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Obituary


.REST IN PEACE.. 


   
   

 Fr Brennan

Fr Joseph Brennan

Born: 22/09/1925

Entered SJ: 30/07/1942

Ordination: 21/11/1956

Final Vows: 02/02/1960

Death: 28/08/2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fr Alex Minj 

Fr Alexius Minj

Born: 12/03/1956

Entered SJ: 

Ordination: 

Final Vows: 

Death: 16/11/2015

 

Br Eric

Br Eric Rudum

15 Aug 1926-27 Apr 2013

 

Fr Leslie

 Fr Leslie Lobo Prabhu

30 Oct 1939 - 10 Apr 2013

    Fr Leslie Lobo Prabhu was born October 30, 1939 in Bendore, Mangalore and died in the infirmary at St Xavier’s College, Kolkata on April 10, 2013.  He once told me that his first ‘vocation’ was to join the Indian Navy and this perhaps gave him a latent mariner’s  view of Mangalore as his ‘home’ port:  first, at St Francis Xavier Parish, Bijai, and later at St Aloysius College for his high school and college, and finally in his declining years, at Nazareth Niwas, Bondel, Mangalore.  He entered XTTI,  Patna on July 1st, 1963 for his novitiate and juniorate, and then went  to DeNobili College, Pune for philosophy.  After regency in the high school at Gayaganga, he returned to Pune for theology.  He was ordained on March 19, 1977 at St Joseph’s Seminary, Mangalore, and in 1980 went to Dindigul for his tertianship.  Before his final vows in 1987, he was parish priest in Singamari, North Point for four years, and then went to Hatighisa in the Terai, and to several parishes in the North-East for more pastoral experience.  Later, in 1990, he went to the EAPI, Manila to complete his pastoral preparation.

    His practical abilities led him to several institutions as minister - to St Robert’s School Hostel and North Point School in Darjeeling and to Loyola College in Namchi, but his heart was in the pastoral ministry, and parishes in Matigara and Panighatta in the plains, and at Gayabari and St Paul’s in Kurseong found him at  his best.

      At one time, he volunteered unsuccessfully for ministry in the Sudan, but his chance for travel came in 1993 when he filled in for parish ministry in South Africa (near Soweto).  Back home, he spent one year in Morning Star College as spiritual father for the seminarians.  Two accidents on a scooter wrecked his knees and he never really recovered his mobility and availability.   During his final days in the infirmary of St Xavier’s, Kolkata, his fires were banked and he left us in the peace of a sailor who, after many stormy seas, had at last found his ‘home’ port with the Lord.

 

 

Fr Edward Gurung
Fr Edward Gurung

17 Jan 1946 - 21 Nov 2012

    Fr Edward Gurung was born on January 17, 1946 at St Mary’s Hill, Kurseong, and grew up in Sacred Heart Parish, Singamari, North Point, Darjeeling.  All his undergraduate studies were completed in Darjeeling, first in primary classes at St Michael’s School, Singamari and up to Class XI in St Robert’s High School, Darjeeling.  He then completed his BA (Hons) History in 1978 at St Joseph’s College, North Point, and later his BEd at St Xavier’s College, Calcutta in 1984, and finally his MEd at St Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada in 1994.  He went to Bombay for his novitiate and juniorate in the Society in 1969, and later to Shembaganur for philosophy in 1972.  Three years of regency followed, first at St Peter’s High School, Gayaganga, and then as warden in Campion Hostel, St Joseph’s College.  For theology, he went to Vidyajyoti, Delhi, and returned, rather miraculously, to St Joseph’s School “Quad” on October 17th, 1980 to be ordained there by Rt Rev. Eric Benjamin, the first Bishop of Darjeeling.  After tertianship at Sitagarha, he pronounced his final vows in the Society at Mount Carmel Novitiate, Kurseong, on May 31, 1987.
  “Miraculously” for those who remember, because during his theology days in the old St Xavier’s School-turned-theologate in Delhi (with four to a room), he had what might be called a near-death-experience after falling on the football field and breaking his arm (1979).  It became infected by something on the field (!) and after three weeks tetanus developed;  he  was given a 50-50 chance of survival, odds, which, thankfully, he beat for the remaining years of his life with us!  

