Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rev Sr Mary Adrian

Rev Sr Mary Adrian

When I first met her so many decades away, I was too little to understand the influence she would ultimately have on the rest of my life. No doubt that it must be true with most of those who have passed through the hallowed precincts of Sacred Heart Convent, Galle and were privileged to have her touch their lives.

An Irish Rose, born in Ireland to bloom fragrantly and wither in our own soil she was a Sri Lankan by choice. Arriving in Sri Lanka as a young missionary in the Order of the Sisters of Charity, she lived for 58 years in service to humanity. Most of those years were spent at Sacred Heart Convent, Galle as a teacher and then as its well loved principal.

Her patience, compassion and love transcended all boundaries of ethnic and religious barriers. She understood the heart-ache of a little girl at the boarding school crying for her mother, face smudged with sticky tears. She was there to console her with tender loving care.

She also understood the heart-ache of many a pig-tailed, starry-eyed, teenager’s tears of broken romances. She was there too, well aware of the beauty of the unspoiled and innocent love of adolescence. Yet, she certainly was no nurse-maid but a fairy God Mother to all those who came under her care.

She was soft-spoken, yet strong. She was kind, yet firm. She was simple, yet awe inspiring. The radiance she spread around mirrored the inner-beauty of herself. She was devoid of anger, hatred and malice. She was endowed with a witty sense of humour and the music in her heart broke out in the form of song on her lips.

She gave generously her time and guidance, spiritually and materially, to those who sought. She never denied those less fortunate children the facilities enjoyed by those who could afford it. Nor were they made to feel any less important than the others. Nor did she let others know about those who were helped. All were equal in her eyes. She was there to fulfill a mission she undertook as a servant of the God she worshipped.

Sr. Adrian lived her life to the full in every sense of the word. She loved her adopted country and her people, the reciprocal love was showered on her in abundance in true Sri Lankan hospitality. She spent most of her life in Galle. Beloved Galle, simple, sleepy, slow to change, the southern capital that brought up and nurtured us, guardian of many a treasured memory of growing up years where our roots are firmly grounded. Galle and Sr. Adrian were synonymous with each other. Both Galle and Sr. Adrian are etched deeply in our hearts. She has created a void that is hard to be filled.

With memories growing fonder, to live in the hearts of those who love is never to die.
With the passage of time Sr. Adrian too has been subjected to the law of the world where all conditioned things are subject to change. We do not mourn her death but celebrate her life.
May her upward path be smooth, sure and steady!

Neelani Wickrema Wijesinghe
The Sunday Leader Nov 16 2008

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