Funeral held for Sri Lankan writer remembered as a visionary

As well as researching the nation's Catholic history, Rita Welgampola explored the human condition
Funeral held for Sri Lankan writer remembered as a visionary

Rita Welgampola's novel 'Coins for a Song' published in 2006. (Image supplied) reporter, Colombo
Sri Lanka
May 15, 2018

Sri Lankan Rita Welgampola, historian, novelist and onetime editor of a newspaper for children, whose funeral service was held in Brisbane, Australia, on May 14, was lauded as a visionary.

Rita wrote on a wide range of subjects, including a work that aimed to dispel the common notion that Christianity in Sri Lanka first arrived with Portuguese colonizers in 1505.

She painstakingly researched how marginalized pre-Portuguese Christian communities were condemned by the colonizers as heretical. The Portuguese destroyed their churches.

Archbishop Emeritus Oswald Gomis noted that Rita, as well as her academic and literary pursuits, embellished the National Basilica of Tewatte, in the capital, Colombo, with bronze castings depicting the nation's Catholic history.

She also conducted free classes for nuns to improve their English.

Prof. Sunanda Mahendra, from Sri Lanka's University of Kelaniya, in the preface to Rita's novel 'Coins for a Song' (2006), described her as a humanist visionary.

He noted her exploration of potential for individuals to overcome personal failings in the right environment.

Rita died on May 4 and her veteran journalist husband, Hector Welgampola, died four months ago, also in Brisbane, aged 85.

Sign up to receive UCAN Daily Full Bulletin
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
© Copyright 2019, All rights reserved
© Copyright 2019, Union of Catholic Asian News Limited. All rights reserved
Expect for any fair dealing permitted under the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance.
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without prior permission.