27th April 2017
Vol 2 Issue 8

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Greetings from Jagruti High School, Mandal, Gujarat. I arrived here this morning after a none-too-pleasant train journey from Goa. I came for a three day GRIEVING CEREMONY! 32 years ago I was one of three Brothers privileged to come to Gujarat to set up a vernacular school for boys and girls in a remote village. The inhabitants are adivasis (aboriginals) who were traditionally animists. Some had become Christian. There were three possible areas to choose from. We chose Mandal.

The three Brothers went to a language school in Ahmedabad to learn Gujarati. I became uncomfortable with the idea of being guru to people I knew nothing about so I asked permission to cut short the language course and to live alone in an even more remote adivasi village - to live like the natives.




Liam Gallagher

Liam wearing the blessed pounamu

On 9th April I (Br Frank Perkins) attended a missioning ceremony and dinner for a young man, Liam Gallagher of Christchurch, and an ex-student of St. Thomas of Canterbury College, who will soon travel to Tanzania, to be engaged as a volunteer at Edmund Rice College Sinon, Arusha for seven months.

Liam has completed his BA (Hons) English Literature at Victoria University. He has enjoyed a role as Teacher Aide at Wellington College and St. Thomas of Canterbury College. He loves music and the environment, reading and creative initiatives.

The missioning ceremony was held at Liam’s parents’ house (Kathleen and Mike) in Cashmere, and was organized by Cathy Harrison. There were some 45 – 50 people present, including members of the local Edmund Rice Network, family members and friends of Liam as well as staff members of St. Thomas’s College. A wonderful ‘pot luck’ dinner was followed by a very meaningful and engaging ritual.

  The Edmund Rice Schools Trust [ERST] organised their annual gathering for Student Councils in the Red Cow hotel on Thursday, April 6th. The theme for the day was mental health/wellness. A student spoke of a talk in his school about mental health. After the talk, one of the students acknowledged that he had been suffering for a year with mental health problems. “I was that student”, he said.

A profound silence descended on the gathering as we listened to his story of having suffered with depression. He went on to emphasise how important it is to have a friend, someone to ask, ‘How did your day go? How are things in your family?” If nothing else happened on the day, this was a moment that made it all worthwhile.


The Chinese parish priest who is an “old boy” of the Brothers


Making Connections in China

If anyone else is interested in teaching and making connections in China, you could contact AITECE, a Columban-sponsored group which arranges teaching contracts in universities in China.

Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or the Hong Kong Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to the website: www.aitece.com

Names to go with Image:

Fr Dan Troy, Columban,
Fr Gao Francis Leiqing, parish priest of Hanyang parish, Wuhan and Br Michael Dredge

By Michael Dredge


Moving and Lifting Heavy Objects


Moving and lifting objects that are large, bulky, awkward or difficult to handle, incorrectly will put you at risk of musculoskeletal injuries (eg. sprains, strains, fractures and soft tissue injuries) to your back and shoulders. It can also cause hernias.

Lifting, reaching, pushing, pulling, bending and work requiring awkward postures such as working above shoulder height or below knee height may create injuries.

So before you try to manoeuvre a bulky or heavy object – stop and think about the risks in doing this and look for the safest way to do this. If you are over 50 years of age it would make our health care co-ordinators very happy if you didn’t lift or move any heavy or bulky objects.


 For starters--there is a Brothers Community there



Tom and Peter Thrupp

 March was a particularly busy month dominated with the visit of Tom, (Br Peter Thrupp's) brother, from Birmingham, England. He was the first of my six siblings to visit me here in Australia and since it is now some 65 years since I left England’s shores, as a child migrant, one might suggest it was just about time for this to happen. My last visit home to Birmingham was 2011 and while there I suggested my unwillingness to tackle the long journey in the future and invited anyone of the family to visit me here in Australia some time.


I guess Tom took this to heart and decided it was time for him to visit me for a change. Mind you he was assisted most generously by the ‘British Migrant Foundation’ who paid a large proportion of his travel expenses. The Foundation was keen for me to travel home in March of this year but I was unable, and more to the point unwilling, to take up their offer, as going to England in their winter was not a real option open to me.

