Day in the Life || We Don’t Do Great Things

Poor Servants of Jesus the Master [Nepal]

We sit around a long rectangular wooden table where hospitality and friendship are served in equal measure. A nineteen year old boy, from Darjeeling, has just come to begin his novitiate. It will be at least seven years before he makes his final vows to God and to this community.

Also at the table are three brothers who currently make up this newly formed semi-monastic order, Poor Servants of Jesus the Master: our gregarious host, Brother Rakesh; Brother Lucas who tells us about their garden outside their home on the outskirts of the Kathmandu valley; Brother Valentine who teaches us how to make paper flowers for their Easter celebration.

“I haven’t worn anything but this habit in public for the last 13 years,” explains Brother Rakesh, referring to the flowing white fabric that the three brothers are wearing, with a silver crucifix the only adornment hanging below their chests. “Even taking the train in India I stand out a bit.”

A bit of commotion comes from the other end of the table as he says this. We turn and the newest recruit to Poor Servants is a deer in the headlights. “You even travel in the habit?” he asks with a shock.

Brothers Lucas, Valentine and Rakesh erupt with laughter, assuring him they always wear the habit. Always.

The laughter is contagious. “Don’t worry,” we tell him. “You have seven years to change your mind. You can back out now if you want.”

This laughter, along with an overriding sense of peace, permeates the Poor Servants community. Rakesh grew up in a Baptist family in northeast India. But it was the joy-in-all-circumstances of the ‘religious’ – sisters, brothers, and priests – that drew him into the Catholic community and inspired him to pursue a religious life. He brought that joy with him to Poor Servants. We, and I assume mosts guests, are enveloped in that joy throughout our stay.

Brother Rakesh tells us about the history and life of this semi-monastic order. He speaks with candor about what is difficult and what makes their order unique. His jokes and infectious laughter ripple throughout the conversation.

“We don’t do much,” he tells us in his soft, flowing voice. “We don’t do much, but we try to be available to be used by God to serve the people around us.”

On the wall in their dining room is a large painting of one of their guides, Mother Teresa. Next to it is printed, “We do not do great things. We do small things with great love.” A few feet away is Saint Francis of Assisi, giving guests an idea of the intent and ethos of Poor Servants – one of hospitality and service.

In addition to the brothers, 5 boys – all coming from varying circumstances – have all been welcomed into their home and participate in the life and rhythms of Poor Servants when they’re not in school.

Rhythm guides their days. Laundry, cleaning, cooking, and gardening is interspersed with times of prayer and adoration throughout the day – starting early in the morning. In the meantime, their doors are open to their neighbors and friends and others for whom they look for opportunities to do small acts of service with great love. Here is a visual document of a day in the life of the Poor Servants of Jesus the Master:

Writing by Andrew / Photography by Becca

 

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