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Messages from the Rest of World

  • Dear Friends/Family, I would like to share a contribution page with you which has been created in the $bookTitle$ book. To view the page please click on the following link: $findContributionLink$ Online Book for Brother James Kimpton https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Kimpton/Contributions/Find/RestofWorld0/rosburnipformallyleighwhoservedontheexperienceexchangeprogrammein20062007inmadurai
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Kimpton/Contributions/Find/RestofWorld0/rosburnipformallyleighwhoservedontheexperienceexchangeprogrammein20062007inmadurai

    Ros Burnip, formally Leigh, who served on the Experience Exchange Programme in 2006/2007 in Madurai

    UK | 16 Nov 2017

     

    MEMORIES OF BROTHER JAMES KIMPTON I worked at the Arulagam Hostel for Women like other Experience Exchange Programme volunteers before and since. In itself, it was an amazing experience working with severely disadvantaged women and girls who, despite everything, were so cheerful and spunky. It was whilst I was there that I came across Brother James and his compassionate and caring work; it happened in two ways. Firstly many of the women who came to Arulagam had arrived as a result of hard times through violent relationships, death of a partner, desertion or other means. Many came with small children whom they could no longer support. Their small children went to nursery in Arulagam but when older went up to RTU to school at one of the villages and became part of one of the families there, gaining a chance of a new life. Several of the Arulagam women also went to train as foster mothers. This meant that they could keep one or even two of their children with them whilst also caring for other youngsters in RTU's care. Brother James made sure his foster mothers had training and support giving status, confidence and new hope to those women. My first meeting with Brother James himself was when visiting some of those former Arulagam women now living as foster mothers and I was so struck by the gently caring way that he related to people who had experienced very damaging situations yet he was never sentimental but clear that to give those most in need dignity, training, education and health care was the best way to help them rebuild their lives. The other two visits I made to RTU were taking women who had not long given birth outside a caring relationship to leave their babies in the care of RTU to be looked after in a family setting prior to adoption. To sit next to a woman giving up her new baby is a heart-breaking experience but, due to the training given to staff by Brother James, it was done humanely and lovingly. It was a privilege then to eat and talk about it afterwards to Brother when, as was his usual custom, he ate with everyone and the same simple food as everyone. There is so much that other world leaders, who claim status, privilege and power for themselves will little regard for the poor, could learn from this gently caring and discerning man - strong in the ways that matter, wise about what is important and brave enough to carry out such life-changing work. He made a huge impression on me, a man who lived and breathed as a true follower of Christ. Below is a picture of Kastari's baby, who she gave up for adoption, being put in a sari as a cradle, and the foster mother at RTU who looked after her. Ros Burnip

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Messages from the Rest of World

  • Dear Friends/Family, I would like to share a contribution page with you which has been created in the $bookTitle$ book. To view the page please click on the following link: $findContributionLink$ Online Book for Brother James Kimpton https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Kimpton/Contributions/Find/RestofWorld0/brotherjamesconnolly
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Kimpton/Contributions/Find/RestofWorld0/brotherjamesconnolly

    Brother James Connolly

    UK | 27 Nov 2017

     

