Albert Lacombe, OMI1827 – 1916 Volume 8, Number 20 June 10, 2011 REMEMBERING ST. EUGENE In this issue... REMEMBERING ST. EUGENEI….....…..1 GILLES GAUTHIER OMI………….......…3 BRIAN JAYAWARDHANA OMI.……..…..6 ANNOUNCEMENT………………...……...8 NEXT ISSUE OF INFO LACOMBE WILL BE JUNE 17, 2011. Saint Eugene de Mazenod Loving Saviour, we thank you for the life and intercession of Saint Eugene de Mazenod. Accompanied by his prayers we bring to you all our personal intentions and those Saskatoon Ofﬁce- Communications of our loved ones, especially the TEL: 306 244 1556 sick and suffering. We ask also that FAX: 306 242 8916 you will inspire many generous CELL: 306 370 7581 persons to follow St. Eugene’s HOME: 306 653 3113 ex 203 missionary example by dedicating EMAIL: email@example.com their lives to being the Saviour’s cooperators as he was. We ask all this with loving confidence. Amen.
Volume 8, Number 20 June 10, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.ca RAIN STORM Lighting strikes the sullen clouds And rips the sky apart Then bucketfuls of silver rain Come gushing from its heart It crashes on the roof-tops And scatters forth in spray It splashes on the window-panes To wash the dirt away It rushes through the countryside And smothers every field It swirls the trees and bushes Forcing them to yield I sit in humid darkness Beside my window-pane And watch in awe-struck wonder The rush of raging rain I know it brings us blessings In its own furious way I thank the Lord of thunder For this torrential day.Albert Ulrich OMI lead the celebration (May 20,2011) to remember the death of St. Eugene. Brian Jayawardhana OMI. Edmonton. August 15, 1995Thirty-five Oblates, Associates and friends group gathered in the hall downstairsgathered at Queen’s House in Saskatoon, provided ‘background music.’May 20, 2011, to remember and be impactedby the death of our founder, St. Eugene (May21, 1861). The homily took us back to the last hours of our Founder whose mind was very clear throughout his last hours. He knew that heAlbert Ulrich, OMI, opened the Eucharist had very little time left but gave to hiswith the observation that this was not the best Oblates the guiding principle: “Within theweekend to have such a celebration (it is the community, have charity, charity, charity andfirst long weekend of the summer season) but outside the community have zeal for thethen St. Eugene did not choose this as an salvation of souls.”appropriate day to have his last breath. Thegathered congregation chuckled andcontinued as the African music from the Page 2 of 8
Volume 8, Number 20 June 10, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.ca Fr. Albert continued: “We celebrate St. Eugene and his gifts but this belongs to the Church. Today we have many laity who want to be associated with the Oblates.” In OMI Lacombe, the unity that we already share in our Province, has lead us to work towards building more unity among the lay associates throughout the six regions of our country. Albert reminded us that this work with the Associates is “always done with the same spirit which is helping the poor.” In the spirit of St. Eugene we are to “bring the message of love to those who do not know what love is.” Fr. Albert framed the legacy of St. Eugene. As we move into the future there will be a continuity of the charism of St. Eugene. This chairsm is “not for the glory of the Oblate Congregation but for the glory of the Charles de Campigneulles Saskatchewan Local Church.” CommunityThe legacy of the death of St. Eugene is the GILLES GAUTHIER OMIfocus he has given to the Congregation that in By Nestor Gregoire, OMI.all circumstances it will be love for oneanother that will hold us together. “His spirit Oblates ask the tough questions.is meant to grow within us and that we see hisspirit comes from God himself.” Gilles will immediately remind you that he has little memory before the age of forty-four.St. Eugene has given us the charism to seereal needs and strive to fulfill that need. We The call had gone forth throughout thecelebrate his death today “not only for St. Oblate Congregation for volunteers toEugene but God has worked through St. work with Mother Teresa in Bangladesh.Eugene. When he only had forty-two Gilles was the first Oblate to arrive.members he sent six Oblates to Montreal. There is deep within his spirit the desireThis took courage and a belief that this iswhat God wanted.“One year later he sent another six Oblates toCeylon (now Sri Lanka)” Page 3 of 8
