“Go set the world on fire.” These famous words of St Ignatius to St Francis Xavier brought Fr Edwin Sumit to Bihar in 1971 at the age of twenty. He said goodbye to his home in Mumbai, his parents and his eight siblings.
What stood out in the life of Fr Sumit was his passionate love for Jesus whom he encountered in the poorest of the poor, the Dalits, especially the Manjhis and the Bhuias of Bihar. He was deeply attached to the poor and did not seek power, position, comforts, status and prestige. He identified with the little ones of this world and enjoyed the company of the least and the last of society. They brought out his creative best in the work of non-formal education, conscientisation, and the establishment of self-help groups.
Fr. Sumit spent his last days working in Jeevan Sangham, Bodh Gaya. He was the pioneer of this centre (1994) that serves the poor of the area with the help of other Jesuits. During the last five years of his life Fr Sumit found the going tough with back trouble and asthma. However, despite his health problems he did his best to go to the villages to be with his people and supervise the educational programme. It is significant that Fr Sumit had just completed the project with DK Austria in Aurangabad District. However, the good Lord had other plans. He called Sumit on December 18, 2019, to be with Him forever sharing eternal life.
Edwin Sumit, our brother and friend, rest in peace with your Creator and Lord for you have gone many miles and more in the faithful service of your God and his people.
- Dionysius Rasquinha, SJ