Br R B Vieyra
Br.Bernard arrived here on the 25th of November 1999. This was after two operations in Bombay: for the knee and perforation of the intestine which left him very weak. At the time it seemed like he would need a full time attendant. However Bernard had other ideas and his determination to be independent ( he refused to have anyone stay with him) not only paid off but also won much admiration from the monks in the community. Nurse Louisa did a wonderful job nurturing him back to health. The few times he had to be taken to the hospital for various check ups, he was more than co-operative and despite a hearing problem, and poor sight, he still insisted on looking after himself ,moving around on his own — much to our amazement.
Though he had his meals in his room, he regularly walked down the ramp a couple of times a day to visit the chapel. Only on his B'Day and an occasional feastday would he leave the confines of his room to spend a few minutes in the sitting room with the brothers — and was the center of attention with his witty remarks. Even though he spent a lot of time by himself, he enjoyed the company of people for short periods. He was a straight forward man, always said what he wanted to say, with apologies to none. Talking to him was interesting because one never knew what Bernard would say next! Till the end he remained interested in the happenings of the province and region and often inquired about important events. His memory was absolutely stunning — he had vivid recall of past events and never forgot anyone he met. Memories of Mt.Abu , his alma mater, held prime place (can't understand why!) He kept himself abreast of school events and was ever ready to offer suggestions, anytime he felt there was a problem. One of his great friends was Mr. Magan — God rest his soul.
Old habits die hard — so to with Bernard! The few stray dogs, who roamed the school soon discovered a generous provider in Bernard and faithfully parked themselves outside his window. They never left disappointed. More recently a cat joined the group as well. This generosity was not confined to the animal kingdom alone — the Brothers in community benefited too! His sister, Sr.Christopher rjm, would always send two packets, one for the brothers and one for Bernard, but he never kept anything for himself and so we were twice blessed!
Despite his circumstance ,he never complained and tried to avoid putting anyone to any inconvenience on his behalf. Besides personal visits to the chapel , he was always present for morning prayers and the Eucharist. Anytime the priest couldn't make it for mass, Bernard would be very disappointed. He insisted that the day's gospel be read to him the previous evening, and often shared beautiful insights. He mentally organised his day between mass, prayers, meals, personal needs, rest and medication etc and stuck rigidly to that. He maintained that the day was not long enough for all he had to do. When George was not well, Bernard made it a point to go and see him everyday in his room — and even made a special effort to be present for George's funeral.
Bernard had a serious hernia problem, but doctors could do nothing about it due to an earlier operation. That apart he had a slight BP problem which was attended to. Add to this a painful knee. That given, he still looked remarkably healthy and was very alert till the end. On the evening of the 28th of July, Bernard fell in the toilet but was alert enough to sound the alarm. He was admitted to Salgaocar Medical Hospital that night. In the next few days his condition worsened and he became disoriented for short periods. Doctors maintained that his condition was critical, and recommended that he be shifted to Goa Medical College Bambolim. Initially Bernard responded to treatment — however, doctors & nurses found it difficult to give him the drip and take blood samples as he was restless and would cry out in pain “Lord have mercy on me.” In a couple of days he had recovered sufficiently for the doctors to contemplate a much needed surgery for the hernia. However that was not to be because on the morning of 12th of August, he took a sudden turn for the worse and began to deteriorate rapidly. Doctors tried their best, but Bernard slipped away quietly at about 1:45 pm. May his soul R.I.P.
The funeral mass on the 13th at 4pm was celebrated by His Grace Auxiliary Bishop Philip Neri, FR.Cyprian(PP), Fr.Anton & Fr.Succoro ( Palottines). Many sisters of rjm, Presentation, Cloistered Carmel and Cluny were present for the funeral. Besides, friends and families of the brothers, staff and students and an ex-student (Noel Paras) too were present to bid farewell to this great man. The CL thanked all those present for the mass. Bernard was laid to rest in the church graveyard around 4.50 pm.
He exerted great influence on us, in many ways. His fidelity to prayers and cheerfulness at all times, was something we all admired.
Our sincere thanks to all of you, for your support and prayers.
The Regina Mundi Community