Sunday, July 18, 2010
a friend remembers John Deeney, sj
Greetings from Jamshedpur.
22 July (birthday of John Deeney] is soon approaching, so I thought I write a few lines to you all. I am travelling to South India today and I will be travelling on 22 July and I will have no access to Internet till I return to my office on 23 July. So I dispatch this letter today itself.
John has been a great friend of mine though I am only 46. We used to spend a lot of time together sharing on different matters. I had a great appreciation for the works he had done and was continuing to do even in his old age. Our common interest was the Ho tribe. He taught me the Ho language when I was just 19, just before I joined the novitiate. Since then he has been an inspiration for me. The love I have for the Ho language and Ho people, I have acquired from John Deeney.
Even in his old age he worked on his computer for his publications in the Ho language. Even many youngsters who are good at computers find it difficult to work on Page Maker Programme, but John picked up Page Maker programme very easily. Regularly he would ask me give him some tips how to improve on his skills in Page Maker and he was a very good learner and was so grateful for small helps he received. Such was his dedication for the mission, the love the Ho language and the Ho people. We will find it difficult to get such an expert on the Ho tribals in the near future.
Those of you who visited him in Chaibasa would know the simplicity of life that he led. For so many years he used a bicycle to go around villages and he found it so helpful for his ministry that he never learnt how to ride a motor bike. He never complained about the heat of the summer or about the food that was served. He had no complaints about any of his Jesuits companions or working staff. He was always a positive man. Whoever met him met a saint in him - left inspired and deeply touched.
John was greatly spiritual and holy. He had a long of list of people who he prayed daily. And I knew very well that he added more people to that list daily. And he never was tired praying for them. I know all of your names were in that list. And I am sure he is continuing to pray for all the people in the list still. Many of our conversations were spiritual. And I was so comfortable to share my spiritual life with and return enriched.
I thank on behalf of all the Jesuits in Jamshedpur for the saintly man the Deeney family offered to the Church, the Society of Jesus and to Jamshedpur. I assure my prayers for you all. My special prayers and love to his dear sister Nancy and brothers Ed and Jerry.
God bless you all.
Jerry Cutinha, SJ
15 Straight Mile Road,
Sakchi, Jamshedpur 831001.