   Fr “Edu”, as he was affectionately known, was an outgoing, happy person, one who made community life special.  This outlook helped him in his years in the classroom and as headmaster, minister, prefect and teacher in several of the Jesuit educational institutions in the province:  first in St Alphonsus Higher Secondary School, Kurseong for ten years during the 80’s;  during the 90’s he again filled those posts at one time or another in St Joseph’s School, Darjeeling, in St Peter’s, Gayaganga and at Loyola College of Education, Namchi, Sikkim.  He was at one time parish priest at St Paul’s, Kurseong, and again, later, at St Vincent de Paul Church, Hatighisa.  During his studies  in Canada, his ministry included time spent at the Canadian Martyrs’ Shrine, Midland, and for on-going formation at Regis College, Toronto.  Experiences all, which helped him help so many others in need of his courage and joy in the face of life’s challenges.   


Fr Abraham
Fr Joseph Murray Abraham

26 Sep 1925 - 28 Aug 2012

 

      Fr "Abe", as he was familiarly known, died at "Flame of Hope" residence, Matigara at midday on August 27th, 2012, just one month shy of his 87th birthday on September 26th. He had come down from Kurseong some weeks before to be close to the disabled children and their guardians in a small community he had supported for some years at its centre on St Mary's Hill.  He was in his seventy-second year in the Society, having joined on August 14th, 1941 when still fifteen years old. He came to India in 1948 and after a year of Nepali study and one year regency in St Joseph's College (School Dept) he completed his four years of theology at St Mary' College, Kurseong, with ordination on November 21, 1954. Following theology, he was prefect of discipline at St Joseph's College (School Dept) for two years before going to Sitagarha for tertianship, followed by his final vows in the Society on August 15, 1959. He spent several years at St Alphonsus High School, Kurseong, before going to Canada for his M Ed degree at St Mary's University, Halifax. During his years in Canada he set up a network of supporters for the work that would be the centre of most of his life, education at St Alphonsus High School, Kurseong. His was a pen of very persuasive power, and through it he connected with the thousands of people in Canada who became very much a part of his life and work in and around Kurseong. That pen was to serve him well in his later years when he wrote often on the spirituality of the Society he knew so well.     

   His educational ministry was outstanding for the innovative projects and techniques he perfected over the years, mainly in the teaching of English as a spoken language and in the linking of education to work programs especially with chickens! In the mid-1970's he moved out of St Alphonsus and set up SASAC (St Alphonsus Agricultural and Social Centre) at Woodcot, the old villa of generations of Jesuits who passed through St Mary's College. That work is now carried on by others who were inspired by his concern for good education, practical as well as formal, for the poor. Today, that inspiration continues to go out to the hills via SOJASI (Society of Jesus Agricultural and Social Institute) located at 'Chimney', high above Kurseong on the old Military Road. The media declared him the Father of the Gorkhas, and thousands attended his funeral. It was the largest funeral this town had ever seen.

Fr Lawrence Abello
Fr Lawrence Abello
12 Jul 1931 - 22 Jan 2012
      'Larry' Abello died in the early hours of the morning of January 22", 2012, in St Xavier's College, Kolkata which had been his home for twenty-five years. During that time, he had been a devoted companion of Mother Teresa and her sisters, as confessor and guide. He was also the director of the many volunteers who came each year to work with the Missionaries of Charity, to initiate them into life in Calcutta, and especially into life among the poor of that city. He was in his eighty-first year, and fifty-sixth in the Society. He joined the Society in 1956, and came to India in 1959, at the end of his novitiate and juniorate. His formation in India followed the usual route from philosophy in Pune to regency in Gayaganga, and to theology in St Mary's Kurseong. He was ordained there in March 19, 1966, and after tertianship in 1972-73 at Vinayalaya, Mumbai, pronounced his final vows in Shembaganur on February 2nd, 1974.