Volume 8, Number 20 June 10, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.ca person from the streets of Calcultta was brought into the home for the dying she would instruct us to wash that person. ‘Wash him like you would wash Christ.’ Make sure that you bring all the respect and affection that you can to the dying person. Don’t speak about God to the dying person, be God to them!’” Mother Teresa was instrumental in shaping his missionary life. “We were in a feeding center that would help about 52,000 people in the area. She knew how to operate such places by finding food and medicines. Food was always a big problem because there was drought in the country. Everything was complicated because clean water was very difficult to find. “She changed my attitude. In a county where the average life span was only thirty-three years and you could count the bones on the bodies of young people, sheGilles Gauthier OMI “To be a missionary is not showed me how they were always limited.” smiling. I could not understand this positive response on the part of theseto be a missionary that is not limited to suffering people. She told me, ‘It isthe traditional structures of Canada. He because we believe in the love of Godjoined seven other Oblates worldwide to that we cannot put them downwork in Bangladesh. He framed his whatsoever. They are smiling because ofdecision to volunteer: “I did not become a the good care that comes with love.”missionary to be in the schools.” Gilles remembers the strength of theA week that proved to be life-shaping was tribal peoples with whom he worked.a full week of retreat with Jean Vanier in These were a matriarchial society whereCalgary. Two other people that had the women were the leaders but also didsignificant influence on Gilles’ life were almost all the work. There were no socialMother Teresa and Abbe Pierre. government supports in place. The people were very determined to help one another.There is a moment of reflection in a veryanimated and forceful conversation. The life-changing event was a motor bike“Mother Teresa struck me. When a dying accident in Bangladesh when a bus came and hit him at full speed. He was severely Page 4 of 8
Volume 8, Number 20 June 10, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.cainjured. Blood poured from all openingson his body. He had a perforated lung. Hewas unconscious for fifteen days. Heneeded therapy for all his bones. Lookingat his recovery he adds with both handswide open, “I am living a second life.”Recovery meant returning to Canada andfor the next seven years he struggled withhis memory. At therapy in Sherbrook,Quebec, he learned to speak again. Today,he writes out all his sermons so that hedoes not lose his memory.Missionary work on his return to Canadadrew him to skidrow in Edmonton. “Myoffice was the Steam Bat Hotel.” He addswith a smile on his face. “They didn’t saythe rosary there!” Here he worked with conversation continued. “Jesus came foralcoholics, prostitutes, the homeless and sinners. He came for the suffering, nowandering people. They were all races matter what race they are. God has blestand nationalities. “I was there for anyone these people.”who was in trouble, somehow.” When the time came to move into SacredHe began to work with the First Nations Heart Parish Gilles objected that it wouldpeoples in the basement of the Sacred be too expensive and this would become aHeart School. The focus was to only church only of religious services.study the Scriptures, share their faith andstudy the culture of the First Nations Gilles revealed his deep feelings andpeoples so “that you can be proud that compassion when he shared how he wasyou are a native person.” There were also blest by a man named Fred four decadesopportunities to teach life skills to build ago. The man had wanted to stop drinkingself esteem and respect. This was so “you and “he came to see me every day.”could become strong and love yourself.” Summarizing his fifty-one years as anGilles always asked the strong questions. Oblate priest he states, “Of course I feel“How can you baptize if you do not love good about this, in every way you canyourselves?” His experiences from think.” Then expressing his gratitude, “IBangladesh shaped his approach to was lucky to have those three significantworking with First Nations Peoples. “We people in my life.” He took the man to anwant to make our churches too clean. AA Roudnup in the Battlefords. TheThose who are really suffering are not speaker could not make it so they askedreally welcome. We have to change that Fred and reluctantly, but truthfully, spokeabout ourselves.” With determination the from his heart. He told all the participants Page 5 of 8
Volume 8, Number 20 June 10, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.caat the Roundup that “someone gave me alight and this changed my life. Because ofthat one person you are given a light andyou too can change your life.” At thispoint in the story there are tears inGilles’ eyes.Fred tried to repair the damage hisdrinking had caused his family. He beganto build a house. In the meantime he hada drunken charge to be worked out in theCourts but the policeman of the day hadthe wisdom to delay the proceedings untilFred had the house built, and then he wassent to jail! Gilles, with his strongemotions, concluded the story. “I neversaw a man change so much in one day!”He framed the entire experience of thisone man. “Because of God and Fred the Brian Jawawardhana OMI “I try to visit two members in a more deliberate way each day.”whole reserve was changed!” At the end of these three years of teaching, heThis exhaustive interview concluded with left for Canada in 1976. He began workingGilles’ strong challenge. “The Church is for Catholic Social Services (CFS) intoo clean. Would Christ throw them Edmonton and has continued working for thisaway? My vision is of the whole