Introduction to Testimonials

For decades, supporters have read the monthly letters reporting on the people and activities at SASAC. Many have visited there in person. Many have met SASAC members on their cross-Canada tours. Below are excerpts of supporters’ comments about how their own lives have been touched by knowing Father Abraham and the people of SASAC. The first two are from advisors to the Coalition. They are followed by excerpts of interviews as well as messages sent in 2004 to the producer of the film “Louder Than Words,” during the preparation phase for the documentary. (Family names abridged to protect privacy.)


 I think that one of Father Abraham’s greatest gifts to us, his supporters, has been to teach us the true meaning of Social Justice. In my own experience of talking about Father Abraham to groups of students or other friends, the response has always been positive and whole-hearted. I could give many examples. I think what we are most concerned about is that in this time of transition, we want Father’s friends to be respected and encouraged, not confused and left out. I think also that to most of us, Father Abraham has been a spiritual inspiration that has strengthened our own faith.  Again, this calls for respect and, as an aging person myself (86!), I know what it feels like to realize that one can no longer pursue one’s life work. A community that respects its elders is a community blessed by God, I believe. I think we want to see our friend (our ‘hero’ – I would dare to say) respected and supported as he lets go of the work to which he has given his life. Also, in my experience, the best administrators are those who come into a new situation, taking time to assess well what has been done and not making drastic changes too soon.
Sister Margaret Connolly, Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ)

Ultimately, I want to support a SASAC that has the philosophy Fr. Abraham has developed and that has been absorbed by Sudhir, Cecilia et al. This is a SASAC that realizes you can’t simply “train and abandon” the poor, that in some cases “the poor you will have always with you.” I shudder to see the day when the poor who go to SASAC for training become “clients,” the politically correct term here. They have always been truly brothers and sisters and friends. This is the core difference. [We] have grown up in the North American side of the SASAC family, but we have grown up to really think of those in India as our brothers and sisters… I have made four trips to SASAC and have watched some of the little ones I met on my first journey over twenty years ago grow to be wonderful young adults. I want my grandchildren, the fourth generation of SASAC supporters in my family, to know their children as brothers and sisters.

Fr. Abraham’s constant communication with us–via letters, and visits, especially Canada Tour 89–has not only kept us informed of the “what” of every new project, but as importantly, the “why” of those projects. We have received an education in the difficult task of truly helping the poor with respect not only for their personhood but also for their culture. Most SASAC supporters have a “history” with SASAC. We know the stories. We know the successes and failures. We truly feel that SASAC is a family.
We have complete confidence in the leaders Fr. Abraham has been working with over the years. Most of them were involved in Canada Tour 89, and we were able to become face-to-face friends with them. We admired their spirit, dedication, talents, and courage at that time, and as older brothers and sisters (or proud aunts and uncles) we have followed their progress over the ensuing twent years. They know us and we know and trust them.
Kathy Martin, Illinois


Audrey (Ontario) and her family have been supporting Father since 1966. They donated money saved by abstaining from Friday deserts for years. Visited Kurseong in 1979 as part of a group with Jane Davidson. ‘Father’s letters were the thing that kept my support going all these years.’ Saw the group from India with Father in 1989 in Kitchener. Supports SASAC because she feels his work is “innovative, important and real.” Now in her nineties.

Agneta (British Columbia) and three generations of her family have supported Father Abraham and SASAC. When her daughter won a lottery she donated $2,000 to SASAC for the Good Shepherd Village

Jaya (Alberta) supported Father Abraham for over forty years. Around 1960 when Father Abraham visited Calgary on a cross-Canada speaking tour, she heard him speak to a group of young patients (he was a young physician at the time). Over the years has always been impressed with the many developments at SASAC. Letters and pictures from Father Abraham always made him aware of the need for support.

Alfred (British Columbia) and wife and he have been supporting Father now since the early 1980s. He loved that SASAC’s goal was to help teach the poor to help themselves, and that his donations went entirely to SASAC with no administrative fees. Was truly amazed at Father Abraham’s ingenuity with projects and his seeing things through even when there were major setbacks. Loves his letters with their humour. Some of his six children have also become supporters. Would like to help us in any way he can.

Sonya M. (Ontario) has been supporting since she was 14yrs old. Her mother supported SASAC as well. Sonya and her sister formed the “Kurseong Aid Group” in junior high school as a social club. Father Abraham’s direct correspondence made her feel appreciated and understood. When she moved to a new school, she brought her social club along, with principal goal being fundraising. SASAC has influenced her by developing leadership skills, her profession as a teacher, and spiritually.

John (United Kingdom) and wife went to India in March 2002 with no idea of SASAC.  The Lonely Planet Guide (tour book) gave an account of SASAC. They rang the number given, were welcomed by Sudhir, and visited the projects. They donate when they can. Fr. Abraham and his crew hold a special place in their hearts.