My first trip home in 1973 was done in the English winter and I vowed then never to make that mistake again. Tom left Birmingham in the last week of February when it was -2 degrees, arriving here in Australia when we were going through a heat wave. It must have been quite a shock for him.



Know Your Website

Visit www.edmundrice.org

  This week I wish to introduce you to the Edmund Rice Oceania Collection of videos stored on Vimeo.

Most of these are out-of-date as the Br Cliff Fogarty, who produces or at least collected them, was tragically killed a few years ago. However, they still give an idea of the wide range of works associated with the Edmund Rice Movement in Oceania.

The whole collection (72) videos is available at


I will draw your attention to just a few that I believe could be useful to show what we do.

Ambrose Arriving: A historical look at how the Brothers arrived in Oceania. https://vimeo.com/34242418

Edmund Rice Song: A tribute to Edmund Rice from a Filipino Singer. https://vimeo.com/130708629

East Timor: Shows the work of Brothers and Volunteers in East Timor: https://vimeo.com/20817583

I will add these and other videos to the Resources page of the Website.


Visit the Site

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  Feedback suggestions are very welcome as the Newsletter develops.
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  The months I spent in Nav Chodi were grace filled. There were no shops, electricity, phones, newspapers, TV, radio, church etc and I stayed in a mud hut with two bullocks and a buffalo as companions! There was no bathroom so I used head off in the dark early morning to a nearby hill and remain there for a few hours praying. I thought a lot about the boy Patrick herding pigs on Slemish and appreciated his inability to converse with people. He was faced with a totally different culture and environment. It made him more aware of the spiritual. My experience was much the same.

Now after 32 years we are handing over the running of the school we started to the priests and Sisters. Some of you have visited Mandal and have seen the great progress made by the thousands of students who have passed through our portals. Certainly the Mandal I first came to has changed irrevocably for the better.

Naturally there are emotional attachments and wonderful memories. But I think we have offered all we could and it's time to go to a place of greater need. Hence the grieving. The thanksgiving and satisfaction in what God worked in us outweigh the sadness.

So I send you the blessings of the St. Patrick I discovered in Mandal. He was an enslaved exile who returned to Ireland to share with the people he loved what he held most dear - his belief in an omnipresent, merciful and forgiving God who welcomes us with outstretched arms.

by Bap Finn

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  The confidence and the creativity of the students who presented about the activities in their schools made a real impression, very concrete evidence that marvellous things are happening in the schools.

It was lovely to meet Brendan Harrington, the newly appointed principal of the new ERST school in Dublin 15[Castleknock], which will open its doors to its first cohort of pupils in September of this year. Ferdia Kelly, well known in our network, is chair of the board of management of the new school. Even though no site has yet been identified, both Brendan and Ferdia are full of enthusiasm!

Recently, I went to see the new Edmund Rice College in Carrigaline, Co. Cork, which opened its doors to first year pupils last September. They have a magnificent new building due to be completed before the summer. The Carrigaline and Castleknock schools are the first schools to be opened by ERST as trustees.

BrosInIrelandBr. Kephas, Br. Tatenda, and Joe Ryan, Wexford CBS at the Student Council meeting.

Kephas, who is based in Mazabuka, Zambia and Tatenda, who is a member of one of the new communities in the Western Province, Zambia, were on a visit to Ireland, organised by Edmund Rice Development. They visited a number of schools raising awareness about the situation in their own country. Joe Ryan will be accompanying a group of students from Wexford CBS to Kabwe in Zambia in the near future.


There were many expressions of love, blessings and hopes for Liam. A beautiful piece of pounamu was blessed by all present and then presented to Liam by his family.

Debbie Frank, who had spent a year in Arusha as a volunteer, gave an insightful reflection to the assembled group. The Province Leader of Oceania Province, Br Peter Clinch, sent Liam a blessing by email encouraging Liam to be open to the wonderful opportunity of growth as the “NZ spirituality associated with Edmund Rice engages with the Edmund spirit of Tanzania”. Cathy Harrison composed a very beautiful ‘Aotearoa Blessing’ which included the lines :

“May God bless you in your gifts and your compassion for others. These are expressions of God’s providence, enriching the world, enabling it and bringing it love.

