Ted and Shirley Valentine

Making a real difference

Shirley Valentine writes:

As a nursing graduate of St Louis University, Missouri, I met Tom Dooley MD, a former alumnus who spoke of his work as a medical missionary in Laos. His inspirational talk moved me to become involved. When Fr Abraham [Murray], a Canadian Jesuit who was working in Darjeeling, toured Canada in 1961, people invited me to meet him, given my interest in charity work. We have supported projects he founded since then, for more than 50 years. We used to give up our Friday dinner dessert and save money for Darjeeling.

My mother also started to support Fr Abraham and corresponded with him. My youngest sister visited Fr Abraham, spending Christmas at SASAC, and our eldest son, Tom, travelled to Kurseong and spent time teaching Nepali students English after graduating from Dalhousie Law (1986). He returned with his wife, Samantha, to visit in 1989.

We all realized we were part of an outstanding development – making a real difference in the lives of so many families in that corner of the world.

We visited SASAC for 12 days in 2004 and about 10 in 2007. We have seen the unbelievable growth and development. Recently we’ve been more involved with Sr Ann Francesca’s Flame of Hope whose creation and growth can also be attributed to Fr Abraham. To be a part of this for more half a century has been a privilege. Ted and I are servants – “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17).