Fr. Murray Abraham SJ, passed away on 28 August 2012 at Sr. Ann Francesca’s Flame of Hope residence in Matigara and was buried in Kurseong. Memorial events will be held in several locations to honor and celebrate Fr. Abraham’s life, work and his dedication to serving the people of Kurseong in Darjeeling District, India.

Memorial events were held in 2012 as follows.

  • Vancouver: Wednesday, November 21, at St. Mark’s Church, 5935 Iona Drive, Vancouver. Mass 7 pm. Reception 8 – 9:30 pm.
  • Toronto: Tuesday, November 27, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 520 Sherbourne St., Toronto. (6:30 to 8:00 pm) Contact: Canadian Jesuits International at cji@jesuits.ca or call toll free 1-800-448-2148
  • Spring Valley, Illinois
  • Calgary: Event was held on Wednesday October 10 at St. James Catholic Church, 5504 – 20 St SW.

LINKS

Canadian Jesuits International (CJI)

OTHER LINKS

MORE MEDIA

 

Related videos:

86th birthday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmTNAvkP_EE
85th birthday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FAdRn91nV8&feature=related

SAINT ALPHONSUS SOCIAL AND AGRICULTURAL CENTRE SUPPORTERS COALITION

In June 2007, to help save SASAC and the legacy of Fr. Murry Abraham, this Coalition got organized to communicate with CJI, the Darjeeling Jesuit Province, Jesuits of English Canada, and the Jesuit order in Rome. The Coalition ended its work in 2011 when a positive resolution was obtained, but we keep the details here for the record.

MISSION of COALITION: To see that the work started by the Saint Alphonsus Social and Agricultural Centre (SASAC) continues for decades into the future to provide whatever the poor need—food, clothing, shelter, employment, medicine and education—to free themselves and their own poor communities from the prison of poverty.

MOTTO: ”Helping the poor help themselves”

BACKGROUND: SASAC is the collective effort of thousands of the poor in Kurseong (near Darjeeling, India) and currently over 1,000 individuals and families around the world (mostly in Canada), led by Fr. Murray Abraham, SJ, who first started working there in 1959. (After serving as headmaster at St. Alphonsus School, he started SASAC in 1975.) Through the years, SASAC has brought together people from across the world for the common goal of working together to help the poor raise themselves out of poverty. In the process it has tested and proven many ways to accomplish this, with projects in education, agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, house building, appropriate technology, and many more. Until April 2006, SASAC continued to grow, but then a financial crisis arose in part due to the Indian government’s stricter enforcement on rules affecting foreign funds flows that affected the host organization, the Jesuit Province of Darjeeling. Since then, SASAC and other DJP projects have suffered from the stoppage of donated funds. At SASAC, all operations have virtually been halted and workers laid off or left. The SASAC Supporters’ Coalition is a global group of supporters and donors working first to identify the facts, and then identify ways to help revive the work of serving the poor.

ADVISORS: James Brown, Sister Margaret Connolly (RSCJ), Jane Davidson, Scott Herrington, Ben Hochhausen, Beverly McKee, Kathy Martin, Ted & Shirley Valentine. Spokesperson: Randy Helten.

MEMBERSHIP AND MAILING LIST: Anyone can join simply by sending us an e-mail message indicating your name and contact information. We will e-mail you periodic updates.

QUOTE: Of all the mission stations and missionaries that I visited – and there were quite a few I can tell you, of nearly all denominations, Father Abraham and SASAC stand out as by far the best: the most enlightened, the most practical, the widest compass – and on and on. He and his achievements are truly magnificent!!! (Kenelm Burridge, Professor of Anthropology (Retired), University of British Columbia, 2004, in reference to his research for study on Christian missionary endeavors) (See longer quote on “Expert Comment” tab.)

CHRONOLOGY (most recent to oldest):

2012: Here is video of Father Abraham’s 86th birthday (http://www.rhymedreflections.org/pages/birthday-movie.html), and you can also view collections of his writings here (http://www.rhymedreflections.org/).

2012: We released the “Louder Than Words” video of SASAC by Priscilla Wyrzykowski and a video update of SOJASI by Ben Hochhausen, and open a new chapter of support for our friends in Kurseong. Go to www.vimeo.com and search for SASAC and SOJASI to see video.

29 Sept 2011: Society of Jesus Agricultural and Social Institute (SOJASI) at www.sojasi.org is doing fine, with Cecilia George as director.  Himalayan Hope and Welfare Society (http://www.himalayanhope.org/) is also doing well, with Sudhir as the head. Father Abraham just celebrated his 86th birthday, which you can view here (http://www.rhymedreflections.org/pages/birthday-movie.html), and you can also view collections of his writings here (http://www.rhymedreflections.org/). We are preparing to close a chapter on this coalition, release Louder Than Words video soon, and open a new chapter of support for our friends in Kurseong. Stay tuned.

5 Dec 2009: *CJI has sent a letter to all Darjeeling donors announcing great news. The work of SASAC will now continue through two new organizations. If you haven’t received the letter but would like a copy, please send us an e-mail. More news soon! Click HERE for CJI’s mission report and photos.

25 Nov 2009: A high-level team from CJI visited Darjeeling Province in November 2009, and constructive solutions were the result. Announcement coming soon.

20 Feb2009: Still awaiting some progress. Nothing to report.

5 Dec 2008: DJP has sent CJI a paper regarding their plans for the future. The CJI board of directors is reviewing it. We (donors) await further word.

