65-year-old Catholic sculptor Mondol says he has obtained immense blessings from God as a reward for this work. He testified: “I was a simple security guard and not very educated, but after I started making religious statues, I obtained what I asked of Almighty God. I have gained prosperity, honour, peace and security in my life."
Natore (AsiaNews) - The Catholic Dominic Mondol worked at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Bangladesh, a humanitarian agency, as a security guard. After working there for 23 years, he decided to quit his job two years later.
He wanted to learn something. Being devoted to Mother Mary, he wanted to start making a statue of Mary. His maternal uncle lives in Krishnanagar in the Indian state of West Bengal. He is a professional sculptor. In 1996, he visited Krishnanagar and brought his cousin so that he could learn how to make status. For two years, in addition to working at MCC, Mondol learned how to sculpt from his cousin.
In 1998 he quit his job and started making statues of Mary, Jesus, Joseph, Saint Anthony of Padua, Mother Teresa etc.
In 2008 he created the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, in the Bonpara parish of Natore. The realization of this statue was successful and the Catholics liked it. Later, he sculpted an entire biblical history. He makes hundreds of statues every year.
In the past, Bangladeshi Catholics bought the religious statue from India and other countries, but now they get the statues from Mondal. He participates in at least 20 pilgrimages across the country and sells his religious statues.
AsiaNews recently caught up with him. He said he is a great faithful to Mother Mary, who has responded to his prayer. He said: “I was devoted to religious statues. Later I started making them. I like doing it. "
A devout 65-year-old Catholic Mondol says he has obtained immense blessings from God as a reward for this religious work. He testified: “I was a simple security guard and not very educated, but after I started making religious statues, I obtained what I asked of Almighty God: prosperity, honour, peace and security in my life.” Bishops, priests and laity, he says, honour him because he is a creator of religious statues.
Visiting his factory in his house in the village of Bonpara Sud in Natore, we see that he made a statue of the Italian Xaviren Fr. Mario Veronesi who was killed in the Shimulia parish of Jessore in 1971 during the war of independence of the Bangladesh from Pakistan.
"From the parish of Shimulia - Mondol says - the priest sent me a photo of religious statues, seeing it I made these statues of Father Mario Veronesi". He received 40,000 BDT (about 400 euros) for the statue. And he reported that he received many other orders.
The Christian Communication Center (CCC) once brought religious statues from India, because there were no Catholic sculptors in Bangladesh. CCC operates under the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications, publishes religious books, brings religious materials from India and sells them to Catholics in parish offices across the country, including their centres. Despite this, the CCC and the diocesan pastoral centers are the main wholesale buyers of the statues of Mondol.
Mondol said he feels happy when he sees devoted people and prayers beside his statues of him. “These are my best moments, when I see someone doing devotion to the statues I made. At that moment, it seems to me that the work is fruitful and I have the inspiration to make more beautiful religious statues ".
He adds that he does not make religious statues just to earn money, but also to spread God's message. "I have observed that in Bangladesh no one makes religious statues in the Christian community, so I have learned this and it seems that I am preaching God's work. Religious statues help to increase devotion in prayer and holy mass. Many people pray and communicate with God through statues and obtain responses to their prayers. So I'm working as a bridge between people and their God.”
He would like those who buy his statues to pray close to the statues, instead of just keeping them for display.
Finally, he said that his statues are in demand in the dioceses of Dinajpur and Rajshahi, where new believers are on the rise thanks to foreign and local missionaries.