You are viewing the site of the Benedictine monks in Maheswarapasha, Khulna, Bangladesh
The Church urges hers sons and daughters
to enter into dialogue and collaboration
with the members of other religions.
All together may they promote -for the benefit of all men-
peace, liberty, social justice and moral values.

(Vatican Council II)

Bangladesh, with a population around 130 million, is a predominantly Muslim country; Hindus are estimated to be 15 million; Christians are more or less 500 thousand (Catholics: 250 thousand). It goes without saying that in such a situation inter-religious dialogue is a necessity.
The Monastery itself is sorrounded by Muslims and Hindus. Just opposite its main gate there is the Hindu Temple, and at its side, the Mosque.

The gate to the Monastery (on the left), the Temple, and (in the background) the Mosque

The kind of dialogue we engage in is the so-called ‘dialogue of life’. This means that we try to foster peaceful and respectful relations among people belonging to different religious beliefs. Our neighbours know that in their difficulties they can come to the monastery to get some advice or some help. Indeed, in these years they have come to such a point in appreciating our presence among them that they appointed one of our monks as a member of the local Mosque-Committee.

In the house of the Imam

Young people especially are very near to us. Besides keeping an eye open so that no miscreant causes any harm to us, they are very proud when we let them share in some of our work, like taking poor and sick people to the hospital.

Conversing with young men near the Mosque

It may be a matter of some interest to point out also our association with the ‘Cultural Centre’ of nearby Daulatpur (a large suburb at the outskirts of Khulna). The Centre -whose teaching staff is composed mostly of professors and students of the renowned ‘BL College’ of Daulatpur- is open to everybody who, for a modest fee, would like to learn to play classical music, singing and dancing. At the same time, the Centre aims to spread the ideal of a brotherhood not biased by one’s religious belief. The Centre also takes a very strict stand on the ethical/moral behaviour of its members.
Since we are honorary members of the Centre’s Board of Advisers, we are in the privileged position to raise proposals of a more humanitarian nature, like to devote some time to teach basics to children of the slum-areas, to use part of the admission-fees to buy school stationary for poor students, to organize cultural street-events during natural calamities (floods) in order to raise money for distressed people, etc. The response to such proposals has not only been encouraging, but it has spread its effect to several shopkeepers as well, to the extent that when we purchase stationary and medicines for poor people, these shopkeepers are proud to share in our charitable activities by selling us their goods at a reduced price.
Religious festivals are also privileged occasions for us to visit our non-Christian brothers and sisters at home and share their joy while they reciprocate at Christmas and Easter by entertaining our guests with songs and giving us a hand in serving them.