     In the meantime, he began what might be called his first career, as philosophy professor in several seminaries in India, during the 1960's and l970's, in Mangalore, and mainly in St Pius College, Mumbai. Philosophy wasn't his only interest in those days however; he was always drawn to the world of physics and finally entered that world at St Louis University, USA and completed an MSc in that subject in 1971. On his return to India, he continued his philosophy lectures at St Pius till 1977, when he went to Canada for his PhD at the University of British Columbia, Canada.  Before returning to India in 1986 on a visa which allowed him to teach in St Xavier's, Kolkata, he was active in pro-life ministry, which he continued in India. He was soon drawn to the work of Mother Teresa, and for the rest of his life his ministry revolved around it, and the parishes of the city where he became quite familiar. He obtained his Indian citizenship in 1991, through the intercession of Mother Teresa, with whom, we pray, he shares the life of those "who love the poor".  

Fr Thomas
Fr Thomas Lepcha
1963 - 9 Jan 2011

   Fr Thomas Lepcha was born July 7th, 1962 at Mirik (Algarah), Kalimpong, Darjeeling District, one of five children, the only boy.  His parents died when the children were very young, and the family was thrown on its own.  Shortly after, they all moved to thevillage ofPedong, where they were able to continue their studies in the diocesan school.  As much of the responsibility of the family fell on his shoulders, it took some time for him to complete his own studies, but this he managed to do, up to and including the BA.   
     When he entered the Jesuit Manresa novitiate in Kalimpong in 1994 therefore, he was, at the age of 31, the elder brother, more serious and more committed than his younger companions.  Many were quite surprised when he became a novice, but it was to be just one of the early indications of his ability to plough his own furrow, and, as he said,  do so “with God’s grace”.  When he signed his first vows paper, he did so as “Thomas Paul Miki Lepcha”, a sign perhaps of his determination to give his all in the service of the Eternal King. The usual Jesuit formation followed – juniorate in Kathmandu, philosophy and theology in Pune and finally ordination on November 6th, 2004.

   In his short life as a priest, he excelled in the pastoral ministry, first as co-pastor in Namchi, Sikkim, and latterly as pastor in St Paul’s Church, Kurseong.  He proved himself much devoted to the people in his care, with a deep understanding of their struggles in daily life. He was a good preacher of the word, and especially interested in spreading the Word to non-Christians. The experience of his own journey to recovery made him especially open and sympathetic towards those trapped by substance abuse.  He died unexpectedly at the early age of forty-seven and was buried at Gayaganga after a funeral Mass in the church filled to overflowing by relatives and friends from the hills and the plains. 

 

Fr Leclaire

Fr Gerald Leclaire

1928 - 25 May 2010

   Father Gerald Leclaire was born in Montreal, Canada and, after high school, entered the Society on September 7, 1947. Before arriving in Indiain 1957, he studied history at the University of Toronto, taking as his MA thesis the Independence Movement in India during the period 1905-1935.  Theology in St Mary’s College, Kurseong, and tertianship in Sitagarha, Bihar were followed by Hindi study in Ranchi and a year teaching in Gayaganga.  He was ordained with two companions in the North Point School Quadrangle on March 22nd, 1961, a symbolic beginning to his twenty-two years in education in St Joseph’s,Darjeeling.  Those years were interrupted in 1978 when he was personally invited by the Bhutanese government to set up a junior college at Kanglung in the east of the country. He spent eleven years there and is fondly remembered “as the forerunner of higher education in Bhutan and the architect ofSherubtseCollege”. rnrn

   His years in Darjeeling were crowded with the ministry of the Word in the pulpit, with firm but much appreciated care of young Jesuits as PCF, or of college students as Superintendent of Xavier Hostel, and always with administration, either in the community as rector, or minister, but especially in the university department as Principal, or Dean. 

   His last appointment was as rector for the second time, in September 1997. Less than a year later he was struck down by a massive stroke during a visit to Canada meant to be a celebration of his Golden Jubilee in the Society. For the next twelve years, Fr Gerry, the administrator and leader was asked, like Simon of Cyrene, to take up the cross, mute and chair bound, of the One who called him to “preach and teach and to go on the missions” as he once defined his life.  A community man who loved the Society and the companionship he found there, he has left us all better Jesuits and ‘friends in the Lord.’