27 Sept 2008:  Scott (advisor) visited Kurseong in Sept to gather info which we’ll report on soon. But for now, please enjoy this video of Fr Abe with comments on the past, present, and future: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PngTzh7cj3s.

17 Sept 2008: We have received some e-mail and a phone call from CJI regarding our letters. A special subcommittee is considering issues relating to Darjeeling Province and SASAC. Main point: “It’s going to take some time to sort this out.” Canadian donors to other works in Darjeeling Province can expect a letter soon. SASAC donors will have to wait longer.

20 Aug 2008: We submit detailed response to Review Team Report, identifying errors of fact, omission, and inference, and also make some suggestions on a “final solution.” Discussions are ongoing.

4 July 2008: We receive draft Review Team report.

1 May 2008: The former managers of SASAC issue the first newsletter of a new organization they are establishing. Visit (www.ksac.in).

1 May 2008: A three-person review team (one Canadian, two Indians) begin a visit to Darjeeling Province to gather information. Primary purpose is to determine the situation of major projects and identify ways the two parties can move forward in the future in a cooperative relationship. Our Coalition also hopes that this process will help to clarify the current situation with SASAC and identify constructive ways to move forward and continue serving the poorest of the poor.

11 Mar 2008: Readers Digest India (largest English magazine in the country of a billion) carries a story titled “Father Abe’s Haven in the Himalayas.” Please e-mail us if you’d like to read it.

20 Feb 2008: Scott H. (advisor to our Coalition) visited Kurseong and had detailed discussions with many key persons. He sees some progress in efforts of former SASAC managers to revive activities serving the poor.

21 Feb 2008: Many donors in Canada received a letter dated 12 Feb from CJI this week, explaining the current situation. Freeze on funds (from Indian side) likely to continue to end of 2008. Canadian donations are being held in an interest-bearing account in Canada. Review team is likely to go to investigate the situation in March or April. We (Coalition) are quite happy with the letter. If you’re a donor but did not receive the letter, please contact CJI or us for a copy.

19 Jan 2008: Fr Adolfo Nicolas, is elected to lead the Society of Jesus at its General Congregation 35. We had written to the previous Superior General, and hope that the new Superior General will be sensitive to our concerns.

10 Jan 2008: CJI must pospone plans for its independent review team until the Darjeeling Jesuit office can respond to its queries, as it is currently in the midst of an intensive government investigation.

2 Dec 2007: CJI replies stating, among other points, that (1) an independent review team will visit Darjeeling Province in early 2008, (2) no further funds from Canadian donors will be released until a work plan is submitted by Darjeeling and approved by CJI, (3) CJI is committed to open communication with donors.

22 Nov 2007: Coalition sends letter to CJI, reporting on findings of the October group’s visit to SASAC and Kurseong. We also issue some suggestions and requests.

11 Nov 2007: A charity event at Bar None in Vancouver. DJ YOVAN (from Montreal) plays house music. Event hosted by Naz and Priscilla. Part of funds raised will go to SASAC.

8 Nov 2007: We are gathering input from the pilgrimage group’s visit in India and discussing solutions to suggest.

15 Oct 2007: Pilgrimage group is to arrive in Kurseong. Our Coalition is expecting a meeting or two with the Jesuits of Darjeeling to discuss the future of SASAC. Two members have created a blog of their trip, to be updated whenever they can access the Internet. Please visit http://www.kitandjane.ca/india/.

10 Oct 2007: Pilgrimage of 20 people (including 4 advisors of our Coalition) depart Canada for India. This is part of a long tradition led by Jane Davidson. Planning for this trip began back in the spring.

26 Sept 2007: Fr Abraham’s birthday. Many happy wishes were conveyed.

15 Sept 2007: The September issue of Reader’s Digest (Canada) carries a wonderful story (A Family Odyssey Through India) about SASAC and Fr Abraham, written by Debra Cummings? Let us know if you can’t get your hands on a copy to enjoy it yourself.

7 September 2007: We have had a fair amount of communication with CJI in Toronto and with the Jesuits in India. We’re hoping that the pilgrimage of 20 supporters in October will shed more light on everything and move us forward.

19 July 2007: Please visit the website of Canadian Jesuits International and download the latest edition of Mission News (bottom right corner)! This 6-page newsletter is a special issue about the work of Jesuit Province of Darjeeling, celebrating 50 years since its partnership began with the Jesuits of English Canada. It gives readers a good context for the current situation in the area, introduces some of the work of the Jesuits, and has a nice commentary by Fr Pappu who recently visited Canada. There’s not a word about SASAC, but SASAC donors who normally receive Mission News by regular mail will also receive a letter from the CJI Director about the situation in Darjeeling Province (please e-mail us if you would like a copy).

18 July 2007: We received a reply from the Father Provincial of the Jesuit Province of Darjeeling, providing some explanations for the current situation. Our advisory group is studying the letter and we intend to follow up on some points.

16 July 2007: Still awaiting responses from Darjeeling. Heavy monsoons have knocked out the road from Kurseong to Darjeeling, blocking transportation for a while. All at SASAC (Woodcot) are fine.

22 August 2007: The Coalition is still gathering news out of India regarding the current situation, and considering where things can go from here.

28 June 2007: We have sent letters to the key parties reminding that we await further information that we hope will lead to solutions.

22 May 2007: SASAC Supporters Coalition established to determine why SASAC has essentially been shut down and find out what can be done to resolve the situation. We sent letters to Canadian Jesuits International, the Jesuits of English Canada, and the Jesuits of Darjeeling asking for clarifications regarding the situation. Replies were received on 25 May, with some comments, but we were asked to wait for further clarifications.