    BROTHER JAMES KIMPTON: EARLY BACKGROUND Brother James Kimpton is so well known for his work in India, but I have been asked to write of certain aspects of Brother James’s life as perhaps I am the only colleague of James still around who knew him in his youth. So, allow me to limit myself to giving some details about the young James Kimpton. In September 1941 three north-of-England youngsters met on the platform of London Road railway station (now called Piccadilly) in Manchester. My 12-year old self and two others were going to London to join the Juniorate of the De La Salle Brothers. The War made the journey last four hours or so, and having reached Euston station, we were met by Brother Denis Victor accompanied by a tall boy in his teens. We were to wait until another new candidate arrived from Chester, which he did and then the four of us caught a double-decker bus with Brother Denis and his tall companion and arrived at the De La Salle brothers’ St Joseph’s College, Beulah Hill in South East London. I noticed the ease with which the Chester lad, 12 years old like the rest of us, talked with the tall lad, so I asked, “Do you know that big boy?”. “Yes” he answered, “He’s my brother Jim Kimpton, and he’s 15 years old”. So, it was young John Kimpton, whom I had never seen before, who pointed out James Kimpton, who had encouraged John, his younger brother, to join him to study the possibility like us, of becoming a De La Salle brother: but that would be years ahead. Fifteen-year-old James Kimpton had been stationed in Beulah Hill, with about 40 other boys, English and French, and together they had been led to England in 1940 by their teachers from Les Vauxbelets College, in Guernsey before it had been invaded by the German army. Part of that school was the Juniorate, or junior ‘seminary’ for boys training to be De La Salle brothers. Negotiations had taken place with Lord Desborough on their sudden arrival in England, that as soon as possible, the English group of those junior trainees should take over a large mansion of his called Marden Hill House, three miles from the country town of Hertford and a safer place to live than in bomb-endangered London. During that waiting time of ten months, James Kimpton and the 40 refugees from Guernsey had had the frightening experience of living in the outskirts of London during the Battle of Britain, when Herr Goering had tried to bomb Britain into submission. The new recruits including John Kimpton and myself who had been met as described above, missed the bombing, but were given descriptions of it by James Kimpton and his companions. Of course, remaining in London as the War continued, would have been to challenge Providence, so a country evacuation place beckoned. Therefore, just six weeks after we arrived, 30 or so boys including James and John Kimpton and myself, took the train to Hertford Town. Then with our suitcases, not as full as they might be nowadays, we walked the three miles from the station to Marden Hill House. Fortunately that late October day, the rain held off. Meanwhile, older boys who had left Guernsey with the refugees went to Ireland, undisturbed by war, and there, the French boys with French brother Cyril began their Novitiate, whilst the English boys among them, joined the Irish novices to begin their novitiate near Dublin. But James Kimpton and the other boys too young to begin their noviciate came with us to Marden Hill, where they continued their studies for the school certificate. Being a gifted artist, James was frequently called on by Director, Brother Denis Robert to deal with anything of an artistic nature. A group of three who were a year older than James - Eddie Brown, Jimmy Coen and Kenneth Masters - after an academic year with us in Marden left for Balcombe in Sussex to begin their noviciate with Brother Denis Ludovic as novice master. But James Kimpton, Harry Reynolds, John Wilson and Ives Patrick were two years in Marden before going to Balcombe. James Kimpton was three years older than me and his brother, John, and in any case, we had the advantage of almost personal tuition in preparation for our School Certificate. When James went to Balcombe for his novitiate, I had two years to catch up with him and by then he had taken the habit (black clerical garment) of a brother and changed his baptismal name to Brother Lionel of Mary. (Later all the brothers took back their baptismal names, so Lionel reverted to the Brother James we all admire, but by that time Brother James was in the Indies.) I have mentioned John Kimpton, the Brother of James. He became a de La Salle brother for a few years then left the order, and I kept in touch with him, and through him with his Brother James. So, James now Lionel, had left Marden Hill in 1943 and I caught up again with him in 1945 in Balcombe: he was a scholastic (student brother) and I became a novice that year with Raymund Loftus, Gerald Keating and Albert Homan. Later we were joined by Maltese novices - Vincent Ferrugia, Osccar Mifsud and Emanuel Sciberras. We lived very much together: we, following the noviciate programme, James (still called Lionel) and companions preparing for A levels and following religious studies in preparation to becoming Christian teaching brothers. We were able to notice James first hand and realised he was rather devout: in fact, Brother Ralph Loftus once invited me to look through the Balcombe chapel window to see James in what seemed like ecstasy in his prayers. Of course, we were all centred on being prayerful but, believe me, James was exceptional, and I am not writing that because of his great work later in India. But he and the rest of us kept our sense of humour. One Palm Sunday, Brother James was acting chief altar boy to Father O’Connor SJ, who was our aged Chaplain. At a certain moment he said, “Lionel, pass me my palm tree”, at which James could hardly stop laughing for the rest of the Mass. We had the custom, because of our having given up personal possessions, to say ‘our’ instead of ‘my’, eg, “Where is our jacket”, to emphasise it was not really our own. Sometimes the ‘our’ went too far, so much so that Brother David Leo, in charge of studies in the house, hearing one of us saying “Where is our shirt”, told the culprit off, saying, “You use OUR instead of MY, only if you are the Pope or Brother Lionel (our James of course)”. In those days meals were accompanied with readings. One of the books read out to us at that time told the story of the now Saint Maximilian Kolbe who, before he was martyred in Auschwitz, ran a campaign with printed booklets on Our Lady and his devotion to her. This evidently touched James so much that when he went to work as a teacher in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), he began a campaign of a similar nature for his students and readers further afield. He had been touched by the story of Maximilian. Brother James Kimpton’s first teaching assignment on leaving Balcombe was at St John’s College in Southsea. Then, after a year, when in 1947 the brothers took over from the Jesuit fathers at St Peters School Southbourne, James went there. The boys who had had different teachers, including Jesuits, seemed satisfied at the change. One of whom, David Cassidy, was taught Art by brother James, and later with a group of contemporary students became life-long supporters of Brother James, who in fact dying at 92 outlived so many of those early English boys. One of the last times I saw Brother James, before his decision to ‘go on the missions’ was when the brothers of St John’s played soccer against the brothers of St Peter’s. St Peter’s won because James Kimpton was goal keeper for St Peter’s and thwarted every effort by the enemy to penetrate his team’s defences. Now and again, in the years that Brother James came to visit us in England, I had the privilege of renewing acquaintance with Brother James. I should have kept some of the letters James sent me in his beautiful handwriting: but that’s a detail. Brother James Connolly fsc one time known as Brother Wilfred

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