1. Entrance to the monastery
2. The monastery - an outside view
The main building: the ground floor is used for public purposes (meeting-room, library, chapel etc.), while the upper floor is the so called ‘clausura’ (cloister), that is the part of a monastery reserved to monks only; besides the monks rooms, there are the AsramScriptorium section (where we translate / prepare religious literature) and the AsramSoftware section (where we create / maintain the applications listed in ‘Software’).
3. Vegetable garden and orchard
Behind the orchard there is the pukur, the pond typical and dear to the Bangadeshi tradition, used for fish-cultivation, washing, bathing etc.
4. Mini dairy farm
The dairy farm program was originally born in order to help a neighbour who, due to poor health, could not stand heavy work; he had to look after a single cow. After his death we carried on with the project, and nowadays we keep three / four cows, and with their milk we prepare cheese to be sold.
5. Prayer room
On the left stands the Cross; stemming from a root it signifies that the Cross is the Tree of Life. At the center there is the table-altar containing relics of Saints martyred during the Roman persecutions (‘relics’ are objects which have been put in contact with a holy place, in this case, the place of martyrdom); in the book of Revelation (6:9) we read that underneath the altar of heaven the souls of the martyrs day and night call for God to quickly bring to completion the salvation of mankind. On the right stands the lectern from which the Word of God is proclaimed. In the foreground are visible the musical instruments used during the liturgical celebrations.
6. Icon of the Angels of the Trinity
The ‘Trinity’ is an icon painted by Andrej Rublëv around 1422. It depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre and promised Him a son will be born from his wife Sara (Genesis 18:1-10). (This icon and the following ones were painted by a monk of ours).
7. Icon of the Virgin Mother of God
The title ‘Theotokos’ (Mother of God) has been in use since the 3rd century in the Syriac tradition. The Council of Ephesus in AD 431 decreed that Mary is the Theotokos because her son Jesus is both God and man. The veil or head covering is usually colored red to show her suffering and her acquired holiness. The three golden stars (one on the forehead and one on each shoulder) are symbols of her virginity before, during, and after the Nativity of Christ.
8. Icon of the Nativity
The icon shows in one painting various references to the birth of Jesus as described in the Gospel of Matthew (1:19-24; 2:1-12) and Luke (1:26-38; 2:4-20): The star (center) and the Magi (top, left) signify that Jesus was born for all. The women (bottom, right) are midwifes, to signify that Jesus was born a ‘true man’ and as all human beings he had to be washed. Saint Joseph is depicted pretty far away from the cave (bottom, left), to signify that He was only the protector of the Holy Family. The angels sing glory to God and bring the good news to the humble shepherds who hasten and come to adore the Saviour of mankind.
9. Icon of the Transfiguration
This icon refers to the Transfiguration of the Lord as described in the Gospels (Matthew 17:1-8). Jesus is clothed in a white garnment, that is, He is clothed of the light created by God the first day of creation; the meaning being that Jesus is the new Adam who by His resurrection will bring forth a new creation. To His right and left are depicted Moses on Sinai (Exodus 19:1-25) and Elijah on mount Horeb (1 King 19:1-14). In contrast to these three figures standing and stretched towards heaven, the icon depicts three more people (Peter, James and John) slumped to the ground: only clinging to the Man-God Christ can humanity hope to raise itself from its situation of sorrow and sin and stretch towards heaven (like Moses and Elijah).
10. Icon of the Resurrection
This icon shows the fulfilment of the mystery shown in the previous icon: through His resurrection Christ, clothed in the light of God, brings about the new creation: He tears down the gates of Hades (below) and frees from death captive mankind, here represented by Adam, Eve, king David and other figures of the Old Testament. After His resurrection there is no more death; Christian language speaks of going to sleep in Christ, Who awakens us in heaven to live with Him forever.
Monastic tradition has always put great emphasis on cultural formation, which has to be love of learning and desire of God. It is the balance between these two tensions that safeguards and marks such a learning, that while it is open to all fields, it is channeled and made fruitful by divine Wisdom.
12. Books published by the monastery
These are some of the books of the AsramScriptorium section; after composing / preparing them, we had them printed. They are available also in digital format (see Scriptorium > Bible / Liturgy / Patristics).
13. Religious instruction
As mentioned in ‘Our Life > work among catechumens’, catechumens meet at the monastery every friday. The picture shows Dom Premanondo explaining the Psalms and teaching how to sing them.
14. Confirmation of Norottom-Thomas
After due preparation (from two to three years), we present the catechumens to the Parish that will proceed to confer the Sacrament of Christian Initiations (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) in the parish- or village-church. The picture shows the Bishop conferring confirmation to Norottom-Thomas in the village-church.
