India. A Gandhian from Belgium

Fr. Michael Anthony Windey SJ landed in British India in 1946, and till 1971 led the life of an ordinary Jesuit in the teaching apostolate in Bihar, first in a school, and then as professor of sociology at the University of Ranchi. In 1971 however, when a cyclone hit the coastal state of Andhra, it swept Fr Windey, then aged 50, into another life. He founded the Village Reconstruction Organisation which rebuilt hundreds of devastated villages in less than 30 years [HL11204]. The name recalls Gandhi?s Village Reconstruction Programme, and indeed he had met the Mahatma briefly and been greatly influenced by him. He also devised new systems for schools and hospitals, work continued by the VRO in its health, educational and training programmes to ensure sustainable development. Through volunteers drawn from all over the world and across the religious spectrum, Fr. Windey?s work goes on. The recipient of numerous awards, including the Gandhi prize, he was chosen among six distinguished people to receive on 27 April 04 the Peace Prize of the Church of Leuven, in Belgium, the country of his birth. [HL40506] Jose Vincent KJ, Publicity Officer, VRO jvincent@rediffmail.com For more information on VRO, go to http:// www.vroindia.org