It is with great sadness that I write to tell you that Brother James (Brother Lionel) died peacefully at his home in Sirumalar Children’s Village at Reaching the Unreached at 8.30 pm local time yesterday after a short illness.
He had recently contracted a kidney infection and was admitted to hospital where he was well looked after by the sisters and former RTU girls working there as nurses. Last week he came home on antibiotics being cared for by his nurses and was recovering well, but last night very suddenly died. The Requiem Mass will be held on Saturday 7th October at 4 pm local time (11.30 am UK time) at Reaching the Unreached in Kallupatti. As per his wishes, he will be buried at Anbu Ilam Children’s Village, the first of the Villages he founded, in the small cemetery there.
Brother James has lived an extraordinary life of true dedication, selfless obedience and Christian discipleship. For over 60 years, he has made a difference to the lives and wellbeing of countless destitute children and families in the rural villages in southern India and Sri Lanka in which he has given a lifetime of service to the very poorest people.
His life has been and will be an inspiration to many. Rarely can a single person have touched so many lives in such a positive way.
The challenge now is that Reaching the Unreached should still flourish and grow to reach those in greatest need and that the work on which Brother has dedicated his life should continue as long as it is needed. Father Antony, himself raised by Brother when he was at Boy’s Village, is completely committed to this – and it is the stated intention of Brother James himself. Father Antony and the staff team in India, who have worked alongside Brother for many years, will require our continuing support and prayers to do so.
We plan to arrange a memorial service here in the UK and also a Memorial Fund which will be set up in his name and we will send you details of these in due course.
There would be no more fitting memorial to him than that we follow in his example.
May he rest in peace,
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