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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)

ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
Sri Lanka

May 15, 2018

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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.

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