Widow of Graham Staines: “Do not give up hope, pray for India”
ICC Note: If the widow of a man who was killed 10 years ago for preaching the gospel can forgive his killers and continue his mission, there is hope for peace in Orissa.
by Nirmala Carvalho
01/20/09 India (AsiaNews) – Ten years have passed since the night of January 22, 1999, when Hindu extremists burned alive the Australian Christian missionary Graham Stewart Staines and his sons Philip and Timothy (ages 9 and 7, in the photo) while they were sleeping in their station wagon in the village of Manoharpur, district of Keonjhar (Orissa). The widow Gladys Staines talks to AsiaNews about the drama of Hindutva violence and the recent anti-Christian persecution in Orissa.
The woman has been back in Orissa since June of 2006, together with her daughter Esther. About the recent anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal, she says “I feel very sad and I am pained at their suffering.” On January 22, there will be a commemorative Mass in Monoharpur, at the site of the murder. On the morning of the 23rd, a prayer service will be held at the Baripada Mission, which will conclude with the inauguration of a new physiotherapy hall.
Staines remembers her husband and sons calmly, with tenderness. “During these ten years, there have been times of sadness, I feel sad that I do not have my husband to support me, to guard me, but these are just momentary emotions of sadness which also fill me with great hope, the hope of heaven and of being reunited with my husband and children in paradise and seeing the Father face to face. This guarantee fills me with consolation.
“I cannot express that how I felt when I got the news of my husband and sons being burnt alive. I told my daughter Esther that though we had been?left alone, we would forgive and my daughter replied, ‘Yes, we will’.” … [Go To Full Story]