On February 25th 2008, two coaches of senior citizens pulled into the grounds of St. Aloysius College, Mangalore. We Elderhostelers had been touring India for two weeks and had arrived in Mangalore on the "Ocean Odyssey" at 7:00 a.m. The group comprised of 30 North Americans who hailed from Louisiana, Florida, Oregon, California, Washington, New York, Colorado, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois and Hawaii as well as from Canada. Our leaders were Jaivir Singh and Barun Rawat of India. In our touring we had visited the Taj Mahal, palaces, forts, museums, Vishnu temples and an herb farm. Earlier this day we had spent time at Mangalore’s cashew nut processing plant and had visited a Hindu Temple.
Arriving at the St. Aloysius College Chapel around noon, we viewed the beautiful fresco paintings on walls and ceilings. Done in Michelangelo fashion by an Italian painter in 1899, these adornments were more like the churches and chapels at home than the gilded and bold colors of the Indian temples. We were impressed with the quality of Antony Moscheni’s artistry both in fresco and oil on canvas. Our Mangalore guide told us about the origins of the church and later I’ve learned of the lightning that damaged some of the paintings (now restored).
Barbara Wessinger at Taj
When we emerged from the chapel to appreciate the exterior architecture we were pleasantly surprised to find students in the schoolyard where our coaches awaited. Apparently the boys had just been released from classes on a lunch break. They seemed as pleased to see American tourists as we were to see them. I delighted in their camaraderie and noted that they wore the same uniforms that my own sons had worn when they attended Mary Immaculate Catholic School in Pacoima, California many years ago. White shirts and dark pants! Their good natured acceptance of we ‘foreigners’ was most appealing.
When I started to take their pictures, some were so eager that they moved closer and closer to the camera to be in front. We laughed together over this problem and I found it best to take the pictures from inside the bus when they were unaware. Thus the photos that I have sent to Mangalorean.Com, which I found when I googled for Mangalore in order to send these pictures to those boys. It was fun mingling with those boys and watching them walk around with their pals. I hope some of the young men will be able to identify themselves in the scenes.
Later that afternoon we returned to the ship and sailed for the Lakshadweep Islands where other adventures awaited us.
Elderhostel is a ‘not for profit’ organization of ‘lifelong learning’ for seniors. Programs are featured all over the world for older folk who like to travel, learn, explore and have new experiences. You can learn more about the many courses and places that are offered to members in the United States and Canada by going to their website at
This group of Elderhostelers surely did learn a great deal about your country during our three week tour of India and Sri Lanka. No doubt there will be others coming to visit St. Aloysius College and Chapel in the future. I hope they get to meet the boys like we did. Here are some photographs that we clicked during our visit to India.
Aloha from the Island of Maui in Hawaii!
Author: Barbara Wessinger