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28 October

Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
1816, Saint Marcellin ministered to the dying teenager, Jean-Baptiste Montagne
2007 : beatification of 47 brothers martyrs of Spain.

Marist Calendar - October

A day in the Hostel for boys entrusted to the care of the Brothers



Talit Community Ad gentes

26/07/2011: India - Photo gallery

For 10 days I have been visiting the AD GENTES community of Talit (West Bengal, India) following the normal timetable of the community. As it is presented it fills very well all the moments of the day. The boys of the Hostel follow it in a very normal way. Nothing seems  imposed or something coming from outside. I was impressed even by the Morning Prayer (the same for the evening prayer) of the boys of the Hostel. It is a prayer done in their own way and style, where everybody participates, although not all members of the student community are Catholics; only 60% are Catholics.

After Morning Prayer and breakfast, the boys perform their housework in a very natural way. They are in the house and the house is part of their nature. So it is normal to have it clean. In the afternoon, the manual work continues in the garden, watering the plants and the different vegetables planted there. It is after this “garden work” that they come for the “mid-afternoon” meal: all sitting on the ground, they eat the food. They don’t have benches for the dining hall yet. It is something they are waiting for, coming from help from abroad. Up to now, many works in the Hostel have been sponsored by Manos Unidas (Spain), by Dimenticati Fratelli onlus (Italy) and by FMSI (Italy). Then, after the meal, they move for sports to the school courtyard near where they have classes: just across the road. In all this, the boys appear very happy and very much at home with the education imparted to them. The relationship with the educators is most familiar and friendly.

From the academic point of view, everybody agrees that since the brothers took control of the running of the Center, academic excellence has improved considerably. During the study time, they are assisted either by a brother or an assistant teacher. And the boys are very keen to learn. I have the impression, however, that their study is very much learning things by heart.

I was able to attend a singing practice for a rehearsal of the songs for the Pentecost Mass. Well done and well performed. They like to use the local instruments of music, mainly percussion instruments, like drums. But there were others instruments as well, whose name I cannot imagine.

At night time, after the evening meal, the whole group takes part in an authentic community recreation. It is nice to see all these children playing draughts, chess and other indoor games for more than half an hour. The brothers accompany them, making the pedagogy of presence a real gift for the children. For me, it was one of the most pleasant moments of the day to attend. And once again I realize how important it is to play together, to enjoy together, to recreate together.  It helps to build up a strong family or group spirit. As there is not much space, the dining room becomes very quickly the recreation room. Both the meal and the games are directly on the ground. In the future, there is a plan for buying some benches for the dining room. It will make the meals more comfortable for the students.

 This is what I have started discovering after living a few days in this Hostel for the Santal tribe boys. Knowing that these Santal boys are among the poor of the area when we compare them with those of the Bengal tribe (middle and up classes), it is easy to conclude that this community responds fully to the wish of the chapter of having a strongly significant presence of the Brothers among the poor. The simplicity of life I noticed in all aspects of the community can allow me to compare this community to the original communities of the Brothers in La Valla and the neighbouring villages.

Brother Teófilo - Ad Gentes Coordinator
Talit, 20th June 2011

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