….. You depart bearing with you the blessings of Aotearoa ; may you return bearing the blessings of Africa.”

Liam spoke of the value of mutuality in relationship, openness to others and new ways of seeing the world through the lens of local people, and how they give expression to life in the context of their surroundings and culture.

by Br Frank Perkins

HEALTH and SAFETY (Continued)

Some methods could be:

  • Hire professionals
  • Use mechanical aids instead of lifting by hand (eg. self-height adjusting bin inserts in laundry trolleys)
  • Reduce the frequency of the object being moved – or don’t move it at all
  • Reduce the need to bend or reach by storing objects at waist height
  • Reduce the size or weight of object you want to move into smaller objects
  • Match the number of workers to the task – hire a professional
  • Hire a professional
ABOUT BROOME (Continued)

Here in Broome, as you will appreciate, we have quite a unique climate which is very different to the rest of the State and being tropical can be a little oppressive. In fact we have just experienced the wettest season since official records have been kept, so they tell me. As you might imagine, we have had so much rain it resulted in many of our roads being cut, especially the dirt roads and our streets looking more like running rivers.

China Town was flooded with sea water just last week. They tell me the one-way valves that are supposed to prevent this from happening somehow malfunctioned. The growth of plant life has been prolific to say the least. (Berkeley and I have been busy getting our garden back in some sort of order in the last few days)

Anyway the rain, which seemed to be a daily experience, prevented me from taking Tom too far away from Broome but I still found enough for us to do and for him to enjoy plenty of excitement and countless new experiences. Just showing him the many interesting sites around Broome filled up the two weeks quite easily.

The two Museums, Cable Beach, Town Beach, China Town, Open Air Cinema, Campbell’s Crocodile Farm, Dinosaur footprints, Hover craft excursion; I guess I don’t need I go on. Berkeley did manage to take Tom to see the mighty Fitzroy River, which was in flood, some 150 km. north of Broome while I was working at Centacare. Since Broome is only considered the gate way to the Kimberley we will have to show him the real Kimberley on his next visit.

The second two weeks were spent around Perth and the Wheat Belt. Elizabeth Key, the City, Fremantle, Roto and Mandurah as well as Bindoon, Tardun and Geraldton, were all on our itinerary and were all covered adequately so by the time Tom was to fly to Sydney to see the rest of my extended family, I had well and truly worn him out.

The Tardun pilgrimage was very special though and Tom was delighted to see the place I had called ‘my home in the bush’ as a child. My thanks for the many Brothers and friends who over the last four weeks helped me make Tom so welcome. I will be forever grateful and he has never stopped telling me what great friends I have. I returned to Broome on the same day Tom flew out of Perth and tried hard to return my life to something resembling normal.

An evening drive recently to Cable Beach to see the sunsets, which by the way is a feature we enjoy all the year round, suggested to me that the season is changing as we were plagued by hundreds of dragon flies. (Mini helicopters) One good thing is they were feasting on the mosquitos and any other insects that were flying around.

I am told the dragon flies usually augers in the start of the dry season so maybe we have seen the last of the heavy rains. As I write this newsletter Palm Sunday approaches and then the local church really comes to life with the sacred time of Holy Week. Now that Berkeley and I are both back to normal and enjoying a little peace and quiet here in Broome we can join in with the local community to commemorate the Jesus story once again.

The builders have been in to replace one rafter in the 36Bs roof space, which the white ants took a liking to. Thank goodness we got to it before more damage was done. As I mentioned earlier, the Kimberley weather has started to change for the better, though slowly, and the temperatures are no longer oppressive and even the humidity has started to ease up, so things are ready here for any visitors who wish to avail of our hospitality. Unfortunately Cable Beach had to be closed from time to time at this time of the year.

This has been due to either crocodile sightings or jelly fish infestation. This has caused me to frequent the local swimming pool instead, which has just recently been given a two million dollar upgrade. Finally, as a week day member of the local golf course I still enjoy several mid-week games with the locals and Centacare remains my main ministry five mornings a week and as usual we as busy as ever helping those in need.

Well that’s about it. Berkeley and I are well and send out Easter greetings to all.

Till next time.

by Brother Peter Thrupp

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