Saturday, July 6, 2013

Deaf-blind priest honored

A deaf-blind Catholic priest is being honored in the UK. 71-year-old Cyril Axelrod is receiving the Order of the British Empire from the Queen of England. He is the first deaf-blind person to do so. Axelrod comes from a Jewish family and was born deaf and is now blind from Usher syndrome. Fluent in more than a dozen languages including Braille and several international sign languages, he told his story in the autobiography entitled And the Journey Begins. He went from St Vincent's School for the Deaf in Johannesburg, South Africa to Gallaudet University, eventually becoming only the second person born deaf to be ordained in the Roman Catholic church. Axelrod has served as a chaplain in deaf schools, established a nursery school for the deaf in Soweto, and a hostel for the deaf.  He eventually left Africa to travel the world in support of the deaf-blind community. He served in China and now lives in Peterborough, England. Here is a video of Axelrod from 2011.