15. Baptism in a village
Usually the Sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) are conferred by the Bishop or by the parish priest in the parish church. When for any reason this is not possible, then we go and confer them in their village.
16. Spiritual retreat
Three / four times a year we hold spiritual retreats for adults and young people, and help them to make the point of the situation: in our journey of faith, how and where are we going?
17. Visiting an old woman
As Saint Paul says, ‘knowledge puffs up, love builds up’ (1 Chorinthians 8:1); that is, by mere knowledge man may end up in boasting and in seeing only oneslf. Although in the humanitarian-social field we are not always able to tackle with each situation in the best possible way, nevertheless it is always possible to confort those who for various reasons live almost lonly lives.
18. Shompa-Daniela taking care of an old man
Love for neighbour means taking care of the needy, being the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-33), irrespective of creed and race. Therefore already baptized people and catechumens both are encouraged to put into practice the so-called ‘works of mercy’ (Matthew 25:31-40).
19. Oblates bathing an old woman
‘Oblates’ of the monastery are people who striving to live their lives by the guidance of the Gospel take upon themselves certain values of monastic life and make themselves available to reach where monks by themselves would not be able to go.
20. Oblates visiting an old man
A young and an adult oblate encouraged by Dom Premanondo.
21. Drawing non-polluted water
As mentioned in ‘Our Life’, lands of neighbouring villages are sometimes affected by polluted water. Thanks to contributions of generous benefactors we have been able to dig several deep tube wells.
22. Dancing after surgical operation
Ritika was a Hindu girl with twisted ankles; we had come to know her while supervising the construction of the school in her village. We took an interest in her case, and so, when a team of Italian orthopaedics came to Khulna in 2003, after a surgical operation her life changed for good. She is now a happy mother.
23. Women emancipation
Through the financial help we receive we are able to do something to help poor families cope with their needs. In this particular case, the lady after receiving a sewing machine, in her spare time makes garnments for her own family and for possible buyers.
24. Decent marriage-feast
When we come to know that a poor family cannot easily make arrangments for the marriage of their sons or daughters, in order to make happy the new couple we try our best to help them covering partially or totally their expences.
25. Wheelchairs for the disabled
With the provent from collects raised among our oblates and people of good will of every religion we are able to provide wheelchairs for disabled people.
26. Ducks breeding
Distribution of ducklings to poor families has been a success. In due time, with the provent from selling eggs many familes have been able to cope with several needs.
27. Blankets distribution
Compared to continental winter, winter time in the tropics is short. Yet not being able to protect oneselves is painful. With contributions from local and foreign benefactors we are able to make happy a lot of people.
28. Preparing relief-goods
Young oblates preparing relief-goods for flood-affected people.
29. A school before our intervention
At the beginning of the new century 2000 we started a project aimed to the amelioration of educational institutions; that is, offering buildings to schools and colleges that were seriously engaged in the educational field but lacked proper infrastructures. The picture shows the conditions in which we usually find the schools to which we offer our help.
30. Inauguration-day of a new a school
The longed for opening-day of the new building has come, and the girls are making ready to greet with dances and ‘rain of flowers’ the land-donors, and to thank with gratitude the friends of foreign lands who, in the discretion of anonymity, through the services of the monastery, unexpectedly crowned their dream.
31. New school under construction
And so, from the beginning of the century, year after year, the monastery, always through the generous contributions of friends from abroad, has been carrying on a program aimed at helping educational institutions, especially those located in remote areas. It is our hope we will be able to carry on such program also in the future. A list of the educational institutions we were able to help can be found clicking the ‘educational facilities’ link in ‘Our Life’ page.
32. Picnic with the children of a school
Over time, the human relashionship with the students of the schools built in these years does not wane. New students take the place of the old ones, so that we find ourselves linked to thousand of students who meantime have become mother and father. It happens that students of old, when they get married or find a satisfactory job, contact us to give the good news, and show their thankfulness by giving us their own finantial contribution: a thankfulness reaching over to all those who gave and still give us the opportunity to carry on with this wonderful work.
33. Butterfly dance
Small girls of a kindergarten of ours show through a dance the evolvment of a butterfly.
(Moving on to other pictures before the end of the video, the video will carry on from its last position).
34. Dance of the canary-birds
Susmita, Ritika, Hritu, Chomok and other girls of a school of ours performing a dance at the kindergarten.
(Moving on to other pictures before the end of the video, the video will carry on from its last position).