A VISIT TO LITTLE FLOWER MONASTERY
Being schooled in a traditional Roman Catholic School – St Joseph’s in Trichy, I knew a feast meant a church meeting, a remembrance of saint who had done yeoman service to humans in the name of God.
Not to be ministered unto but to minister
Also near to where I used to live in Puliakulam road, Coimbatore, is a Little Flower Orphanage run by nuns. People of all faiths and all religions used to visit on some festive day (birthday of their loved ones, death anniversaries) and donate generously food, clothes, music and time to the inmates. The inmates were the abandoned elderly, the terminal, the orphans and the unloved people on this earth. My late dad used to visit the Little Flower Orphanage and apparently used to donate stuff on all our birthday – something I heard of, only after his death.
Along with my son Pravin, I attended the service today for 45 minutes, followed by lunch by the order of Little Flower Monastery to the priests, the parishioners and some of the invited guests. People of all religion were invited to it and that was the speciality.
What impressed me were many things. First of all, the punctuality of entire event. Lisieux School is a very popular school and the Little Flower Monastery is situated in it. The school is comprehensive with full complement of class rooms, playing courts and other facilities.
The chapel in the campus was a piece of art. One felt that one was sitting inside a museum in Italy the Vatican city and not in Coimbatore. The painted cut glass had inscriptions of incidents from the Scriptures done in an elaborate style.
Suffering of Christ
Glass etching is done by creating art on the glass by a laborious process of application of acidic, caustic and abrasive materials. Dr Alisha Eva Mervyn has performed and shown me the results. This takes effort, skill and time. It stands the stead of time over centuries.
Crucifixion of Christ
Replica of the painting on the ceiling - of Michaelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’ reminded me of the Sistine Chapel. The picture shows two figures God and Adam. God is shown as an elderly but muscular with along beard and drapery surrounded by angels without wings. God is not depicted as the all powerful one with royal garments, but draped in a simple drapery showing He is easily amenable to Adam and to the common man.
Paining of God and Adam
The dome of church was concave and was outstanding with painting of the dove trifurcating to meaningful themes. Domes of Vatican churches depict history from the Bible and this dome too stood as a lesson the history of mankind.
The interior color theme was brown, acoustics were perfect like in a music studio. The chapel had many doors leading to it and the seating was on wooden spacious pews.
The altar depicts the holiest aspect of church and it showed just by looking.
Being a Christian, I am used to live organ music in church. It was a novel experience to hear the recorded songs sung in Karnatic style of serene music. One could have easily heard this music anywhere. It was melodious and soothing to the soul.
The priest in charge and Rev Fr Francis spoke on St Therese and Little Monastery respectively.
Rev Fr Francis
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (2 January 1873 – 30 September 1897) is one of the most popular saints in the history of the church. Pope Saint Pious X called her "the greatest saint of modern times". Rev Fr Francis spoke on the achievements of Lisieux institutions including the international school. Avila convent was mentioned for producing outstanding examination results and young women of high caliber. He also thanked the mixed gathering of priests, nuns and the general public.
Followed by the feast. I was so happy to meet my friend of long standing Rev Sister Shaliny, the Principal of Avila Convent.
Rev Sis Shaliny, Principal of Avila Convent
Our luncheon table was shared with Dr Janardhanan, an old friend and surgeon. He told me that every year he was a guest of the church and he made it a point to attend. All our religions, devotion to the higher power help us to become better humans. An interaction with social mingling goes a long way to understanding and peace.
(Special thanks to Dr Pravin Hector John for his expert pictures used here)