Fr Morgan

Fr Vincent Morgan
1918 - 23 Mar 2010

      Fr ‘Vince’ Morganwas born in Hamilton, Canada and after finishing high school,  entered the Society on July 30, 1940.  He spent the next seven years in Canada and in November 1947, as one of the first two Canadian scholastics to do so, left for a new mission recently assigned to the Upper Canadian Province (as it was then known) in north Bengal.  He spent the next forty-eight years in the hills of the eastern Himalayas, in the two main urban centres ofDarjeelingand Kurseong.  He was ordained in 1953 at St Mary’s College, Kurseong, and pronounced his final vows on March 12, 1956, the first Canadian to do so as a member of newly established independent Darjeeling Region of Calcutta vice-province. 

     For more than twenty years of the next forty (1955-95), the school department of St Joseph’s College was to feel the presence of Fr ‘Vince’ in more ways than one.  He was in the office as treasurer (bursar in those days), in classes as teacher, and in the lives of the community and the students as “Mr Fix-it”.  Those twenty years at St Joseph’s were not to be continuous;  several times he moved away for various ministries which always included care of nearby convents:  he was a much appreciated bursar in St Robert’s High School, Darjeeling, and for seven years the chaplain to the Christian Brothers and students at Goethals Memorial High School, Kurseong.  Three times he moved abroad, once as a postulant in the Trappist monastery inUtah,USA, and later for ministry in St Luciain the West Indies, and finally toCanadain 1995. There he was chaplain to the Carmelite sisters in British Columbia and in Ontario before finally moving to the Jesuit Infirmary outside Toronto, where he died on March 25, 2010.

     Fr ‘Vince’ was a slight, wiry person, with a quiet personality and a wry sense of humour, continually searching, it seems, for the Lord he followed so faithfully so long. 

Fr Ambrose
Fr Ambrose D'Mello
20 Jan 1922 - 18 Apr 201
     Darjeeling Regional Superior -    May 16, 1987 - May 30, 1991
The Jesuits of Darjeeling Province wish to join their brothers in the Kohima Region in mourning the death of Rev. Fr Ambrose D’Mello, SJ, former superior of the Darjeeling Region. 

     It was he who guided the then independent Darjeeling Region of  the province of Calcutta through the turbulent years of the end of the 80’s and early 90’s.  In the hills of Darjeeling district, the Gorkhaland agitation required the guidance and foresight that was Fr Ambrose’s forte.  InBhutan, the Society of Jesus was called upon to hand over its educational apostolates to the government of Bhutan, a process that succeeded in great part because of his deft touch in negotiations. His administrative skills ensured that we emerged from the events of those years with a strong sense of gratitude to the Lord who sent him among us in those days. 

     The Diocese of Darjeeling also benefited from his experience when he was appointed Administrator of the Diocese during the prolonged sickness of Bishop Eric Benjamin.The province was represented at the funeral services in Guwahati and Shillong by Fr Provincial, Peter Pappu, and by Frs Gabriel Tirkey, Paul D’Souza, Kalyan Tirkey. They accompanied His Lordship Stephen Lepcha, Bishop of Darjeeling who represented Diocese and who presided over the funeral Mass in Guwahati.

Fr Philip Xalxo
Fr Philip Xalxo
1940 - 23 Jun 2010

     Fr Philip Xalxo was born August 5th, 1940 at  Fultanr Mahuatoli Village, Mahuadanr, Jharkhand, but Gayaganga in the Terai of Darjeeling District became his home when his family moved to the tea gardens of North  Bengal.  His primary education was in Gayaganga and for high school he went to  St  John’s, Ranchi while staying at the Apostolic School.  He joined the Society in 1963 after his pre-U studies at St Xavier’s, Ranchi and went through the normal early periods of formation, novitiate - juniorate (at XTTI, Patna), philosophy (DeNobili College, Pune) and a year of regency at St Peter’s High School, Gayaganga.  Before going to Vidyajyoti for theology, he obtained his BA at St Joseph’s College, Darjeeling.  He was ordained in Gayaganga on December 7th, 1975 the first tribal Jesuit priest from the Terai. Tertianship at Sitagarha was followed by final vows in 1980 and “Felix Soma”, to give him his baptismal name, was ready to “serve souls better”, as he wrote in his application to join the Jesuits.  And for most of the next thirty-five years (he was Director of Jesuit Candidates for two years), the Terai and his people on the tea gardens were his ‘parish’. He started out in his ‘home’ parish, Gayaganga, and later moved to Hatighisa and finally to Goomgooma.