world agency until today. Through the majority ofand all the peoples who are suffering in his working career he served as ait.” psychologist with a specialty in the mentally handicapped. He has also worked with BRIAN JAYAWARDHANA troubled teenagers. The focus of these years was in the field of counseling. OMI His specialization has been on the mentallyBy Nestor Gregoire, OMI. handicapped and issues of memory. He has given talks at professional conferences inBrian, born in Sri Lanka, 1938, came to Dublin, Helsinki, Seattle and Regina. HisCanada through a different route. He entered research has been published in the Britishthe Oblate novitiate in 1957, studied in Rome Journal of Mental Disabilities.for his theological studies and was ordained apriest, August 16, 1964. He returned to his His Oblate superiors have recognized that hishome country, engaged in ministry for eight ministry at CFS is helping and reaching out toyears and then was asked to teach philosophy the most abandoned. It is a work after thefor three years in the Philippines. Founder’s heart. Fr. Zago, OMI, in a letter Page 6 of 8
Volume 8, Number 20 June 10, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.cathanked him for his involvement: “It is great though he receives many words of praise heto see you are involved.” can see that this community needs “someone who can identify more with the culture.” TheMinistry also focused on the parish community meetings at Foyer Lacombe arecommunity. He did weekend ministry at the divided between the Francophone and theParish in St. Albert for eighteen years; served Anglophone group.as pastor of the Native Pastoral Center inEdmonton before it moved to Sacred Heart This provides many opportunities to haveParish (1986-89). He also served the parish of others share in the meetings and leadershipSt. Catherine’s in Lac la Biche, Alberta that is conducted in French. “This leadership(1993-97), but continued working full time at is shared.”CFS (Edmonton). This was followed by twoyears of Sunday ministry at the Hungarian Brian recognizes the importance of hisParish and another two at St. Charles. ministry and participation in the life of the community. “Most of my time is beingHe now works as chaplain to CFS on a present and listening to the men.” Taking thesixteen hours per week basis. The Board felt little extra care, such as helping to arrangeit was very important to have at least one clothing and papers in the rooms, provides apriest in an agency that has fifteen hundred natural opportunity for interaction. “Theemployees. He very much wants to continue Community, the facilities, the staff and theto help out in the parishes and with retreats. location are all very pleasant.”Now that you have been appointed the Connection to his religious community hasDirector of Foyer Lacombe how has your always been important. Through the years heministry changed? has been actively involved with Placid Place, the Provincial House and the St. AlbertMy ministry is “to support the residents, meet rectory. In his Oblate life he concludes thattheir need and goals and advocate for them. I “what is emphasized is Oblate communitydrive them to medical appointments and visit rather than the work.” The fingers of his boththem regularly in the hospital. I try to visit hands point down in emphatic agreement.two members in a more deliberate way each The heavy level of care does cause someday.” Foyer Lacombe has thirty four residents frustration. Brian commented: “I cannot doof which seventeen have some degree of things by half measures. I have to meet withphysical and mental diminishment. “I am those who are needy. It is kind of over-equipped to be here. I am a psychologist and whelming and comes with stress.”now am reading seriously into geriatricpsychology.” Even though he may experience some inadequacy he is often told that he is ‘doing aThis bilingual community presents several good job’ and receives good feedback fromchallenges. Brian notes that he can work and the staff.understand five language. He can clearlymake himself know in French, but is awarethat he is translating while he speaks. Even Page 7 of 8
Volume 8, Number 20 June 10, 2011 175 MAIN STREET ● OTTAWA ON K1S 1C3 ● TEL: 613-230-2225 ● FAX: 613-230-2948 ● www.omilacombe.caANNOUNCEMENT:The Springhurst Residence, an Oblatecommunity of retired and active residents,currently has a vacancy. We are open toapplications from Oblates seeking a fullservice facility in a welcoming, quietenvironment to enjoy retirement, pursue longterm studies or other employment.The Residence is centrally located in Ottawa ina tranquil setting by the Rideau River near StPaul’s University. Springhurst offers a spaciousprivate suite with ensuite bathroom. Monthlyrent includes all meals, housekeeping, laundryfacilities, access to chapel, shared receptionrooms and outdoor patio and garden space. Alevel of assisted care is available as needed butresidents must meet established physical andmental criteria for independent living.For further information, contact MarleneLeonard, Residence Administrator;Telephone: 613 567 0371 Fax: 613 567 0967Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Page 8 of 8