are you interested in volunteering this summer with Jesuit Missions? We’d love to hear from you!