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A standing symbol left by a service-minded group

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Special Correspondent

Superior General of Salesian Society to visit the town today Superior General of Salesian Society to visit Thanjavur today "The three feet tall statue remains in all its splendour dwarfing every conceivable creature"

Thanjavur: Hundred years have gone ever since the Don Bosco Salesians from Italy landed in Thanjavur to render service. They first landed at St. Francis Xavier Orphanage at Thanjavur and soon started the industrial school and the Don Bosco press.

An interesting fact, according to Rev. Fr. R. Raphael of the St. Xavier's Industrial Training Centre, was that the Salesians brought with them a small Italian-made statue of Our Lady, Help of Christians, which was kept in the little chapel of the priests residence.

"When they left the place for good in 1928, they left the statue in the chapel which, till this day, adorns the chapel and continues to be venerated," Raphel said.

Though many changes have been made in the industrial training centre in the past hundred years, like construction of new buildings, transformation of the whole complexion of the campus, one thing, which remained unchanged was the statue.

"The three feet tall statue, remains in all its splendour dwarfing every conceivable creature," Raphael said.

Centenary of first batch

As part of the centenary to mark the first batch of Salesians in Thanjavur, Rev. Fr. Pascal Chavez, a Mexican-born priest, who is the superior general of the Salesian Society is coming to Thanjavur on Sunday.

He would visit the St. Xavier's Orphanage at Thanjavur and the industrial school attached to it, which according to Raphael is the Bethlehem of Salesians of India.

Visitors from abroad

"Scores of Salesian family members from India and abroad, have come to visit this little known place (St. Xavier's Orphanage) in the last few years, as pious pilgrims to see with respect and reverence the foot prints left behind in the sands of time by their illustrious founders and predecessors," Mr. Raphael said.

"Every visitor to this place has experienced at heart a mysterious stir of re-charged emotions, rekindled fire of zeal and reinvigorated inspiration. In the long string of distinguished visitors, this humble house of orphans and destitutes is proud of welcoming the supreme head and father of the Salesian family," he said.

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