Casimir's association with Columbans goes back to the devastation after the Korean War. Now 80 years of age and in failing health he still has a deep interest in the welfare of migrant people in his local area. On March 1st this year Kasan Migrant Centre marked his birthday with a cake and happy birthday greetings. Casimir has a good sense of humour and is a gentle and open minded person. Casimir's welcome and support for migrants springs from a deep faith and a willingness to be a Good Samaritan to those in need.
Denise welcomed people traumatised during the war in the Balkans and "cradled" them in her home until life flowed back into them; she volunteers at a boarding school for children and goes there in the evening to bring tenderness, joy and laughter; she meets a stranger on a plane and allows them unburden themselves so that they arrive at their destination uplifted; she reaches out to Asian migrant workers in parts of the Middle East (where some of her own children live) and then, as you can see, there is the love she pours on her children and grandchildren! She is truly an Easter person.
Columban Kevin O'Rourke offers his translation of a poem by Ku Sang, one of Korea's finest Catholic poets, with the comment that he can't imagine a more Easter centred statement of the beauty of life: I want the ecstasy of flight I want to don wings in the company of the angels, to be a caterpillar become a butterfly, to have the whole planetary system as my garden
Luis Ponce is a widower, 73 years of age and lives in Alto Hospicio, Chile. Known as Brother Ponce, he is everywhere serving others, visiting the sick, getting rights for old people, doing liturgies in the drug rehabilitation centre, receiving people at the door of the church of San Columbano. He was brought up in foster homes and as a young worker representative was kept in detention by the military government. Reunited with his wife and family he began driving a taxi. Four years ago he was told he has cancer but it seems to be in remission. He says "I believe the Lord wants me to make Him present".
Philip Bonafacio is a Columban priest from the Philippines working in Japan. He finds signs of hope in the faith and life of his small community in Matsudo: a child's baptism, a Confirmation group, celebrating a birthday .
Maxima on horseback, is a poor 'campesina' from Cajamarca Peru, living on a small holding but who took on the might of a giant transnational mining company who were after her piece of land in their search for gold. They demolished her home but she fought a phenomenal battle, and is here seen arriving in to her newly erected home.
Mrs. Razia runs a little school in a brick kiln which in the Parish of Sheikhupura, about 60 kilometers from Lahore, Pakistan. Mrs. Razia has been working with the Columbans for at least 30 years, and has been involved in justice and peace, women's rights, adult literacy, and children's education. She's certainly an Easter person, and continues to bring life to very many people in a joyful, enthusiastic, and effective manner. In these days we're supporting her efforts to educate the children who live near the brick kiln where her husband is a labourer.
Nigel Thoman: Now 70 years old. A great friend to many of the Columbans. For the last 30 years or so he has been living in a home for old Chinese men. He leaves the home every morning (10 miles from Suva) at 5 am each morning to come to the Cathedral to open the doors and set up for Mass and rings the Cathedral bells. Although not the sacristan he knows more about the running of the place than anyone
else. On Sunday morning he stays for all the morning Masses. He doesn’t take a penny for his services - he says that God provides.
Young people from the community of Santana, Cidade Olimpica, Maranhao, Brazil. They are the descendants of escaped slaves, who formed communities known as Quilombos . Slavery was not legally ended in Brazil until 1888.
Columbans Sr Rita Moore, Frs Tony O'Brien and Liam O'Keeffe have between them well over a hundred years of service in Korea. They look for inspiration to people like Oudalike Pai (she must have had a German Benedictine to thank for that baptismal name) and Justina Choi, long time leaders of our Supporters Club in the Seoul area; and to young people like Juri Park just returned from overseas work as a Lay Missionary and Gonzalo Bourquez a Columban student on overseas training from Chile.
The people of Tacloban in the Philippines, like many other communities who suffer so much from natural and man-made disasters continue to reflect the resilience and the hope that life is possible for all.
Walter Berto was born into a Peruvian family struggling hard to break out of the cycle of poverty. At the age of one he contracted polio, but managed schooling and outings with a bicycle and a crutch, until a wheelchair became necessary. Disaster struck the family when the river Rimac undermined their home till it fell down into the river.
He helps in an Association for people with special abilities-which compensate for their learning difficulties; he helps with the accounts, breeds cuyes and teaches others to use computers. He gained his degree in Economic Sciences through online courses.
His family are still looking for a suitable place to set up their own home once again. That's a long process for them, but Walter is sustained by hope that the Lord of life will make it a reality some day.