India – Orissa
History of the Mission
MOP has been in this mission territory since February 27th, 2007. The first nine months were very trying and difficult moments. With only three of us to begin this mission, we found it quite a challenge because we were already used to living in a large Community. However, nothing is impossible to God. With His grace, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the presence of the Blessed Mother in our daily lives, we were able to reach out to many people who lived in our vicinity and who were dealing with us from day to day.
We started off by living in the Bishop’s House, Rourkela, for the first 3weeks. During this time we were searching around eagerly for a home suitable for Brothers to live in. Finally, we were able to rent a home near to the parish. It was the home belonging to a very devout and prayerful Catholic man named Mr. Abraham Khess. It was providence for us to find a home like that. He treated us as his own children and provided us for all our needs. He became our first benefactor. The second benefactors we encountered the same day we found the house to live in, was the SRA Sisters. These Sisters, of the Order of ‘Mary Queen of the Apostles’, provided us with all we needed like beds, mattresses, pillows and food until we settled down. Though we were strangers, they truly took care of us as though we were part of their family.
During these days, we were kept busy with the prime task of looking for a suitable place to establish our Monastery. We were given names of different persons and places that we sought and only realized that all those involved in this game were only money-seekers. There was no interest in helping us; only driven by the desire to pull out money from our hands, these men tried their best to win our trust. But the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the mouths and minds of trustworthy people kept us always vigilant during these trying moments.
One day we finally thought that we procured a small piece of land along with the house. It was being sold for 65lakhs (i.e. then currency of US$150,000.00). We were about to purchase the house when certain incidences changed the route of our journey and we never purchased it. Once again we were given up to our search.
After much prayers and novenas, finally in the month of November, through the help of Rev. Fr. Celestine Xaxa (pronounced ‘kha-kha’), we found a beautiful piece of land with a mud house which had mud tiles. This is typical house in this region. It was one piece of land equaling 2.72acres. We purchased it for 7lakhs / dismal. Now, 100 dismals make one acre. Two pieces of land was 7lakhs / dismal. The third land with about 89 dismals was 10lakhs / dismal because it had the house, an old building, a pump, a boundary wall, and some other minor materials.
On the eve of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, i.e. 7th December 2007, we purchased the property. After nine months of struggle, it was a relieve that we finally had our own property and a little home to start off with. Big thanks to the Blessed Virgin, Cause of our Joy.
Once settled here, we were joyfully and respectfully welcomed by the parish priests and the entire parish on a joyful celebration of the Sunday Mass. Since then, we have been able to establish our presence here through our works amongst the poorest as well as our help in the parish.
For our ministry, we visit the poorest villages surrounding us and offer the spiritual works of mercy. We began to look for those families and children who were in real need of our help. We took in 15 children from the nearby slums and put them in the diocesan English Medium School last year. This year we have 50 children from around the different slums that surround us. People, especially the Hindus, have come to recognize and accept us as ‘not harmful’. With the surge of persecutions on the Church in Orissa by the Hindu fundamentalists, there was a fear that we too will be affected by it. But, God’s plans and designs are different.
All sorts of people, Hindus, Catholics, Christians of other denominations, fallen Catholics and Christians, drunkards, prostitutes, and many others have found refuge in the Brothers – either for spiritual or material needs.
Twice a week the Brothers visit the slums in the evening to evangelise, pray, rejuvenate the faith, chastise, and love the poor ones, teaching them also to love God above all else.