By Kaelanne Jordan
The maintenance employees at the Mt St Benedict monastery commenced work last Tuesday to change the PVC water lines destroyed by a bush fire to galvanise instead. The project, which will take approximately three weeks to complete is being supervised by Maxime de Comarmond and three employees.
Temporary manual labour assistance will be sought during the project as needed. TT Weather Centre reported that a large bush fire was raging in parts of the Northern Range near the Mount, last Monday. The fire has been ongoing since March 20.
Abbot John Pereira OSB, responding to questions from Catholic News said that the monastery has had good support so far from the Fire Services. He said that the men— “able bodied” monks and workers at the Mount—all “rose to the challenge”.
He explained that the “burnt out” PVC water lines on the northern side of the monastery caused a temporary disruption in the water supply for two days.
He however assured that during the project, water will be supplied continuously to all monks, pilgrims and tenants at the monastery.
“The new galvanise lines will be set in place and only then would there be a switching over from the PVC. There will therefore be no disruption in the supply of water on the Mount,” he said via WhatsApp message. Abbot Pereira further added, “We have some water hoses so if the fire gets too close to the monastery, we can handle that ourselves.”
A steady supply of water is critical at the Mount as the monastery supplies water at no charge to monks, retreatants, pilgrims, the Drug Rehabilitation Centre, PAX Guest House, St Peter’s Home for the Aged, Carmelites Convent, St Bede’s School of Technology, the sports field, other tenants and residents in the area and to the factory which produces Mt St Benedict PAX yogurt.
Abbot Pereira recalled that the monastery was affected by bush fires in the past and he spoke of one “major” fire in 2007.
“Every year we must expect these things…this year was very severe.” Cognisant that the majority of bush fires are caused by human activity or natural causes, such as the severe heat of the dry season, Abbot Pereira was unable to confirm the cause.