Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Quotation of the Week (October 31 - November 6, 2010)

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A fallen leaf on some stones
at the Lawachara National Park, Bangladesh

Photo (July, 2008) © Ujjal Peter D'Costa


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Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Photo Meditation of the Month (October, 2010): GIVING ONESELF TO OTHERS


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Bunches of ginger
Photo (Toronto:August, 2010 ) © Jerome D'Costa

Giving Oneself to Others


In Bangla (Bengali) we call it ada, in English ginger. It is a spicy herb extremely popular in Asian cooking. It is also used as an herbal medicine. It is rich in anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It also helps in stomach disorders.

Although it does not look attractive, its benefits are many. The outward appearance should not mislead us.

Among the creations, mankind is an important one. Mankind, like the ginger, can be helpful and useful to all other creations. Sometimes, mankind behave completely different than intended. People destroy the Nature, pollute environment, become subversive to other human beings, and cause havoc to other creations.

If it wants to, like the ada, mankind can live in peaceful coexistence with others and benefit and enrich others for the better. Let's give it a try for the best of us and the earth and its other creations.





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Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Quotation of the Week (October 24 - 30, 2010)

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A burning hearth at the Sibbald Point on Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada
Photo (August 28, 2010) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa



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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Extravagant Colours of the Canadian Autumn -- 2

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The following autumn colours were visible in the Rouge Park, Toronto.









Photos (October 11, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

(The End)
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Extravagant Colours of the Canadian Autumn -- 1

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Canada, at present, is in the midst of the autumn season. The Nature is in flame here. Gorgeous autumn colours (yellow, orange, brown, bronze, red and purple) in leaves are aspread from the east coast to the west coast, from the north to the south.

With the passing of the summer, the autumn comes with shorter and colder days which make trees know that they have to get ready for the coming winter. Since there wouldn't be enough sunlight and water during the winter, the trees know that they wouldn't be able to use the photosynthesis process (turning water and carbon dioxide into glucose or sugar) for producing food. So, to survive the winter, tree roots, trunks, branches and twigs begin to preserve glucose within themselves and at the same time stop supplying food to their leaves. This gradual stoppage of food makes leaves change colour and fall off to the ground.

Deciduous trees are the ones that shed off their leaves in the autumn. These trees are oaks, hickories, maples, birches, beeches, chestnuts, cottonwoods, dogwoods, cherries, and some others.

Now let's enjoy the autumn colours in and around Toronto.










All photos (September-October, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

(Continued)

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Monday, October 18, 2010

My Distant Acquaintance with Brother Andre, CSC

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Brother Andre Bessette, CSC
Painting (Toronto: Sept. 29, 2010) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa


It was late 1950's. In the Little Flower Seminary -- a preparatory seminary -- at Bandura, Dt. Dhaka, American missionary Father Leo J. Sullivan, CSC, was the rector. He was a voracious reader. He even read magazines during mealtime in the seminary dining room! He used to subscribe to many U.S. and Canadian magazines, mostly Catholic. Later, after his reading, he would pass those magazines to us seminarians.

One was the bimonthly magazine, The Oratory, published, since 1927, by the Holy Cross Fathers at St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Canada. This magazine would give wider coverage on St. Joseph, Brother Andre and his work, and the oratory with a lot of photos and sketches. I would read it with intense interest and curiosity. I learned a lot about Brother Andre and his work through this magazine.

I particularly felt an affinity with Brother Andre due to his qualities that resonated with those of our people in Bangladesh. Brother Andre was born and raised in a village outside Montreal. He had barely any literacy and worked as a labourer before entering the Brotherhood in the Congregation of Holy Cross. He had a kind of rustic simplicity in his manners and lifestyle.

In Bangladesh, most of the people in the late 1950's were living in rural areas with simple but hard-working lifestyle. Their literacy rate was extremely low and they barely earned enough. So, the story of Brother Andre and his work seemed all too familiar to me.

Later in life, I again came across Brother Andre when one of my children had a line of pea-like nodules in a thick neck vein. Doctors, although not sure of what the cause was, told us to be alert and said that these might turn into tuberculosis later. When American Brother Ralph, CSC, of St. Gregory's High School, where my child studied, came to know of our predicament, he gave us a relic of Brother Andre. He told us to pray to Brother Andre regularly and touch the relic on the child's neck.

To our relief, the visible round nodules gradually vanished. There was no sign of anything amiss. We do not ascribe this to Brother Andre's intervention, but that experience has a lasting effect on us.

Although Brother Andre was dead a long ago, his indirect influence touched me many thousand miles away from Montreal.


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Brother Andre, CSC, Is a Saint Today


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Brother Andre Bassette, CSC (1845-1937)
Painting (Toronto: October 8, 2010) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa


Pope Benedict XVI, in an impressive ceremony at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican today, officially canonized Brother Andre Bassette, CSC, the first Canada-born saint, along with five others belonging to different countries. Thousands of Church officials, priests, Brothers, Sisters, lay persons and foreign dignitaries were present in the open-air solemn Mass and ceremony.

