Totally Devoted to Bengal and Missionaries

Eric Fabian Salgada was born in Chittagong, Bengal, to an Anglo-Burmese family. He was educated by a group of Irish missionary sisters until the age of thirteen when he entered the Congregation of Holy Cross at St. Gilbert’s Novitiate in Tumilia. The year before he professed vows, in 1920, he was put in charge of a boarding school in Akyab, where he also made the second year of his novitiate. In 1927, at age 25, he was sent to Toomiliah to be the supervisor of all of the village primary schools of the Toomiliah-Rangamati parishes. He did not take well to teaching, but did what he was told to do because in the early days, there were few Brothers in the schools, and the demand for them was great and unrelenting among the parish priests.

In 1933, he left the classroom for good because he was appointed as the procurator providing everything needed by the missionaries to fulfill their ministries. Almost every morning for the next 50 years, he would hop into a rickshaw with a brown leather satchel in his lap and his day’s agenda laid out. He went from shops to offices, to the hospital and then onto the Archbishop’s house, checking off each of his daily tasks on a neatly scripted list. In the afternoons, he read all of the mail, answered the phone, attended to passports and visas, had photos printed, and filled the needs of anyone coming into the office.  Sisters often came to see him and a leper or two might drop by seeking pills. He kept a supply of medicines for the neighboring poor to provide some comfort for them from their aches and pains. For the last ten years of his life he suffered from heart problems and was completely blind.

A few days before he died, he was moved from Moreau House, where the Brothers felt they could no longer care for him and his heavy bronchial congestion, to the Gulshan Clinic. His death came silently as two Brothers prayed the rosary.  All manner of people flocked to his wake: Priests, Brothers, Sisters, the poor, the lame and the leper.  He was a brother to all, and like St. André Bessette, he personified pauper, servus et humilis.  He gave all that God had given him to his beloved of Bengal and the Holy Cross missionaries.

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