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Half Yearly Paper - November 2004 - April 2005

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Betty Houghton writes:
I got to know Anu-di in 1945, when I arrived in India, and she became my first Bengali friend. This friendship has lasted until this year when she died. We have kept in touch by letter and cards, and by our friendships with others who knew and loved her. Her gift of joy and expectation, of the goodness of God to be shared with others, endeared her to all her friends.

Anu was the daughter of a priest and lived all her life in a Christian family, her brothers and sisters taking a great part in her life. One of her brothers began life as a village priest and became the Bishop in Assam, and like him, Anu wrote many hymns and poems, now used in the Church. She taught in schools in Bengal, and then became a very valued member of the ministry to the villages in Nadia and Krisnagar Districts in Bengal. Many will remember her with love and gratitude.

She was Didi (elder sister) to so many people - Bengalis and English alike. Her home was always open to us, with a welcome from her beloved Mother. She helped many of us to understand the life of the people who lived in villages, and when staying we lived as she did. Her village was a small Christian one, with a Muslim village on one side and a Hindu village on the other, and Anu-di was respected and loved by all who lived in these villages.

The nearest town, Krisnagar, had the nearest large church and school, and her help there was appreciated by Bengali and Missionary alike Anu-di's teaching was so full of the joy of knowing God through His Son Jesus Christ - and living her life as Christ would have her live it - that she was an inspiration to all of us. Anu-di's first years, and those of her family, were much involved with the C.M.S. (Church Missionary Society), and she came to England and lived in the then training house for missionaries - Foxbury - and in Cambridge too. She always said it taught her how to live, and the involvement with Christ as the centre of our relationships. She also stayed with the S.P.G. (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel), then training missionaries in Birmingham, and said, "This place taught me about prayer".

While in England she was invited to visit many of the homes of missionaries she knew in Bengal. My own parents were delighted when she stayed with them and never forgot her. The Oxford Mission played a great part in her life, and she was a member of the a.M. Fellowship of the Epiphany for many years, and came to two of the Retreats, then held in Woking.

Her real love for the a.M. was Behala. Whenever she could, on visits to her family in Kolkata or on Church business, she would always go to the Sisters and the Brothers in Behala, and to the C.M.S. Nazareth House on their compound. Father Theodore mentions her in his letters, later published by his sisters (see Publications page).

She also went to Barisal, to the Novices' Retreats there sometimes, and shared their lives in Barisal. All the Sisters and Brothers knew Anu-di, and often asked her advice and help.

Her interest in orphan and homeless children made her truly helpful to those who, when grown up, married into the villages in Nadia and Krisnagar. She visited and encouraged them and loved them. Her niece (now the wife of the Bishop of Peshawar, Pakistan) writes, "She gave so much of herself to one and all - at the beginning in Calcutta Diocese, before that in school and in the then new Barakpore Diocese - and always in the villages. We thank God for her life".

So what more can I add? My dearest friend Anu - who shared so many friendships with me.


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