During my 8 years with the Jesuits, I’ve attended many funerals of Jesuits, some of who I knew very well. Today was different, very different. As I sat at home attending Fr. Stan Swamy’s funeral online, I was moved deeply listening to all who spoke eloquently about Fr. Stan. I was touched by his deep faith, his simplicity, his courage to fight for the downtrodden.
There are many who have written and spoken on this gentle giant. But the following speaks volumes of Fr. Stan
In the words of Gautam Benegal, the gifted film director and son of accomplished and acclaimed film director Shyam Benegal
Stan: He wouldn’t have survived long. It was inevitable. It was murder and nothing else.
But the prolonged torture Stan Swamy faced, at his age and in his condition even in the face of all the protests, was deliberately imposed by the State, and done so defiantly, blatantly, and openly to make a point and an example. It was premiditated. And it was bloodyminded malice baring its fangs from the highest level.
But Stan Swamy’s defiance was of an epic level. He stuck to his convictions to the very last. All the might and power of the State could not break an 84 year old man with so many ailments, infected by Covid.
He won in the end. And like Graham Staine’s widow, I am sure that like the Christian he was, true to his faith, he forgave his oppressors.
They win twice over, these Christians.
Oppression is the furnace where the faith of Christians is forged to unbreakable steel. What did the State achieve by murdering Fr. Swamy? Millions more rising up even stronger in their faith.
And unbelievers like me even more resolute in standing next to them through whatever I can muster up in my own small way.
In nōmine Patris et Fīliī et Spīritūs Sānctī.
Father Stan, you are with your God and forever in our hearts.
And here’s a lovely poem I came across on Twitter
May we be inspired to continue the fight against injustice and May the soul of Fr. Stan rest in peace 🙏
Here’s a small note I had written on Fr. Stan a few weeks ago. Link
And here’s the Funeral service for Fr. Stan Link