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I grew up in India. The last four years of my formal education were spent in Loyola College in Madras, now Chennai. Loyola is a Jesuit college and that is where I learned about the Jesuits and their focus on caring for the poor and those in need.
In 1963, my wife Connie and I, together with our two young daughters, came to Canada. Shortly after we arrived, I saw a letter by Fr Ed Burns published in the Globe and Mail. He was a Canadian Jesuit who went to Darjeeling, India in 1951. He founded Hayden Hall, a centre that serves poor people, especially women, offering education, livelihood and healthcare programs. The letter struck a chord with me and I wrote to him. He replied and we started our correspondence and friendship until his death. I would get regular blue airmail letters from him, typed using an old manual typewriter with a handwritten note at the end. Hayden Hall and its mission of caring for the poor was all he lived for. Hayden Hall became the focus of my charitable activities through Canadian Jesuits International.
The theme of this newsletter is “equity and equality under the new normal” and speaks to the need for a just recovery for all. India is a country of extremes, with a large number of very rich people and a growing middle class. However, a great majority of people are extremely poor. The Jesuits in India devote their lives to them regardless of their religion. Supporting Hayden Hall and CJI is my way of making a just recovery for all become a reality.