Earlier this year, Kairos Catholic Journal published a story about Klibur Domin, a facility established by Ryder-Cheshire Australia in East Timor to provide long-term care for people who were sick or suffering from physical and mental disabilities. In the following story, Kairos reflects on another Ryder-Cheshire community, Raphael, founded at Dehra Dun in northern India, in 1959, reports the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.
The Archangel Raphael supervises healers and healing for all Earth’s population.
In 1956, Group Captain Leonard Cheshire (later, Baron Cheshire of Woodhall), educated at Stowe and Merton College, Oxford, met Sue Ryder (later, Baroness Ryder of Warsaw CMG OBE), who at the time had earned a name for her charitable work in Poland among survivors of concentration camps after World War II.
Both had converted to Roman Catholicism at separate times in their lives and their joint mission for the relief of suffering was formed to undertake projects mainly in the developing world. Cheshire held honorary degrees from the universities of Oxford, Liverpool, Birmingham. Kent and Nottingham and from Manchester Polytech.
He was the official British observer of the dropping of the world’s second atomic bomb, on Nagasaki on August 15, 1945. Although filled with horror, he held to his belief that strength was vital to peace.
The Order of Merit, with which he was invested in 1981, marked the many years he spent in peacetime devoted to the welfare of disabled people. The Cheshire Homes for the disabled are his monument. He was made a life peer in 1991 and was also a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Gregory the Great.
While Cheshire was visiting Dehradun, northern India, he came across a small community living in the Rispana riverbed. These people were afflicted with leprosy and he took it on himself to help these people.
Today when we walk through the gateway to this place we come to an arch that displays the word ‘Raphael’ and we discover a prospering community. Ryder, who married Cheshire in 1959, was instrumental in the naming of this community.
In 1992, aged 74, Lord Cheshire died of motor neurone disease and Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, described Cheshire as being “in love with God”.
FULL STORY Raphael, a new beginning (CAM)