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Here are some personal musings and memories of Fr. Martin. As far as my memory goes, Fr. Martin has been my friend for a long time.
Socius in the Redemptorist Novitiate at John Armstrong Road: My first encounter with Fr. Martin was as Socius in my Novitiate at John Armstrong Road in Bangalore. He was very gentle and accommodating. He taught us how to speak correct English, good manner in addition to plumbing and the housekeeping skills. He did much for the Initial Formation in the Bangalore Province.
Advent to India: Fr Martin came to India with other young Irish confreres. He was the only Irish confrere who had not passed through the Juvenate in Ireland.
Multi-faceted Person:He was a multi-faceted person with multiple skills. He took up a paramedical course from St. John’s Medical College and from Vellore hospital in Tamil Nadu. He did all this because of his love for young people especially in villages, in order to help them in preventive healthcare measures. I still remember him making a chart in the Juvenate in Bangalore of simple remedies for cough, colds, fever and intestinal parasites. All this was beneficial for the juvenists and pre-novices he was in charge of.
Education of the youth: Education of the young was very much in his heart. He was a great lover of the poor and organised funds for their education. Together with the late Fr. Konrad Souza, He recruited many young boys from Andhra, though most among who left the Redemptorists and joined the Diocese in Vijayawada in Andhra and continue to serve as good priests.
Postings in India: He was posted in the Bangalore Juvenate at Sadupadesa, Bolarum and Tenali . Due to his constant visiting the poor in the hot sun of Andhra, he contracted skin cancer on the top of both his ears and underwent treatment for the same.
Vernaculars We hear a lot of talk about inculturation today. But in those Pioneering days, Quite a few Irish confreres took the trouble to learn one Indian Language and to preach in it. Fr. Andrew Mcgahey learnt Malayalam! Fr. Stan Mellet and Fr. Joe Morgan learnt perfect Tamil and preached in it. Fr. Eddie Cleary learnt Hindi and was based in North India most of the time, while Fr Martin was one of the Irish pioneers who took the trouble to learn Telugu and minister in that language and continues to so till date.
As we celebrate his Diamond Jubilee, we have a lot to thank God for Fr. Martin Cushnan being part of the Bangalore Province and contributing so much to our beloved country, India.
Francis Pinto C.Ss.R.