On October 1st Redemptorist Joe Maier was picked up at the Toronto Airport by Peter Dalgish, the Founder of Street Kids International, and brought to the Provincial House for breakfast. Joe, a confrere from Thailand who is known to many, arrived in town in the wee hours of Friday morning. Although the breakfast lasted only a little more that an hour, the conversation and the humour were very uplifting and inspirational.
Joe Maier works in the Slaughter House area of Bangkok and has given his life to street kids, those dying of AIDS, the homeless and abandoned. He came to Canada to be present as Canada welcomes her new Governor General. Joe is the “adopted son” of Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul. Joe met John Ralston Saul years ago when John was spending some time in Bangkok writing and exploring. In Ralston Saul’s later published novel Paradise Eater, Joe is the major moment in a chapter. He had met Adrienne on a different occasion and when John and Adrienne became life partners both were deeply supportive and interested in Joe’s work among the less fortunate in Bangkok. They recently hosted fund raising suppers here in Toronto to support his work.
Peter Dalglish, who picked up Joe at the airport is a graduate of Upper Canada College, and the son of wealth. After graduation, he became a lawyer and set to travel and see the World. He was so moved by the plight of street kids around the World that he had a “conversation” and founded Street Kids International. Peter presently teaches part-time and is the Don of one residences at Upper Canada College in Toronto. Peter works in the Regent Park area of Toronto and wrote last year a book entitled The Courage of Children. Peter is trying to awaken the “rich kids” of Upper Canada College to a world on the margins – the street kids.
It is nice to know that as Canada installs her new Governor General, one of the Redemptorist family in the person of Joe Maier will be there, staying at Rideau Hall and celebrating a liturgy in the Vanier Chapel. It is also nice to know that our new Governor General supports, encourages and finances with others the continuing work of a Redemptorist in the slums of Bangkok.
Paul E. Hansen