Remembering Father Cap’s light and wisdomFr. Casper J Miller, S.J. came to Nepal in 1958 and served the country till his last breath.
I was in my second year of high school when I first met Father (Fr.) Cap. He was this older man with a hunched back who walked with a stick and had a white beard like Santa Claus. The year was 2018.
Fr. Casper J Miller, S.J., mentor, writer, storyteller, educator, counsellor, and pianist passed away on Sunday, January 15, 2023, at the ripe old age of 90. He suffered from no major illness but had been confined to bed for over a month at St. Xavier’s Jesuit Community, Jawalakhel, Lalitpur, where he took his last breath.
Fr. Casper was born on December 13, 1933, in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and came to Nepal in 1958 when he was 25. He was ordained in 1964 at St. Paul’s Church, Kurseong, India. Lovingly called, Fr. Cap or Fr. Cappy by his students and colleagues, he spent 65 years of his life serving the people of remote and urban Nepal.
During his active age, Fr. Cap served as the principal of St. Xavier’s School, Jawakhel from 1967 AD to 1969 AD and St. Xavier’s School, Godavari from 1969 AD to 1975 AD. He was also a Research Writer at Human Resource Development and Research Centre from 1976 AD to 1987 AD. Fr. Cap was one of the first people to do a PhD in Anthropology in Nepal. He has published three books—‘Faith-Healers in the Himalayas’, ‘Decision Making in Village Nepal’, and ‘To Yourself Be True’.
As Fr. Cap grew older, his responsibilities became lighter. He joined St. Xavier’s College, Maitighar, as a student counsellor in 2018 at the age of 85.
I remember how I used to carry his walking stick and pillow wherever he went on campus and how I helped him change the small poster on his office wall every month. It was more than an honour when one day Fr. Cap asked me, “Isha, would you like to inaugurate my little coffee shop?” Having a small bottle of coffee, sugar, and water boiler in his office was a luxury for him. He was that simple and grounded.
After retiring from St Xavier’s College, Maitighar, he rested at Campion House, where he moonlighted as a community librarian and writer. In 2022, he was taken to Jawalakhel Jesuit Residence.
Fr. Cap was more like a friend than a counsellor and was always surrounded by students, like ants surrounding a sugar cube. Fr. Cap was that sweetness in the lives he touched. He was the light and wisdom that everyone needed. May his soul rest in peace.
His mortal remains will be laid in state at St Xavier’s Jesuit Residence, Jawalakhel, from January 15 to January 16, 11am for his students, friends, and well-wishers to pay their last respect.
His Funeral Mass will be held at 11:30am at Assumption Church, Dhobighat. Soon after the Funeral Mass, his mortal remains will be consigned to flame at Teku.