Fr Victor Edwin SJ writes from India

 Many thanks to Fr Victor for sending us this personal account of his teaching in Parasmoni and visit to Kolkota. Fr Victor is a theologian and teacher, as well as parish priest at St Xavier's Church in Delhi. Fr Victor is involved with the Islamic Studies Association - an initiative of Indian Christians belonging to the Catholic Church committed to promoting harmonious relations between Christians and Muslims in India. Please visit their website at Peace. Last week I was in Parasmoni, the Bengal Jesuit Regional Theologate to conduct a one-credit course on Islam. It was an enriching experience. This is the first time I taught a course. Initially I was a little anxious, but once I began I did enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge on Muslims and Islam. The fifteen sessions went on well as I planned. At the end of the course, I asked for an evaluation of my teaching from the students. I am pretty happy with the good grades I got from them. I am deeply grateful to you for your help. Parasmoni-Shantiniketan has a good ambience for serious theology. I found the group hardworking and friendly. Moreover, the VishwaBharati University environment impressed me. I found in the university school, children learn sitting under the trees. I was told that it was the dream of the KaviGuru Rabindranath Tagore that children should remain closer to the nature so that their mind will be free from fear. Nature will assist the learner to grow in freedom of mind and heart. While travelling to Kolkota, I was amazed to watch a mother taking care of her child who was spastic. The child must be around 15 years old. The mother attended to the child every moment, often embracing her and kissing her, taking to her, feeding her and carrying her to the washroom whenever needed. Despite attending to her child all the time, the mother remained fresh and smiling all the time. At night once the child slept I found her reciting the rosary with tears in her eyes. I learnt her source of strength and power. After my work at Parasmoni I went to St Xavier's College, Kolkota. For long time I had planned to visit Gothals Library. Especially I wanted to see some of the collections of Fr Victor Courtouis SJ, who was fondly called as Maulavi Sahib because of his commitment to the mission among Muslims. I went through some of the materials. I have planned to visit sometime again to read through carefully his hand written notes on his experiences with Muslims. Visit to Kolkata gave me an opportunity to pray at the Tomb of Blessed Mother Teresa. I spent some time quietly for my parishioners and for my mission among Muslims. With much love Victor Edwin SJ

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