KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) — Salesian Fr. Leo Heriot died in Australia, 24th February night. He was unconscious for several days. He passed away peacefully on Friday evening without regaining consciousness. By his bedside at the time was his brother, Fr Lou Heriot, a Melbourne diocesan priest. His funeral is scheduled for Friday, 2 March 2012.
Fr Leo served as a missionary for many years in India, then in Fiji and Samoa, before spending his final years in the city of his birth, Melbourne.
A member of Salesian province of Calcutta, Fr Leo worked at the Salesian aspirantate in Bandel as prefect of studies and later as Rector.
Later Fr Leo served Guwahati province, 13 years as director of novices at Sunnyside in Upper Shillong and also was Rector of Sacred Heart Theological College Mawlai, Shillong before he left for his home province in Australia.
In a letter dated 19th February, his provincial superior in Australia Fr Greg Chambers gave the following details regarding the circumstances of his illness.
Fr Chambers wrote, “I am writing to you all to let you know that Leo Heriot , a member of our Clifton Hill Community, is seriously ill in the Intensive Care Unit of St Vincent’s Hospital,Melbourne, with the symptoms of a major stroke.
Saturday 18 February, Leo was found unconscious in his room at Clifton Hill and taken toSt Vincent’s in the company of Paul Miles, who stayed at his bedside thoughout the course of the day and later anointed him. Leo has remained unconscious and is not responding to any stimuli, although scans on Leo’s brain have not definitively identified a stroke or any specific problem as the cause of his illness.
For those who may not be aware, Leo celebrated his 80th Birthday only last Monday (13 February?) together with members of the Clifton Hill and Ascot Vale communities, as well as his brother, Lou, and a number of good friends. It was a wonderful occasion for Leo and all concerned!
I would ask you all to remember Leo and his family in your prayers and eucharists at this critical time, and also to say ‘one’ for Lou who is suffering from pancreatic cancer, and who has been so good to the Salesians, especially those young newly ordained priests atEast Bentleigh, for so long.
Finally, I sincerely thank Peter Rankin, the Rector, and all the members of the Clifton Hill community for their love and care of Leo both now and in the recent past.”