Father Ceyrac is a French Jesuit Missionary
who has been devoted to India for more than 60 years on behalf of
children and of the excluded of Indian society. By fighting "not
for the human rights but for the right to be human", Pierre
Ceyrac contributed to the evolution of Indian society during the
last decades and set himself up as a real peacemaker.
Love has always been source and criteria of all his choices in life;
it is under this point of view that the course and the deeds of
Father Ceyrac have to be approached. In 1936, Pierre, at 22 years-old
made the decision to leave for India as a missionary whereas he
is a young scholastic Jesuit among the Company of Jesus. He left
France and Corrèze, his home base, thinking that he would
never come back.
There, he got initiated to Indian cultures
and religions, which are as many "paths towards God",
according to him. Graduated in Tamil and in Sanskrit, he became
priest in 1945 and soon after was named national almoner of a catholic
student movement in the Indian universities. After some years, the
consciousness came to him that "one cannot philosophy in university
while people are dying from hunger just beside it".
Father Ceyrac needs action. "In
the fights in my life, I have always watched never to sever the
fight for faith from the fight for justice and for the poor. Otherwise,
the deeds deny the faith and the faith is sterile." Ever since,
following the steps of Mahatma Gandhi, whom he knew well, he exposes
the cast system and demonstrates in favour of integration of the
Dalits (the Untouchables). Under his impulse, a large net of over
100 000 Indian students is born to set up humanitarian works such
as building houses and villages for the poor and the leprous living
on the Madras pavements. To face water shortage in the country,
Father Ceyrac launches the "Thousand wells" operation
in South India, first steps of the project "STAND
UP AND WALK". And as to establish
that "where intelligence cannot get access, only love can lead
to the key of success", Father Ceyrac and his friends build
a "MODEL FARM"
on a very arid land and take up the incredible challenge of growing
coconut trees on it. This fertile desert situated in Manamadurai
(South of Madurai, Tamil Nadu) will enable over 250 000 people to
live on and will become the best guava producer farm in the area.
Like Mother Térésa with whom he worked, Father Ceyrac
gives beyond any limit. According to him, love is giving oneself
with great respect to the others up to give one's own life. It is
also to be tender; the poorest is the one we love, the more we have
to give him tenderness. Finally, love is to think of us and not
of them: one has to trust and to empower the other till the end.
From his own experience, Father Ceyrac knows that giving to others
allows us to build up ourselves and thus to know the true joy. This
Love of the Other, burning in himself as a firebush, was keeping
on irradiating when in the 80's mass Cambodian refugees arrived
at the Thai border. Because he was solicited to take charge of a
team of volunteers, Father Ceyrac has shared the life of thousands
of people in the refugee camps in Thailand, Cambodia, and Zambia
for 13 years. Since then, back in India, this man "for the
others" built a centre for the surgery of the Poliomyelitis
children, unique in South India, with the energy and the expectations
of the ones who could dream with him. With them, he also built a
study centre for the children of prisoners (SEED).
He set up a training centre for Dalit people (DACA)
to give them graduation and to teach them a craft. And lastly, he
created a huge foster net, as big loving hands or "OPEN
HANDS" to more than 30 000
children in the streets.
Pierre Ceyrac has built some life lessons at the contact of untouchables,
poor, children, refugees and leprous. He is now a prophet of our
time who, at the age of 87, claims "to be doing overtime to
learn how to love".
Author : Pascale (Fraternet.com)