      ‘Philip’, as everyone knew him, was a quiet presence in our midst, a happy companion and obviously, with his background, someone worth consulting about local conditions and prospects. His first appointment after ordination was as co-pastor at Gayaganga under Fr Charlie Durt and those who saw them together saw the ‘signs of the times’ in the Terai.  Fr Charlie, the image of the gruff, bearded missionary of early days, and Fr Philip, the new generation, ready to carry the torch into the future.  Fr Philip died as he lived, quietly;  he was on a gurney all prepared for an operation in Navjeewan Hospital, Gayaganga, when he just turned his head, and ‘went asleep’ in the Lord.      

Fr Burns
Fr Edgar Burns
1925 - 17 May 2010
     When Darjeeling said good-bye to Fr ‘Ed’ Burns on May 19, 2010, the shops were closed, and the streets lined with people as his funeral procession wound its way through the bazaar to St Joseph’s College, North Point.  In the school gymnasium, three bishops presided at a Mass, attended by rows of Jesuits and diocesan priests, by his many friends, and especially by all who had become part of his family in Hayden Hall.  To his family in Canada, he had said goodbye years before:  in 1943 to join the Society of Jesus, and in 1951 to leave for India.  His early years in India provided the basics of his Jesuit life in a new India:  teaching during regency in two hill schools; ease with the language of the hills, Nepali; encounters with village life during his theology at St Mary’s College, Kurseong (1955-59).  He never forgot the people he met there and their problems - no health care, illiteracy, underdevelopment, migration of the young to cities and lack of training facilities.

       After ordination in 1958, and tertianship, he began a twenty-five year career in 1960 as professor of English in St Joseph’s College.  It soon became apparent that here was a professor with a difference, for inside and outside the lecture halls the students found an inspiring teacher and coach and more – that under him, they could be champions. It wasn’t long before he discovered the alumni and in 1972, founded Hayden Hall in the middle of Darjeelingto give them a chance to help lives destroyed by landslides or fire or without hope.  As Superior(1968-74), he inspired the Region with a vision of GC 32, of a gospel backed by justice, a vision he brought to religious and laity alike.  His great fear as a Jesuit was “not that we would do the wrong thing, but that we would do nothing. . . ” He is beyond fear now, continually calling us all to follow him beyond our fears.

          After ordination in 1958, and tertianship, he began a twenty-five year career in 1960 as professor of English inSt Joseph’s College.  It soon became apparent that here was a professor with a difference, for inside and outside the lecture halls the students found an inspiring teacher and coach and more – that under him, they could be champions. It wasn’t long before he discovered the alumni and in 1972, founded Hayden Hall in the middle ofDarjeelingto give them a chance to help lives destroyed by landslides or fire or without hope.  AsSuperior(1968-74), he inspired the Region with a vision of GC 32, of a gospel backed by justice, a vision he brought to religious and laity alike.  His great fear as a Jesuit was “not that we would do the wrong thing, but that we would do nothing. . . ” He is beyond fear now, continually calling us all to follow him beyond our fears.  

 Br Kaziman
Fr Kaziman Sylvester Rai
1929 - 25 Mar 2005
   
Fr Curmi
Fr Vincent Curmi
1918 - 14 Nov 2005
    
Fr McGuire
Fr Edward George McGuire
1927 - 2 February 2005

 
Br BobBr Robert Mittelholtzrn

Died: 20 Dec 2003 

 
Br Anil
Br Anil Tirkey
28 Oct 1940 - 1 Sep 2003
     

 

Fr Bingham

Fr Kennedy Bingham (JAM)
19 May 1927 - 14 Jan 2003

 

 

Fr Forestell       

 Fr Leo Forestell
18 July 1929 - 14 May 2002 

 

 

     

 


 

ANNIVERSARIES OF DECEASED MEMBERS (1956-2015)


Serial No.