FJB (Ontario) and wife started to support Father Abraham in the late 1960s. Their initial involvement was to help Father A in helping the school kids to rebuild their school. She remembers signing his Book of Life when he went through Kitchener showing his slides about Kurseong. It was never easy for them to contribute, but because of Father Abraham’s letters, they always remembered that there were needy children. Father Abraham’s letters were of great comfort and encouragement to them. They specially appreciate his personal letters. They belong to a group called “IDEA” that came together to collect their thoughts and memories of Father Abraham.

Carmel & Clive (British Columbia) first learned about Father Abraham in 1974 and what he was doing. Their family had just escaped Burma during WWII and had settled north of Delhi for five years. Wife is from the Canadian Maritimes so felt a close connection with Father Abraham. First met in Victoria, but also saw him in Ottawa when he was going cross country to raise awareness. Appreciates the fact that not only does he care about people but also about the land and environment. Have made big donations towards SASAC’s forest program. 

Clare (Ontario) has been associated with Father Abraham’s work since the 1960s.  Went to Kurseong with first group Jane Davidson ever took along, and again in 1990 with Jane. She has kept all of his letters since the beginning. Age 89 in 2004.

Ted & Shirley (Alberta). Both signed the Book of Life in 1961 along with hundreds of other Canadians. Family members have visited Kurseong, including their son in 1986 and 1989. As Rotarians they joined a polio immunization team in Lucknow India, and also spent time with Father Abraham in Kurseong. They make presentations to many groups for SASAC, with a video filmed by Sudhir, and a PowerPoint presentation of their own photos. Inspired by Father’s work, their friends have compiled a book of Father’s letters called, “Letters from India.”

Eileen (Ontario) and husband first heard about Father Abraham in 1975. Were captivated and wanted to be a part of what he was doing. Longed to visit SASAC but never had the opportunity. She says “miracles have been accomplished where destitution prevails.”

Wayne (New Brunswick) and family have been sending money to Father Abraham for more than 20 years. Started helping because they could see the concrete results of their donations Father Abraham’s letters motivated them to continue providing support. Hosted one of the young people from SASAC for a couple of nights during their cross-Canada trip. Daughter of about the same age as the girl from SASAC spent some wonderful time together, and this made their support experience real. Father Abraham’s letters are inspiring. “In fact, I started keeping them a few years ago to reread when I need some inspirational perspective.”

Pauline (British Columbia) said, “I have never before met anyone that impressed me so and to this day I am in awe of [Father Abraham]. The tremendous work that he does and the joy he gives and receives from his beloved poor is a great inspiration to me.”   Monthly letters are always a joy to read and it simply amazes one as to where he finds the time to write them. “I love the way he keeps us all up to date of what is happening and although I have never had the opportunity to visit India and see first-hand what he and his people do there, I feel so much a part of it.” The night Father Abraham visited her church many years ago, she pledged to help financially each month, and continues to do so. “Though my donation is small, I am so honoured to be a part of this wonderful group. I always think of him whenever I am asked to help and think if he can do so much, I can do the little that I do. I try to pass on his website to my friends and hope by doing so I can get others interested.”

Peter (Nova Scotia) first learned of SASAC from a classmate in law school in the early 1980s. Friend inspired him to join the network, and he has been contributing ever since. What particularly appeals to him about SASAC, above the obvious virtues of its cause and work, is that close to 100% goes directly to the project. “There are endless worthy causes, of course, and no one can hope to support them all, or even to discriminate amongst them on a merit basis, but the direct and personal communication with SASAC is very important to me. Father Abraham’s regular and personal letters (with pictures as well) make one feel part of a global family in a wonderful way. I have long since adopted Father’s threefold “”logo”” of Peace, Joy, Love as a constant mantra in my daily life.”

Cleaver (Ontario) first met Father Abraham in 1984 and has been a supporter ever since. Has kept letters, photos, and movies, and also copies of all his television appearances.

Barbara (Manitoba) and husband have been contributing since 1964. Has kept virtually every letter since then, as well as many pictures. Has visited SASAC twice. Learned of St Alphonsus School from a relative. Children donated some of their hard-earned money from a paper delivery route. “We helped support a family in Kurseong and are very interested in seeing the work of SASAC continue.”

Monalisa (British Columbia) met Father Abraham and his young leaders when they came to Canada in 1989. From a developing country herself, she observes that half of the big projects initiated by government agencies all over the world in poor countries have failed because they don’t know the capacity, the limitations, the psychological blocks that poor people suffer from.

Flora (Ontario) started a group called ‘Friends of Father Abraham.’ Some members have been to SASAC.

Linda (Ontario) learned about SASAC about 20 years ago. An aunt went to the Kurseong with a group organized by Jane Davidson, a personal friend of her aunt’s. “In the late 1980s, Father Abraham brought a group of his young men and women on a Canadian tour, and we hosted this group in our community, billeting, and finding venues for their presentations. The highlight of this was naturally for us to finally meet Father Abraham in person and the opportunity to be encouraged by the enthusiasm of the young people accompanying him.”

 More coming…