Institute of Sathya Sai Education Mexico - Second International Congress
The Second International SSEHV Congress (Conference) was held in the central Mexico city of San Luis Potosi at the University of San Luis Potosi on October 15-16, 2016. The Congress was organised by the country’s Institute of Sathya Sai Education. Six hundred participants attended from Mexico and Central and South America. A team of nearly 70 SSIO volunteers from different areas of Mexico traveled to San Luis Potosi to support the Congress. Thanks to the guidance of the ISSE and the skillful support of the SSIO volunteers, the Congress proceeded smoothly in an environment of love.
The national colours were presented by an honour Army platoon with drums and brass horns at the Congress opening, and an official of the Government of Mexico Education Ministry provided an introductory welcome. The ISSE Director Alberto Morales opened the conference. Proceedings were organised around three keynote speakers and numerous breakout sessions where practical suggestions for implementation of SSEHV were explored. The speakers were Dr. Pal Dhall of Australia, Dr. Dalton De Souza of Brazil, and Dr. Tom Scovill of USA. More than two dozen workshop sessions featured practicing teachers and administrators of Sathya Sai Schools and other schools where SSEHV is implemented. Participants were treated to an exhibition of oil paintings on the subject of human values in the spacious entrance hall to the auditorium. A highlight of the Congress was a cultural dance programme of Mexican folk dancing on the evening of the first day. SSIO Central Coordinator Oscar Morado closed the conference with a rousing call to put new learnings into practice.
Signs of Sai Baba’s Presence at the Congress
There are many stories from Sathya Sai Schools around the world of transformation of adults in families of students. Parents or other adults are so moved by the example of righteousness in the children and in Sai Baba’s message, that they sincerely make effort to eliminate their own bad habits and vices. There are other stories from a few Sathya Sai Schools of Sai Baba appearing on campus. Both types of events occurred at the Congress.
For large public events in Mexico like the Congress a government official is assigned to insure all proceedings and documentation are in order. The official assigned to the Congress attended portions of both days and took in the guest speakers’ talks. As the Congress was closing, the official came up to the SSIO project leader and said that everything was in order. He then shared that he had been an alcoholic for the past twenty years, and the message of Sathya Sai Education in Human Values he had heard had inspired him to resolve to get off alcohol for good.
The Congress venue was the auditorium complex of the University of San Luis Potosi. On the morning of the second day of the Congress, a security guard hired by the University approached Sai Organisation volunteers supporting the proceedings. The guard asked where he could find out more information about the “man with the big hair” who had been walking around in the large entrance hall. The Sai volunteers quickly found a photo of Sai Baba in the Congress brochure and showed the photo to this guard with a kind face. The guard replied, yes, this is the man I saw. The guard was given information about the Sathya Sai Baba Centre of San Luis Potosi.
Congress SSIO Volunteers stay in a “House of Miracles”
Accommodations and meals, for nearly 70 devotees from all over Mexico who volunteered to support the Congress were arranged in the House Don Bosco. Sai volunteers fondly call the facilities a house of miracles due to the story of its founder Pepe.
Known as Tio Pepe (Uncle Pepe), he has a big heart. Through his great faith and perseverance many miracles occurred in the 1980s to create a spacious campus of graceful Old Mexico style buildings for the noble purpose of providing a home and school for children whose parents are unable to support them. Tio Pepe is a devotee of Mary, the Holy Mother of Jesus, and has great faith in Her. He named the estate House Don Bosco after a nineteenth century Catholic saint in Italy famous for caring for children. The campus contains lodging and dining facilities offered for retreats to spiritual and religious groups. Always inspired by the miracles of Sathya Sai Baba, the devotees of the Sathya Sai Organisation of Mexico feel at home in this house of miracles and frequently utilise its lodging and dining facilities for SSIO retreats.
Decades ago Tio Pepe began providing food to hungry neighbourhood children. As more children gathered at his home for food, he hired a cook to prepare meals. As word spread more children came. After conferring with his wife Tio Pepe quit his executive job to devote more time the needs of the children. He rented a home for them, but soon more space was needed so he began to look for land to build a proper campus. Ample size property was found at the edge of town. The price was not exorbitant, but when the owners heard the purpose, they gave the land to Tio Pepe at no cost.
Now to put buildings on the campus! In prayer and meditation Tio Pepe began hearing instruction from the Holy Mother. She guided him to the construction site of a future luxury hotel and said that the project’s architect would be the one to design the campus. The architect was principal of a large firm with many employees. Pepe obtained a meeting with the architect in the firm’s office and told him his plans. The architect said, tell me your budget amount and I can tell you the type of building possible. Pepe said, I have no money. The architect abruptly stated, you’re crazy, and asked Pepe to leave. The Holy Mother soon instructed Pepe to phone the architect. Pepe obeyed and phoned the firm’s office. Instead of office staff answering the phone, the call went straight through to the architect himself. Pepe again explained the vision for the property, and the architect again refused, curtly responding he did not care about the charitable purpose. Again the Mother told Pepe to phone, again the call went straight through to the architect himself. This time the architect angrily refused and accused Pepe of following him. The Mother again comes to Pepe and tells him to phone again. Pepe replies how angry the architect had been. The Mother tells Pepe, you phone again and tell the architect these words, this will be the last time to phone. Tio Pepe keeps secret those words, but he phoned again straight through to the architect and told him exactly what the Mother had said. The architect said nothing and immediately hung up the phone. Later that evening the architect phoned Pepe and told Pepe that he would work with him on the project.
Thus began the construction of the elegant campus buildings constructed by the architect to the same standards as the luxury hotels. Construction included a basilica dedicated to the Holy Mother. Every Sunday to this day church services are held in the basilica for people of the neighbourhood. On Sunday the last night of the Congress, a small group Sai devotee volunteers enjoyed re-telling stories of the miracles of Sathya Sai Baba. As the group began retiring to their rooms, everyone gathered outside to enjoy the beautiful full moon highlighting small tufts of clouds above the campus. In the moonlight the soft red stucco of the basilica was visible, and an aura of peace seemed to radiate from this place of miracles.