ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 01

With bubbling energy and passion, she dedicated herself to helping others

Bernadeen Silva

The sudden death of our dear friend and colleague Bernadeen Silva, three months ago, has left a void in the many lives she touched.

Bernadeen was an active member in innumerable social service, religious and professional organizations. She, with her bubbling energy and passion for the many causes she espoused, managed to rope in friends, relatives and even acquaintances to support her in her work.

Diligence, perseverance and absolute sincerity and integrity were the hallmarks of her work in any project she got involved in. She would not rest until the project was completed to the satisfaction of everyone associated with her.

She was a vociferous activist for social justice, good governance, free and fair elections, human rights, rights of women; the list went on and on. Being a devout Catholic she was actively involved in a number of Catholic organizations as well.

However, the most important of all was the time and energy she spent as a mental health activist, in the last 15 years of her life. She was an active member of the Communication Centre for Mental Health, and served for many years as its treasurer. She was a founder member of Richmond Fellowship Lanka, and served as its honorary secretary, until a few months before her death. She did a wonderful job but latterly she found that it was too much work for her and so she resigned at the last Annual General Meeting in 2006.

Although it was an honorary post she took it so seriously that it took up a lot of her time and energy. Many were the times she would admonish her fellow members of the committee of RFL, that they were not active enough in the activities of fund raising and supervision of the halfway home.

In the latter half of last year, her constant worry was that the building fund would be insufficient to complete the new premises at Bopitiya.

She tapped everyone she could think of for donations in cash and kind. It gave her immense joy to see the completion of her dream, when the new halfway home was inaugurated at the end of last year.

Until her last illness she drove herself all the way to Bopitiya at least once a week, to supervise the running of the home. In spite of the work load she would stop to chat with many of the residents who would gather round her. She would always find the time to even visit the kitchen and greet the kitchen staff, gardener and the household help. She endeared herself to all of them with her simplicity and genuine concern for their welfare.

Bernadeen is missed by everyone in the home as well as by the committee. Her beloved son Tilak and daughter-in-law Shanthini must feel her loss immensely. Our sympathies are with them and the other members of her family, in their sad loss.

We pray that Bernadeen may find eternal peace and happiness with the Lord.

By The Richmond Fellowship Board

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.