Rev. Devadoss Naidu, C.S.C.
When I arrived at the Holy Cross Novitiate that is perched atop the hill station at Yercaud, I felt, for the first time in my life, that I was both a stranger and at home. The Superior was Canadian, and my companions were from different states of India, spoke different languages, dressed differently, and had a variety of culinary tastes. The initial shock of such variety wore off slowly.
The diversity led to many hilarious situations in which we laughed at each other’s pronunciation, accent, food habits, and customs. We squabbled about how to pronounce an English word and how to cook a particular vegetable. Every culture present had a different way of doing it, and everyone had thought, until then, that his way was the right way. Yet, by the end of my stay at Yercaud, I learned not just a few languages, but also how to live with people from different cultures.
My experience at the hilltop was an example of how Holy Cross adapts itself to Indian reality. Holy Cross accepted the diversity of India – both the challenges it posed and the opportunities it offered.
Today, the formation given to candidates who join us in India occurs within the same reality. By the time a candidate completes formation, he has lived with very different cultures and languages and become adept at creating harmony out of the seemingly disparate notes. This ability assists us in our ministry – be it educational, pastoral, or social action – in various states in India as well as in our common life.
Holy Cross continues to evolve in response to the paradoxes of India and to unearth creative ways of becoming a source and symbol of hope. The seminary on the hilltop inspires us to foster harmony among the people we serve and between all of us and God.
Fr. Devadoss Naidu, C.S.C., was the Provincial Superior of the South India Province (Bangalore, Karnataka).