Italiano

One day shepherds of Subiaco
discovered the place where Benedict was living alone.
So they started coming to him
to learn the way to life.

(Life of St. Benedict by St. Gregory the Great)


[This is a revised presentation of an article that originally appeared on the monastic review ‘AIM Bulletin’ in 2001]

Ghona and Rangpur are two villages located North-West of Khulna, on the Daulatpur-Shahpur road, about 7 km from our monastery (see the appropriate map in Bangladesh).
The environment is predominantly, if not exclusively, Hindu, of the Namasudra caste (i.e. the lowest caste in Hinduism, followed only by the outcastes). The population of Rangpur is about 30000, while Ghona’s population is about 7000.
People are mainly farmers and fishermen and own their own land. In the recent past, because of a faulty sluice-gate, they suffered a rather serious economical setback when their lands were flooded all year round (for several years) by saline water.


The way to Rangpur

We have been dealing with this people since 1989. At that time the monastery was under construction and some of the labourers came from Rangpur. During those 10 years we never raised the issue of their becoming Christian. Our approach could be defined more or less as inter-religious dialogue. In fact we used to encourage them to live as good Hindus. Nevertheless, we always had clearly in mind our duty to witness to our Christian and monastic identity.

In 1997 a family from Ghona came to the monastery asking for religious assistance. They had been baptized by itinerant preachers of a Christian sect, and then left on their own. Since this family had relations in Rangpur our old friends from there came to know about the matter and as a consequence they too asked to join Christianity.

The ‘methodology’ used is as follows:


Spending time with children


Ready for Mass


Oblates helping the monastery


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