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Saint of the Day: St. Simeon Sylites
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Rajani and Sebastian: A love stronger than civil war

Dolors Massot - published on 12/06/19

Their marriage was falling apart, but a special “gift” saved it.

As Rajani and Sebastian loved each other deeply, they dreamed of starting a family together. So, they decided to get married back in 1998.

But the situation in their country, Sri Lanka, did not favor them. The Tamil Tigers (a guerrilla organization that sought to establish an independent Tamil state, Eelam, in northern and eastern Sri Lanka) and the nation’s government were engaged in a bloody civil war. Since 1983, the Tamil Tigers became strong in the north of the island, spreading terror. The government responded with violence and, standing between both, the civilian population suffered.

Sebastian worked as a fisherman, and his income was at first enough to cover for his family expenses. But clashes between the Tigers and the government’s army made the situation unsustainable.

 Flight to India

Rajani and Sebastian then decided to flee to India, like thousands of their fellow countrymen. 

Their early lives as ex-pats living in exile proved difficult, but they were able to face and finally overcome all hardships together. A few years later, as the situation improved in Sri Lanka, both Rajani and Sebastian did not hesitate to return to their village. The natural paradise they had to leave behind — beaches, jungle, and tea fields, and the sea Sebastian used to work in—  awaited them.

Crisis in marriage

However, the Sri Lankan conflict lasted until 2009, and Rajani and Sebastian still struggled to find the necessary resources to support their family. “Sometimes we couldn’t put enough food on the table,” Rajani recalls. As the situation worsened, they began to fight each other. Their marriage was cracking.

But then, Rajani explains, something happened, saving their lives.

Good advice

The village pastor, who noticed the couple was going through a crisis, encouraged them to attend the marriage courses that were being taught at the Diocesan Center for the Family, sponsored by Aid to the Church in Need (internationally ACN).

Little by little, never missing one of these classes, Rajani and Sebastian found a way to get over their constant arguing and lack of understanding. Naturally, their problems did not disappear magically, but as they faced them with faith, their marriage was eventually reborn. Again, love united them and gave them the strength to overcome any situation they had to fight their way through. 

Rajani and Sebastian decided they wanted to publicly share their case so that the positive work that Aid to the Church in Need carries out in every corner of the planet —including their home— is known. That work would not be possible if it were not for the Gifts of Faith freely given by thousands of people around the world.

A Gift of Faith is a donation. This Christmas, instead of just buying another material gift, we can decide to help marriages such as that of Rajani and Sebastian.

Your Gift of Faith, whether big or small, will help to extend the work of the Church in the world. The gift can be made on behalf of someone else, as well. This surely is an excellent way to embrace Christmas. Like Rajani and Sebastian, many couples and families around the world need our contributions.

If you are making your Gift of Faith from the U.S., use this link:

If you are making your Gift of Faith from Canada, use this link:

If you are making your Gift of Faith from Australia, use this link:

If you are making your Gift of Faith from Ireland, use this link:

If you are making your Gift of Faith from the Philippines, use this link:

If you are making your Gift of Faith from the UK, use this link:

If you are making your Gift of Faith from any other country, use this link:

Aid to the Church in Need
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