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Piecing together shattered lives in Sri Lanka

Father Paul Satkunanagam, seated, with children at a home he established that helps young people displaced by civil war and natural disasters. (Photo by ucanews.com reporter)
Father Paul Satkunanagam, seated, with children at a home he established that helps young people displaced by civil war and natural disasters. (Photo by ucanews.com reporter)

For nearly 50 years Jesuit priest Paul Satkunanagam has offered counseling to those in need.

Maheshwari’s husband fought with the Tamil Tiger militants during Sri Lanka’s bitter civil war and when he was killed in 1995, she was left alone with their young three children.

“After that, it was mental agony staying where we lived because other villagers looked at my family with suspicion,” said Maheshwari who is a Tamil Hindu.

Maheshwari described how she became increasingly isolated in her village in Batticaloa province on Sri Lanka’s east coast.

Fortunately, she met Father Paul Satkunanagam who was travelling through the area offering trauma counseling for those affected by the 25-year-long civil war or from natural disasters such as 2003’s Boxing Day tsunami.

Father Satkunanagam gave the family counseling and Maheshwari took it to heart.

“I became self determined and with the support of Father Satkunanagam I can now make a decent income from farming and my children are enjoying schooling,” said Maheshwari fighting back tears.

As well as being a Jesuit priest, Father Satkunanagam is a professional counseling psychologist who trained at Loyola University, Chicago and St. Louis University, Missouri.

“It is the mission of a Jesuit priest to reach the downtrodden in the society said Father Satkunanagam. “Making use of the knowledge I gained, I took passion in serving groups in need of someone’s support.”

For 47 years Father Satkunanagam has provided counseling to those in need. The civil war period 1983 — 2009 was the most challenging.

Read more at UCANews.com…

 

 

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