Bangladeshi Catholics Also Feel Elated at Brother Andre's Canonization

Brother Andre is the first saint belonging to the Congregation of Holy Cross that was founded at Le Mans, France, in 1837 by Father Basil Anthony Moreau, CSC, (who has been beatified in 2007). Missionaries from this congregation at present work in 14 countries, including Bangladesh. In 1852, Holy Cross Fathers, Brothers and Sisters started work in the dioceses of Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh. The canonization of Brother Andre is, therefore, a good news for many Bangladeshi Catholics.

Two Miracles of Brother Andre

Two miracles through the intercession of Brother Andre were required for making him a saint. The first miracle occurred in 1958, when Giusepe Carlo Audino of Quebec Province of Canada was spontaneously healed of his terminal cancer after earnestly praying to Brother Andre. This healing was medically inexplicable and it led the Brother to be beatified. From then on, he was being called "Blessed Brother Andre."

The second miracle, that occurred in 1998, made Brother Andre eligible for sainthood. In that year, a 9-year-old Quebec boy, on a bicycle, was struck by a car and he received severe head injuries (massive cranial trauma with irreversible coma). Medically, there was no chance for him to get healed. His relatives prayed to Brother Andre and applied on him "St. Joseph's oil", taken from St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Canada. The boy miraculously was healed of his injury. Now he is living a normal life. The boy's family wants privacy and want the boy to remain anonymous. After today's canonization, Brother Andre will be known as "Saint Brother Andre."

Brother Andre: A Simple and Humble Man

Brother Andre, who was born in 1845 a few kilometres away from Montreal, Quebec, comes from a rural area. He was barely literate but seriously a religious person. For 40 years, he was a Brother in the Congregation of Holy Cross. He served as a porter (doorman), launderer, janitor and sacristan (helper in the church) at Notre Dame College, Montreal. He also came in contact with the poor and sick for whom he devoted his spare time. His rustic simplicity and untainted humility attracted thousands of these disadvantaged people. They requested him for his prayers and for their healing he gave them "St. Joseph's oil." Innumerable people were healed. As a testimony to their healing, many of them left their canes and crutches with the Brother and walked home. Some of these canes and crutches are still visible at St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal. Brother never claimed any credit for the healings. He used to say: "I am a man just like you." He, of course, attributed all the miracles to St. Joseph. Every year, two million tourists and pilgrims visit St. Joseph's Oratory.

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The Quotation of the Week (October 17 - 23, 2010)

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A maple tree and some flowers at the College Park, Toronto
Photo (April 30, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa


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Friday, October 15, 2010

A Doodle: GOD


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A doodle announcing "God Is Alive"
Doodle (Dhaka: Sept. 29, 1990) © Jerome D'Costa




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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Flirting With the Past: A House Rent Receipt Speaks History


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A two-room-house rent receipt,
 dated January 9, 1943 (Calcutta, India)

It was 1942-1943. Calcutta (presently called Kolkata) was then in the British-ruled India. The British and their allies were fighting the deadly Second World War with the Nazi Germany and her allies -- Italy, Turkey and Japan.

The above receipt gives a picture of the renting situation. My dad, Peter D'Costa, kept this receipt with him for decades. Now I find history in it. I do not know the conversion rate of the Indian rupees during the Second World War, but at present rate Rupees 30.00 is equal to US $0.68 only!


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Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Quotation of the Week (October 10 - 16, 2010)

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A large flower pot at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Photo (Sept. 27, 2009) © Jerome D'Costa

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Abstract Art

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Abstract Art
Artwork (Dhaka: July 2, 1991) © Jerome D'Costa



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Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Quotation of the Week (October 3 - 9, 2010)

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"The Pain"
Doodle (Toronto: April 10, 2010) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa



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Friday, October 1, 2010

Flirting With the Past: The Pope on a Rickshaw in Dhaka

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Pope John Paul II taking a ride on a rickshaw in the compound of the
Apostolic Nunciature (Vatican Embassy) in Baridhara, Dhaka,
on November 19, 1986
. Vatican nuncio (ambassador) Archbishop Luigi
Accogli (3rd from the left) and Archbishop Michael Rozario of Dhaka
(1st from the right) are looking on.

Photographer unknown, photo @ the courtesy of Father Alexius Jyoti Gomes

Do a majestic pope and a humble rickshaw go together? Of course, not!

Although one chance in a million or more, the twain can also meet. Bangladesh has the unique record of having a reigning pope take a cycle rickshaw ride in Dhaka. The authority of The Guiness Book of World Records should take a note of it and have it recorded in their world-renowned book.

This unpredictable incident happened in Dhaka when His Holiness Pope John Paul II was on a two-day official visit to Bangladesh on November 19-20, 1986. Pope John Paul II was fascinated by the presence of thousands of tri-cycle rickshaws in Dhaka and he showed interest in riding onto one. Archbishop Luigi Accogli, the then Vatican Nuncio (ambassador) to Bangladesh, helped fulfill the pope's wish by having a rickshaw in his compound. After taking his lunch at the embassy, the pope took the ride there. Bookmark and Share