Fr. P.C James SDB, the director of Don Bosco Vocational Training Centre (near Nirmala Convent, Isaitola, Idgah Road, Garia Phatak) Jhansi tells the miraculous events that led to setting up of Don Bosco Tech Jhansi as narrated to him by Franciscan Br. Peter Paul. Fr. James may be contacted on mobile phone 0091.7376992376
JHANSI – It happened in the year 1974, when Msgr. Mudartha was the Bishop of Jhansi, Rev. Fr. Joseph D’Aureo was the parish priest and Rev. Br. Peter Paul Thommachery, a member of the Franciscan brothers of the Blessed Sacrament, was in-charge of St. Joseph’s Boarding at Premnagar. Having 75 boys in the hostel, I was fully occupied with the day to day running of the boarding.
As the boarding in-charge, I was very much concerned about the boarder’s daily bread. The hostellers were hailing from rather poor Christian families and could not afford to contribute even Rs.15/- per month. In order to feed these children I decided to cultivate the land. However, I found that the scarcity of water would hamper the cultivation.
Soon I learned that there was a piece of cultivable land with a well full of water at Ghariaphatak, Isaitola, which belonged to the local Diocese. When I went to see the land, I was shocked to find that except one side of the wall facing the Nirmala convent, the other three sides were raised to the ground.
Added to this I was informed that the neighbors had carried away all the bricks for building their houses. As I was thoroughly disappointed at this pitiful situation of the campus, I resolved to toil hard to get back the stolen bricks and rebuild the wall and begin the cultivation. A man from the same village agreed to cultivate the land and share with us half the produce. We began the cultivation after fencing the boundary with thorny bushes. God blessed us with a bumper crop.
One day I accidently found some bricks with the inscription of St. Jude near the broken wall. I thought this was something special. Seeing more of the same kind inspired me to enquire and search for the rest of the bricks and then to rebuild the wall. I took one of the bricks to Bishop Mudartha and described the incident. Although he was surprised to see the inscription, he was hesitant of my suggestion to reclaim the bricks which were already used for making huts by the poor people around. However I made an attempt to collect the bricks back from the people and to rebuild the wall.
Meanwhile a stranger, who was simple, extraordinarily gentle and friendly, appeared on the spot to monitor the work. I could see him everyday supervising the work giving me valid suggestions to complete the wall. However, he did not accept any remuneration. The astonishing fact was that he was not visible to others.
It was extremely difficult to get back the bricks. However, with the powerful personality with me I went to the villages and announcing to the people to return the bricks with the inscription of St. Jude which they had stolen. Some of the people were willing to give, while others were not. My workers were reluctant to pull down the walls to get the bricks. But the invisible personality commanded me to take the pick-axe and break the walls of the huts. We pulled down at least 25 walls of the huts. My workers and boarders carried the bricks back to the campus and masons started to rebuild the wall.
There was a poojari who told me that the people of the colony were the persons who had carried away the bricks and made their huts. But in his absence, the masons informed me that the poojari was the biggest robber who had stolen most of bricks. Instead of consenting to my appeal and returning the bricks, he hurled abuses at the man who was cultivating our land since he thought that farmer was the reporter. Since poojari did not come the next day, I personally approached his house and verified that there were St. Jude’s bricks. I was amazed to find a large number bricks piled up in his campus. After two days, I saw a large gathering in front of the poojari’s house. When I crept in to see what was happening, I found that the poojari’ son was shouting and throwing the bricks saying “this is of St. Jude”. Poor man, he had gone mentally ill.
Slowly, I managed to complete the wall with St. Jude’s bricks which I collected from the villages. Later Msgr. Mudartha was astonished to learn about this and congratulated me for the courageous task and offered the field toSt. Joseph’s boarding. Presently the field has been given to the Salesians of Don Bosco who have built up a non-formal technical school for the poor youth of the diocese ofJhansi.
Looking back, I strongly feel and believe that the re-building of the wall was a personal intervention of St. Jude and he was the invisible person behind it. This I attribute to St. Jude. Praise the Lord.