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REV. FR. BENJAMIN HENRY MILLER, S.J., (77/93) passed away at early hours on 01st January (Tuesday), 2019 at St Michael’s Jesuit Residence, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Rev. Fr. Benjamin Henry MILLER of the Society of Jesus arrived in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, on 4th September, 1948 just eight months after Sri Lanka celebrated its independence from the colonial rule.
He is an American citizen, born on 11th August, 1925 in New Orleans, Louisiana State in USA. He opted to serve in Sri Lanka as a Missionary in building up youth for the country as an educationist in St. Michael’s College in Batticaloa and in St. Joseph’s College in Trincomalee.
Early years of his sojourn in Sri Lanka were dedicated to the education of youth in the Eastern Province. Since his arrival he spent almost 67 years in Sri Lanka during which time he served as educator, priest, protector and witness of the marginalized. In his early years in Sri Lanka Fr Miller taught physics, English and history and coached the soccer team at St Michael’s College. During the period from 1959 till 1970 he held the post of Rector of the same College. He learned the local language, Tamil and served as a Parish Priest in some parishes in the Diocese of Batticaloa.
Later when violence and war broke out in 1986, Fr Miller was one of the founders of the Batticaloa Peace Committee and the Batticaloa Council of Religions which took initiatives to find a peaceful solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. In recognition of his non-partisan work, during the period of Ceasefire in 2002 and until its breakdown, the Government of Sri Lanka appointed him to be its nominee for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Batticaloa. As the apex of his dedicated service to Sri Lanka the NATIONAL PEACE COUNCIL OF SRI LANKA awarded the YEAR’S CITIZENS PEACE AWARD to Fr Benjamin Henry Miller, Founder Member, Batticaloa Peace Committee on Saturday, November 8, 2014 in Batticaloa. The latter part of his life he confined himself to the Jesuit Residence in Batticaloa fighting every senile weakness only awaiting his total surrender to his Lord and Master which he achieved on the first day of 2019 noticed by none.