Saturday 20 September 2014

José Luis Carreno, SDB

Jesus-Graciliano has been talking to me these days about Carreno, and he told me once again about a piece written by José Arlegui Suescun, a Spanish Salesian, entitled, "PERFIL DE DON JOSÉ LUIS CARREÑO ETXEANDIA (1905-1986): Sacerdote misionero salesiano," which had been intended for our historical journal, but was not published on the grounds of not being scientific enough. He has kindly given me a soft copy of this piece. 

A few days ago, our library, Natalya, also provided me with something about Carreno which is part of a letter by the Rector Major (probably the one about India, by Pascual Chavez) in the Atti del Consiglio Generale, pp. 24-26. The section bears the title, "Don José Carreno (1905-1986)." 

This afternoon Augustin Pacheco told me that the Mission Procure in Madrid had published a little booklet about Carreno. I should try to lay hold of a copy. 

For the rest, I know there is the mortuary letter written by the provincial of the time when Carreno died, the late 1980s: I believe the surname was Rico. And here it is, cited by Arlegui Suescun: José Antonio Rico, José Luis Carreño Etxeandía Obrero de Dios. Pamplona,  Instituto Politécnico Salesiano 1986.

As far as I know, there does not exist any substantial biography of this great Salesian missionary in India, who Thekkedathu Joseph has defined as the most loved Salesian in India. 

In his little bibliography, Arlegui Suescun mentions the following by way of secondary bibliography, which items fill in some of the missing information above. Strangely, the mortuary letter does not find mention, even though the 3 pages in The Memory are by the same author. J.A. Rico.

2. Escritos Sobre el P. Carreño
1. Rico, J. A. (1998), "Jose Luis Carreno". The Memory of the Salesian Province of Bombay 1928-1998. Matunga: Province Information Office, Don Bosco Provincial House, Ed. Peter Gonsalves., pp. 60–62.
2. Thekkedath, J. 2005, A History of the Salesians of Don Bosco in India from the beginning up to 1951-42. Bangalore, Kristu Jyoti Publications, 2 vols
3. Chávez Villanueva, P. , Carta del Rector Mayor,  en ACG 383, Roma, 8 Setiembre 2003.

For the record, I put down here what Fr Joseph Vaz would often tell me: that an Indian salesian who wanted to write the life of Carreno had gone to visit him in his 'third' (and saddest) phase at the Hogar de los Misioneros in Pamplona. Carreno had refused to hand over his correspondence. After the salesian had left, it is reported that Carreno was seen burning several sacks of correspondence. Fr Vaz thought this was part of the innate delicacy of the man: he did not want the rift and problems between him and others - probably Msgr. Mathias - to be brought to light. 

Carreno was Joe Vaz's novice master. Fr Vaz would often narrate how once Carreno noticed that Joe was shivering. Wait a moment, hombre, he said, and went out. A little later he returned with a blue sweater which he gave to Joe. Joe noticed that the sweater was warm. Only later he realized that his novice master had been wearing a blue sweater under his cassock, and that it was now no longer there. Carreno had given him his own sweater. 

The early salesians of Goa - people like Thomas Fernandes and Elias Diaz and perhaps Romulo Noronha - tell, usually with tears in their eyes, how, when money was scarce and so was food and things, Carreno and others would simply drop into the nearby Goa Medical College, donate blood, and with the few rupees buy rice and footballs and things. The salesians literally gave their blood for the boys. Heroic days. 

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