IRFA > What’s new > 130 years of the foundation of the Saint-Jean Leprosarium in Mandalay (November 1891)

130 years of the foundation of the Saint-Jean Leprosarium in Mandalay (November 1891)

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[Iconothèque, Birmanie b. 10]

Children of lepers playing with wooden horses

Une léproserie existe à trois milles de Mandalay […]. Toutes les installations sont splendides ; celle de Notre Seigneur, c’est-à-dire, la chapelle, celle des lépreux, ses membres souffrants, celle des religieuses infirmières, celle des missionnaires aumôniers. De petits wagonnets, glissant sur un minuscule chemin de fer qui fait le tour des bâtiments de la léproserie, viennent à l’heure des repas prendre les plats pour les porter aux différentes catégories de pensionnaires.

P. GODEC, Bulletin de la Société des Missions Étrangères, 1930.

Shortly after his arrival in Mandalay, Fr. Jean Wehinger met lepers in the small Burmese town of Kiause, begging by day and spending the night in shelters. Taken with pity, he came to open up to his bishop, Mgr Simon, about his project to found a leprosarium. Together they obtained a piece of land in November 1891, three miles east of the city, in the former royal gardens.
With the assistance of the local government, temporary huts were built. In February 1892, 65 lepers were taken in. By the end of the year, there were 150. After a series of enlargements, the leprosarium finally comprised 7 pavilions capable of hospitalizing a total of 350 patients, to which were added a chapel and a convent.

Main building

In January 1898, six Franciscan Missionaries of Mary nuns arrived at the leprosarium. They were much appreciated and became the “Angels of the Leprosarium” for everyone.

A la léproserie est attaché un orphelinat. Ces orphelins sont pour la plupart les enfants des lépreux. L’opinion qui a cours dans le monde médical, en ce moment, étant que la lèpre est contagieuse, mais pas héréditaire, pour épargner aux enfants le malheur de leurs parents, on les sépare de ces derniers. Ces orphelins mettent un rayon de soleil dans ce séjour de tristesse. Je suis resté au milieu de cette jeunesse huit jours qui ont passé comme un rêve.

P. GODEC, Bulletin de la Société des Missions Étrangères, 1930.

Rice harvest at the leprosarium

 

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