August 26-27, 2019: While in India for the Dedication of the new St. Bonaventure Franciscan Ashram Seminary, in Bangalore, the St. Maximilian Kolbe Province of India‘s Minister Provincial – Very Reverend Fr. Leo Payyappilly, OFM Conv. joined our Order’s Minister General – Most Reverend Fr. Carlos Trovarelli, OFM Conv., the Assistant General for the FAMC – Friar Benedetto Seung-jae Baek, OFM Conv., and our Minister Provincial – Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. for a vistit to the Belvedere Franciscan Ashram Novitiate and their 16 novices and a 3-man staff of formators (above).
Tea is a staple of the Tamil Nadu Novitiate in a double sense. Besides drinking India’s favorite beverage, the novices also farm the crop on their ten hilly acres which are 8000 feet above sea level. Expert pickers (above) do the expert work, with the novices’ assistance. A local factory processes the leaves. The enterprise helps in a major way to defray novitiate costs. Friar Leo and Friar James even tried their hands a harvesting (right).
Also on August 26th, Friar Carlos, Friar Benedetto, and Friar James visited the cloistered monastery of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (above). The nuns spoke with the friars about their Foundress – St. Clare of Assisi. After sharing that St. Clare used to make altar linens for poor churches, the nuns presented each of the friars with a set of altar linens made by them.
In the State of Tamil Nadu, the Friars run Assisi Snehalaya,a hospice for end-stage HIV/AIDS patients. There are presently 36 in residence, including 8 children. At every site they visited, the Minister General, Assistant General, and Minister Provincial were formally welcomed, according to traditional local customs, with the presentation of a garland of flowers called a “Mala.” On their August 27th visit to Assisi Snehalaya, they were each also given a prayer shawl and coconut with straw to sip coconut water (above).