  Date

  Name

 Remarks

 

JANUARY

 

 

 

09/01/2011

P Thomas Lepcha

 

02

12/01/2002

P James McCabe

 

03

14/01/2003              

P John Bingham

 

04

22/01/2012

P Lawrence Abello

 

05

23/01/1991              

P Francis West

 

06

24/01/1994

P Maurice Stanford

 

 

FEBRUARY

 

 

07

06/02/2008

NS Irudayaraj Paulraj

 

08

06 /02/2006

F Sylvester Kaziman Rai

 

09

07/02/2000       

F Stanislaus Dukpa        

 

 

MARCH                           

 

 

10

01/03/1983            

F Louis Phillian

 

11

11/03/2000

P Bernard Bruneau

 

12

12/03/1988 

P Victor Tucker

 

13

14/03/2002

P Leo Forestell

 

14

25/03/2010

P Vincent Morgan

 

 

APRIL

 

 

15

10/04/2013

P Leslie Lobo Prabhu

 

16

27/04/2013

F Eric Rudum

 

 

MAY

 

 

17

04/05/1977            

P John Prendergast

 

18

07/05/1996

F Paul Robin

 

19

17/05/2010

P Edgar Peter Burns

 

20

18/05/1999

F Michael Quinn

 

21

23/05/2010

P Gerald Leclaire

 

22

25/05/1979             

P Edward Hayden

 

23

29/05/1965

P Aloysius Heptia                         

 

 

JUNE

 

 

24

01/06/2013

P Arthur Rasquinha

 

25

01/06/2015

P Walleghem Gerard Van

 

26

09/06/2014

P Anthony Milledge

 

27

23/06/1972             

P Camil Humbert

 

28

23/06/2010

P Philip Xalxo

 

29

26/06/1978

P Emile L’hoir

 

30

28/06/1987

P George Coutinho

 

 

JULY

 

 

31

09/07/1992

F James Mara

 

32

09/07/2004

F John Dan Macdonald

 

33

24/07/1977

P Stanislaus Rajam

 

34

25/07/1993

P Albert Nevett

 

35

29/07/1981

P Charles Durt

 

36

31/07/2016 

P Henry Nunn 

 

 

AUGUST

 

 

37

10/08/1967              

PLawrenceWimpenny

 

38

14/08/1993

P John Coffey

 

39

15/08/2005               

P Edward George McGuire

 

40

19/08/1978

F Janez Udovc

 

41

28/08/2012

P J.Murray Abraham

 

42

29/08/1986               

P John Henrichs

 

 

SEPTEMBER

 

 

43

09/09/1961      

P Jules Moreau

 

44

10/09/1975

P Francis Pew

 

45

10/09/1957

P Michael Wery

 

46

19/09/2003           

F Anil Tirkey

 

47

20/09/1984

P Joseph Rajanayagam

 

 

 

OCTOBER

 

 

48

11/10/1999

P Felix Bulens

 

49

18/10/1995       

P William Mackey

 

50

22/10/1963   

F Francis Drobnic

 

51

23/10/1972

P Jean Bouvez

 

52

23/10/1996

P John Whelan

 

 

NOVEMBER

 

 

53

21/11/2012

P Edward Gurung

 

54

1/11/1999

P Gerard McDonough

 

55

14/11/1990

P Vincent Curmi

 

56

16/11/1966

P Leo Bryan

 

57

16/11/2015

P Alexius Minj

 

58

18/11/1984

F Leopard Vidmar

 

 

DECEMBER

 

 

59

11/12/1981

P Michael Bauwens

 

60

08/12/2015

P EE Anthony Frnacis Sharma

 

61

14/12/1990

P Francis Farrel

 

62

14/12/1992

P Joseph Paikaday

 

63

20/12/2003

F Robert Mittelholtz