I met Fr. Susainather for the first time in August 1959 when I reached Fatimagiri to begin novitiate. By the time he had been bed ridden for more than three years. Although eye sight and hearing were apparently normal he could not move any part of his body by himself. As regards speech he could produce some sounds, but was unable to articulate any word. Only Bruno his constant assistant could make out to some extent what he wanted to convey.
From August 1959 to June 1961 I was at Fatimagiri. I had the good fortune to help him occasionally, especially to take him out on a wheel chair and read out to him from current perioidicals to which he would listen attentively.
Though he was not able to help himself, I never noticed any sign of impatience or self pity in him. Even in that condition he had a good sense of humor. He would burst into laughter making inarticulate sounds when some funny incident or topic was brought to his notice. Fr. Susainather was stationed in a room adjacent to the chapel. One evening during supper time, when I was working in the sacristy I heard from him a loud cry as if from someone frightened. I rushed to his room to find out what had happened, but could not make out anything as he remained apparently in a frightful state: Did he have any frightful vision or experience? In the beginning of 1961 I was asked by the superior to go for my studies for the priesthood. When I shared with him my feelings of hesitation to comply with superiors’ wish, he strongly encouraged me using inarticulate sounds to go for my studies.
Having interrupted my studies in March 1962 I was again at Fatimagiri till June 1963. Although I was busy that year with my work as store – keeper, I had occasional chances to have a service for him. From 1963 to 1967 whenever I came to Fatimagiri Ashram for holy days I could be with him. His very presence was a source of encouragement for me. After completing my studies I was again at Fatimagiri from March 1967 till 8th June 1968, the day on which he expired. By then Fr. Susainather had become more weakened and exhausted.
On 7th June, in the evening, he was found to be sinking. The doctor from the local health center was summoned to his bedside. After examining him, the doctor said only God could do anything more for him. That night till about 11.00 P.M. I was by his bedside. Then I retired to my room for short while. When I returned to his room shortly after mid-night Bro. Lourdu Marian who was by his bedside said, he had already ‘gone’. Regrettably, I could not be with him when he breathed his last.
Even today, the memory of Fr. Susainather is vivid in me. The silent ailing figure of Fr. Susainather imperceptibly acted as the main agent in my Rosarian formation. May he rest in peace! May the Lord Glorifiy him on Earth!
Fr. Ephraem CR