KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – An inter-faith prayer meeting for popular author and esteemed friend ofCalcutta, Padma Bhushan awardee Mr Dominique LaPierre was held at the tomb of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Friday 29 June.
In an email addressed to those who attended the meet, LaPierre’s wife, also named Dominique, wrote that the writer fell and knocked his head on a sidewalk in their village Ramatuelle where they had gone to vote for the French Assembly elections. She said the knock on the head caused “severe cranium trauma”.
In the hospital, Dominique was put into an artificial coma to protect his vital functions and brain.
“After 12 days, he is now in the awakening phase. This can take weeks or even months,” Dominique wrote, 29 June.
Hoping for a “miracle”, the gathering of 40 odd well-wishers prayed for the “speedy recovery” of the author, who is affectionately known as “Dominique Dada” in Kolkata.
Long time Mother Teresa collaborator and well wisher of the Missionaries of Charity, Mr Dominique’s Kolkata connection includes his bestseller book ‘The City of JOY,’ which has gone into several language editions, and the first feature film on Mother Teresa, released in 1997 – “In the Name of God’s Poor”.
With his maxim, “what is not gifted (given) is lost,” a large portion of the royalties of his books have been ploughed back into his social service organizations in Calcutta and Bhopal, and the floating dispensaries in the Sunderbans…
Mr. Sunil Lucas, president of SIGNIS India (Catholic association for radio, television and cinema) brought together some of LaPierre’s friends and acquaintances in the city to pray and reminisce their association with Dominique.
Members of Dominique’s charity organizations Udayan and Sheesh, Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien and Jesuit Father Gaston Roberge, Signis Bengal president Fr Sunil Rozario and Urmi Basu of New Light, a Kolkata NGO attended the meet.
“I’ve known Dominique Lapierre for 32 years. To me, he is not only a friend but like an elder brother. His wife has been calling me every day and I told her about our meeting today,” said Brother Gaston Dayanand, the Swiss missionary working in Uluberia on whom Patrick Swayze’s character in City of Joy was based, standing in front of the tomb of Mother Teresa.
The programme which started at 6.15 pm went beyond 7.15 pm leaving the event to be a very private and intimate affair around Mother’s tomb, even without the participation of the Missionaries of Charity Brothers nor Sisters.
Dominique, 82 years old, was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour, on the Republic Day, 26 January 2008.