Our May Meeting opened at the home of David and Paula Nearing. Special guest for the session was Father Ray Huntley. Father Ray opened with a scriptural passage which we contemplated and discussed which then led our discussion on L’Arche and the early works of Jean Vanier.
Father Ray spoke of his upbringing in the Town of Sydney Mines, stating that parents made sure that he and his siblings were aware of people experiencing poverty, disabilities, or culturally differences, highlighting that we are all children of God and share in His love.. Through these differences, they began to see many treasures…
From an early age, Father Ray became involved with L’Arche Cape Breton and received many gifts of true friendships that have enriched his life. While living in Antigonish, Father Ray was active in L’Arche Antigonish. He was also serving at St Ninian’s Cathedral, and would meet many students from the Coady International Institute; one such student was Ramesh Nadava, who was from India and was doing graduate work at the Coady. Through Father Ray, Ramesh began to experience the true beauty of L’Arche and was amazed at all that was accomplished through the many talents of the disabled. Ramesh would also visit with Father Ray’s mother from time to time as she was always interested in hearing about his homeland. The main reason L’Arche amazed Ramesh, was because in his home country of India, most of the disabled are cast away as they are seen as a burden to their families and society in general.
When Ramesh returned to India, he contacted Father Ray to tell him that he had plans to open a home for the disabled in India. He had plans for a home that would house up to 30 individuals with disabilities plus staff. All Ramesh needed was $80,000.00, a large sum. So they fundraised, and each time Ramesh would visit with Farther Ray’s mother Nora, she would have him a small donation for the home as she truly believed in him and the work he hoped to accomplish..
One day, Father Ray was contacted by a lady he knew, who asked him to come and see her for a cup of tea. When he arrived there, she stated that she had come into some money, and her accountant suggested she give away $80,000.00; she wanted to know if he had any idea where there would be a need to quietly make the donation…talk about Devine intervention…
Hence, a Charitable Trust was established in 2010 and Ramesh realized his dream; a home located in the Arthamuru Region in the province of Andra Pradesh, India. The home accommodates 30 people living with disabilities and 10 staff including volunteers. In addition, 10 people with disabilities attend the day care program. At the insistence of Ramesh, the home is called the Nora Huntley Home, as much of his inspiration came from the mother of a great friend.
We all enjoyed this presentation immensely, and encourage all other associates to research “Nora’s Home”. As always, our meeting concluded with a delicious lunch and hot tea compliments of our gracious host Paula.