30 May. I was shocked to read a post from Fr Ambrose Pinto SJ on Facebook regarding the sad demise of the famous AICUF pioneer in India Fr Cyerac Peirre SJ. Many would remember him fondly. Here I publish the same.
Another great Jesuit moves out to eternity: Fr. Ceyrac Pierre SJ (98) .
A name that inspires many people in the world! He was born in France but lived in India and deeply loved India. Buzz word in his life is ‘WONDERFUL’. He just crossed 97, on 4th Feb 2012. From 1936, he lived in India, more than 73 years….More than the life of Indian Independence, here! In one of the national conventions of All Indian Christian University Students Federation, Fr. Ceyrac had said, “I have been very sensitive to the beauty of India; the beauty of our people; the beauty of different states; of our mountains; of our rivers; the tremendous message India has got to give to the world”.
In 1945, he became a priest in the Society of Jesus. Then he graduated in Tamil and Sanskrit. First fifteen years of life with the AICUF, he says, ‘I came to know about India through the Student Community’. Travelled, during his tenure as National Chaplain, every nook and corner of India. South, West, North and East…all into his finger and lip-tips! Second part of his life, he spent with villagers in Southern part of India. Novel idea of ‘thousand well operation’ conceptualized there….and immediately concretized in and around Ramanathapuram district. There is no concept left as concept in the life of Fr. Ceyrac! A Model Farm he created at Manamadurai. He said once, ‘where intelligence cannot access, only love can lead to the key of success’. It was a garden of joy, bliss and human power.
It is love, love and love for the whole humanity that pushed him to the third part of his life story. He moved to Cambodia, a land of war victims and refugees who were dislocated to the Thai border. He offered his magnanimous generosity there, living and laughing with them. He said there, ‘if you would like to be happy, be in love’. His inimitable fire of love for India brought him back to the Indian lands and his passionate eyes looked at the plight of children. He started a poliomyelitis center in Manamadurai and subsequently concentrated on the thousands of children in North Tamilnadu, Tindivanam and Pondicherry. ‘Anbukarangal’ was his pet project. He says, ‘we have to fight injustices in society; become voice of those who don’t have a voice of their own’. He became the voice of children, thousands of them in this part of India. His pet project of caring and loving the children now goes on without interruption. He dreamt about a movement of children, and that should start from the homes he built for them. It is now, Fr. Ceyrac Children Homes both in Singanur and Pelakuppam and Ceyrac Community College in Paramenkeni.
Among all the awards that Fr. Ceyrac received, we cherish the highest French awards of “le grand prix de l’Académie universelledes cultures” (presented to him by the then President Jacques Chirac himself in 2003) and the French highest civilian award ‘Legion of Honour’ (that was presented to him by the French Ambassador Jerome Bonnafont in 2008). The last part of his life was spent in Loyola College Community, Chennai. Most inspiring hobby for him, while in Loyola was to walk around the campus and halt a moment in front of a world map and bless each country, truly making himself a selfless global citizen. As he deteriorated, the Jesuit community felt that he should be nursed well and so he was put up in the Little Sisters of Poor home at Chetpet, Chennai where he breathed his last. The phrase which he used till the end of his life was ‘WONDERFUL’, a word that he uttered at all times, during pain and painstaking joy. On the 30th May 2012, Father Ceyrac was peacefully taken to heavens at around 04.30 am. A great and inspiring life!