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Church where she is solemnly installed. She also looked awe-inspiring for we are told that the crown of Our Lady was of gold and it is remotely connected to Fr. Charles’ room and anyone who dared to touch it would invite instant gunshot!

del where we managed to write our Higher Secondary examination which was done in earnest with the intention of making to the novitiate.

For some, food was a problem both in quantity and quality but to me it wasn’t as I was most of the time a humble table boy at superiors’ table especially when benefactors and co-operators were around. One thing that made me particularly happy was the possibility of various types of games we could engage in. Our intellectual pursuits and spiritual practices kept us thoroughly engaged all through the year. After a little over two years of happy stay, we were allowed to make a home visit for a month and then proceed to Sonada in Darjeeling in pursuit of Hr. Secondary studies. Accordingly we reached Salesian College, Sonada on 16th May 1959.

We were off to Sunnyside, Upper Shillong for our novitiate on 1st of April 1963. There we met among others a very amiable and ascetic looking elderly priest, Fr. Joseph Bacchiarello, our Novice Master. We were 21 in our batch; three left before vestition and the rest, five coadjutors and 13 clerics striving to transform ourselves to be worthy sons of Don Bosco. I was, like all others, quite earnest to know what is required to be a Salesian and took seriously to the study of the Rules and Regulations so much so that when there was a competition, I got the first prize.

The Joy of being a Salesian of Don Bosco

In the novitiate we had no grotto and when the Novice Master expressed his desire to have a grotto built, a sine qua non symbol of Life in Sonada Salesian piety; we took it as a privilege and Life was smooth in Sonada despite its unpre- contributed to its realization both in cash dictable weather of rain, cold and sunshine. and labour. The present grotto is a testimony The chilly weather did not affect me much to the devotion of our Novice Master and of though some were afflicted badly by painful the novices of that year to the Blessed Virgin chilblains. Many took these chilblains hero- Mary. ically as winter penance. Bath in winter was very interesting; the weekly hot water sup- What’s in a name! ply was scarce and so some of us had to have recourse to partial bath in cold water which You may be wondering who the author of this meant washing one leg first and drying it memorial is. I waited this far to tell you about up and then attempting the other. But many two changes that took place in my life: one of us were kept really warm by the furious nominal and the other, vocational. You may games and the weekly brisk walks down the not be surprised to know that I am called Sehills which made life at Sonada rather adven- bastian but many others were (surprised)! turous. I was told that my parents and relatives had The first thing I used to do every day upon planned to name me Antony, after our parish waking was to look out at the sky through the patron. After all somebody in the family must hazy windows. A somewhat clear sky made be named after the patron saint of the Parme happy as it assured the possibility of out- ish as per the traditional belief of the times. door games for that day. I liked all kinds of After my mother returned home late night in games except the Arabian flag. Those years haste after the first day of celebration of St. I did not bother much about my studies as Sebastian’s feast of my village before the conI knew that I would get along rather easily clusion of the much awaited fireworks of 17th without much effort. The desire to be first in February 1942 and before the dawn of second the class as in my primary school days got day of the two-day festivity, I was born. My parents and acquaintances considered it a dishort-circuited with games. vine intervention and named me Devassy, the When we reached standard XI, the final year local Malayalam version of Sebastian. of what is known as Higher Secondary, the Chinese war forced us to dash down to Ban- I was called Devassy till I reached my novitiate when my late Novice Master, Rev. Fr. AUGUST 2019

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