Fr Cyril Axelrod is a Redemptorist friar who was the first catholic person in the world who was born deaf to become a priest. Fr Cyril is in Malta to launch his autobiopgraphy “And The Journey Begins”. The book was translated into Maltese by Fred Bezzina and entitled “U JIBDA L-VJAĠĠ”.
Fr Cyril, who was born in South Africa of a Jewish Orthodox family, writes about how much he found it difficult in his younger days to communicate with his parents but then with the help of getting to understand the Sign Language he succeeded in having a good education like everyone else.
In his book he speaks about his work amongst deaf persons as well as blind persons who were also deaf. He learnt eight indigenous sign languages. During the time of apartheid, he succeeded in setting up a school in Soweto for deaf persons of different races, a hostel in Pretoria for deaf people who didn’t have a roof over their head as well as a training centre in Cape Town to prepare deaf people to enter the work force.
When he was forty years of age, doctors diognosed him with the Usher Syndrome. A condition that slowly but surely leads to blindness as has actually happened. This notwithstanding, Fr Cyril never gave up and today he works in England amongst deaf persons who, like him, are also blind.
On the occasion of the official opening of the fourth home by Id-Dar tal-Providenza, this time in the community of Żurrieq, Fr Cyril presented a copy of his autobiography to the Parliamentary Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Aging, Dr Justyne Caruana.
“U JIBDA L-VJAĠĠ” may be purchased from Id-Dar tal-Providenza in Siġġiewi or from Horizons, Triq l-Iskultur, Ħal Qormi (tel: 21441604), from Id-Dar tal-Providenza or from its office in 244, St Paul’s Strett Valletta. All those who would like to order a signed copy can send an email on info@dartalprovidenza/org but not later than Tuesday 12 April 2016.
All proceeds from the sales of this book will go towards Id-Dar tal-Providenza.