Introduction by Brian Joseph Dunn Bishop of Antigonish

Brian Joseph Dunn Bishop of Antigonish

I am grateful for the opportuity of writing an introduction to Rabiznez the Red Colobus Monkey and the Jewel from Spain, by Yvette Marie Louise de Souza-Muise  – a fictional story which features a reunion between two friends.  Their adventure in Goa brings them to the discovery of the Jewel from Spain, namely, St. Francis Xavier.  The book provides an insight into the Xavier home of the 1500s in Spain and traces his journey to Goa and the far East where he died as he gave witness to the faith he received and preached.  The book ends with a reflection on the tradition that is found in St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

This book emerges as a result of the faith of the author who has a desire to pass on faith to young people.  Her work as a teacher and with a children’s choir at St. Ninian’s Cathedral for fortytwo years gave her an appreciation of the desire of young people to know and love the faith.  The author draws on her experience of growing up in Goa and her travels to her homeland to weave a story that inspires, as it informs the reader of the background to the Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier, S.J. 

This book portrays a person of faith, who has that desire for people, especially young people to know and love the faith.  Inspired by the call of Jesus to “go and make disciples of all nations” and the call of Pope Francis to young people to “go change the world; lead wholesome lives; be a disciple of Jesus”, Yvette was lead to share her faith through this particular book, a sequel to Rabiznez the Red Colobus Monkey and the Crystal Orb of Light in Zanzibar.  She shares her faith: “It is important to understand that one’s heart, is capable of receiving all that is good and wholesome in this world, and is also filled with the capacity for expressing unconditional love, at birth.  Jesus’ Heart was so filled with unconditional love that all those who embrace His love and teachings also become via their hearts [...] a light that can overcome darkness.  Let us therefore make life a wonderful journey filled with unconditional Love!!” (p. 14). 

While the book touches on some of the beliefs of world religions, it primarily presents the history of Christianity, especially as it began in Goa with St. Thomas the Apostle in 70 AD and continued with St. Francis Xavier in the 1500s.  She speaks of the home life of St. Francis Xavier and how he learned various prayers that are still part of a young person’s life today.  Francis was also moved by stories of the scriptures and how people like Moses and Jesus taught certain lessons that are essential to the life of faith.  The story of St. Francis Xavier’s call and his desire to go to India come to life as the reader enters into the heart of St. Francis and discovers the story of his life.  

The book also presents some of the devotion that exists in Goa today.  Through pictures of Bom Jesus Basilica, where the relics of St. Francis Xavier reside and where there is an exposition of the relics of St. Francis every ten years, the book shows how the people of Goa continue their devotion to St. Francis Xavier even today.  

Through this book, we meet a woman who gives generous witness to her faith and has an intense desire to pass on her faith to others.  The book reveals a person who is convinced of certain truths connected to her faith and to the values that are important for a life of joy and faith.  She does this in a way that can be an inspiring witness to her readers. 

May all who read this book be given a new appreciation of the importance of passing on faith to those in our everyday lives, especially the young.  May they also come to a new appreciation of the example of St. Francis Xavier as a saint for our day.

Brian Joseph Dunn Bishop of Antigonish

 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =  =

Welcome to everyone, we are so pleased that you could be with us this evening to launch this extraordinary book by Yvette DeSouza

It is her 2nd volume involving Rabiznaz, an over 2000 year old gentle, Red Colobus monkey. This time we witness his reunion with his human friend, Ettie, who has invited Rabiznaz to visit her in her homeland of Goa Dourado (Golden Goa). You may recall that Ettie is the heroine of the first book, who is remarkable for her generosity of heart and uncompromising love of life. 

Rabiznaz learns about Goa, and in particular about St. Francis Xavier, through a group of very personable and peaceable animals, who, we discover have overcome their natural antipathy towards each other because of their close friendship with Ettie, whose essential goodness has changed them. 

These amazing animals boast among their number an excellent

historian and biographer of the life of St. Francis Xavier, and outstanding geographers, who help us fall in love with the sights and sounds of Goa. King Cobra, Mongoose, and Spanish Bat, are our guides. They are bound to become favourites with Rabiznaz fans.

This is a proudly faith based book, and with marvelous paintings and photographs, we will easily understand how a strong Christian upbringing fostered through generations of faithful forefathers and mothers, leaves what can only be described as a stamp on the Goan people - comparable to any other character trait in a person's DNA.

In a moment, Yvette will read excerpts from the book for your enjoyment. She will provide you with the background from which it arose, but in the meantime, I will tell you a little bit about the author.

Yvette is an educator. Through the years, she has taught both children and adults in Canada and abroad. She was educated in East Africa; at the University of Southampton in Great Britain; and at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish. Yvette is now retired from teaching at Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School, and after more than 40 years she has reluctantly withdrew from leading the children's choir. Yet, she has in no way slowed down. Currently, she brings her considerable talents and efforts to the presidency of St. Ninian's CWL, leading many worthwhile projects, including acting as Vice Chair of CARE'S fund-raising efforts to bring a Syrian Refugee Family to Antigonish.

Now, partly in response to requests for a 2nd book, but mostly to share her faith with her beloved children - and here I'm not just referring to her own 3 children and 6 grandchildren, but for all those who are young and optimistic of heart - Yvette has once again put pen to paper.

She never forgets that she is writing for young people. It's easy to envision parents and grandparents lovingly reading this tale to children, who will be drawn in by the wonderful story, and enthralled with the extraordinary illustrations beautifully rendered with vibrant colours and a striking attention to detail. 

Congratulations Yvette, what a beautiful book! It is a compelling story, and one that challenges us to think about the bigger issues. I can only say that my interest was captivated and held to the end. You've once again created a treasure!

= = = = = = = = =
Catherine .......What a wonderful speech the import of which has doubly hit me as I read it for myself after hearing it at the launch. Thanks Catherine. You have more than made my day.
Thanks a million again. With much love and admiration, dear friend. Yvette