Kurunegala, Sri Lanka. We dream of a Congregation committed to universal brotherhood (Fratelli tutti), justice, peace, and the care of the common home (Laudato si’). In a spirit of synodality, we collaborate with people of different cultures, ethnicities, and religions for the transformation of the world in accord with God’s plan (cf. CC 46).
The Novitiate House of St. Joseph Vaz Independent Delegation seems to have had an experience of living this dream in the first week of August 2022. Fr. S. Maria Arul, CMF, the Novice Master, recounts to us their experience with the two guest monks at Casa Claret.
On the evening of August 1, 2022, I received a call from Buddhist Monk Adicca Ramsi from Myanmar, saying he wanted to visit me with Ratana Nanda Bhante from Bangladesh. They both are in Sri Lanka at two different Universities for their higher learning in Psychology and Buddhism, respectively. They are men of experience and exposed to different countries and cultures. They arrived in our novitiate community on 2nd August before lunch. During our conversation, they happily agreed to stay with us that night.
Their presence and sharing were very enriching. Our novices were highly impressed and edified by their simple lifestyle with very little luggage to carry, sense of respect for the elders, concern for the suffering humanity concretely by way of distributing materials to over poor 1500 families in Sri Lanka, high sense of universal brotherhood transcending religious affiliations, friendly approach, and appreciative attitude. The monks took the initiative of teaching about an hour the Buddhist Psychotherapy, namely Breathing Exercises, Loving and Kindness Meditation, and Walking Meditation methods.
Our hospitality and sharing impacted the monks deeply about the Christian Religious Life. It was an occasion of experience and mutual learning, and appreciation of our differences.
After leaving us, Monk Adicca Ramsi texted me about his experience with us:
“Firstly, I would like to thank my dear Father for your invitation. At the beginning of the trip to Casa Claret Church, I thought the trip was just for friendship. But we had a fruitful conversation about many topics such as monastic lives, peaceful coexistence among diversity, human values, contributions, etc.
In the evening, what we could do together, deeper and more meaningful than morning conversation, sharing mediation techniques (known as Buddhist Psychotherapy) and practicing meditation together. When I listened to the participants’ satisfied responses, I felt appreciated. During that time, I felt more peaceful and tranquil. That is why I would like to mention the meaningful invitation and trip to Casa Claret Church. We were able to do our trip meaningful and deep, because of you my dear Father Arul, so I would like to thank you again. I will never forget the occasion spent with all of you.”Adicca Ramsi
The Claretian International Novitiate, also known as Casa St. Claret, is in Kurunegala City in the Northwestern province of Sri Lanka. For six years, this has been serving the Congregation as an international novitiate.