Friday, 30 October 2009

Glancing Back

Thanks to Br Declan for this great and timely reflection.

De La Salle Family Coat of Arms

The work in Christian education which St John Baptist de La Salle began in France continues today in about 80 different countries.

When he died in 1719 aged 68, a group of about 100 followers had been formed. These men had decided to be associated together so that they could devote themselves to the education of youngsters, especially those who were poor. Other decisions made were that they would not become priests and would be known as Brothers to one another and to their students.

To achieve this and to persevere in the work they bound themselves by vow. From then on it was the expectation that the Brothers would
  • be celibate - have no family of their own,
  • be willing to live a communal lifestyle,
  • be content to work without any remuneration and
  • be prepared to go wherever they were asked by superiors.
It was in 1906 almost two hundred years after the death of De La Salle that the first twelve of his Brothers arrived in Australia from France and Ireland.

Over the next 100 years the number of Brothers working in the Australasian region increased to almost 300. Responsibility was to be accepted by them for over 70 schools in 60 or more different towns or suburbs, not only in Australia, but also in Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.

The Brothers have also responded to needs in other countries – India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Italy, Pakistan, Nigeria, England, USA, Kenya, Bolivia, South Africa, Vietnam, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Israel, Thailand and now the Sudan.

To measure the time and effort given by the Brothers towards Christian Education, this unit might be used: ONE Bro/yr being the equivalent to one Brother teaching or working for one year. Over the fifty years that Brothers have been involved at Francis Douglas, sons from 67 different families have been members of the community. Two actually came from the same family. Their lands of birth were Ireland, Australia, Holland, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and England. To this New Plymouth College 425 Bro/yrs of service as Christian Educators have been given by the De La Salle District.

As the time of the Brothers’ presence here comes to an end to me it seems appropriate to mention some things spiritual.

When Francis Douglas Memorial College was opened in 1959, the Brothers were justly proud that the Catholic Church had honoured their founder John Baptist de La Salle as a Saint, and two Brothers had been beatified. Nine years earlier De La Salle was proclaimed the Patron of Teachers and Student Teachers.

Now in 2009 there are 13 Brothers who are canonized Saints, 78 Brothers have been beatified and the lives of several others are being carefully studied with similar recognition in view. The countries from which these Brothers have come are, France, Belgium, Ecuador, USA, Spain, Argentina, Reunion, Canada, Italy and Madagascar.

It seems that true holiness can be found in the classroom.

Faith in Jesus Christ, God who became Man, has to be the main motivation for men who choose to adopt the lifestyle lived by Brothers.

If over the past years you feel that you have benefited and perhaps been inspired or encouraged as a pupil, a teacher, a staff member, a parent, a friend, because of your contact with Francis Douglas Memorial College, then you have probably experienced Christianity expressed in a Lasallian Way. It is this Spiritual Heritage that we, the departing Brothers, now entrust to you. A legacy that you can claim and share and from which you may receive courage in the times ahead.

May Jesus live forever in our hearts!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Brothers Go The Extra Mile

The following is a transcript of the address given by old boy Ross Williams at the farewell mass to the De La Salle Brothers in Stratford last Thursday. We are proud of our Brothers and we are just as proud of the way our students are able to express themselves.

Brothers go the extra mile.

Good evening staff, students, old boys and friends who have had the pleasure of being associated with Francis Douglas Memorial College. My name is Ross Williams and I too had the pleasure, and privilege, to be educated at the College from 1995 through to 1999. 5 of the greatest years of my life were spent at 201 Tukapa Street in the Boarding Hostel, where I grew both as a person and a citizen alongside a great group of boys, and with the advice and guidance of the wonderful staff at Francis Douglas – at the top of this list of course were the La Sallian Brothers.

Brothers go the extra mile.

Like many who attend our school, I was the second generation of my family to be influenced by the Brotherhood, founded by and through the work of St John Baptist De La Salle. My Father also has wonderfully fond memories of school and the advice, guidance and care given to him by the Brothers. Therefore it was a given that I was to attend Francis Douglas for my secondary school education.

When my parents first dropped me off at school, Br Tim Peter, who was the Principal at the time, said to my Mother, and she remembers this very vividly, he said “Thank-you for allowing us the privilege to share in your son’s upbringing”. The Brothers cared about us as individuals. They have the ability to be able to connect with the boys and their families, connect with the head and the heart. They have a Vocation and are passionate about both the ways and teachings of Christianity, and about crafting young people into constructive and positive men and women.

Brothers go the extra mile.

It is a known fact that Francis Douglas students truly love their school, current students and old boys alike. The majority of Francis Douglas boys who have left the College and headed off to University would have come under scrutiny at one time or another about their level of passion for their old school. Others around New Zealand just can’t seem to fathom the idea that boys can have such an affinity and a pride in where they were educated. Recently the school celebrated its 50th Jubilee and the talk between Old Boys invariably centred, or always returned to, tales of the Brothers, including the legendary Brother William Harnett. Amidst all of this was an overwhelming level of respect and gratitude for all that the Brothers have done for our great school.

Brothers go the extra mile.

January 27, 1997 is probably the best way for me to personally explain to you the impact the brothers had on the students at Francis Douglas. It was the day our Boarding Master Brother Anthony Hawkins was taken from us, and a day that all those associated with the great man look back on with a huge amount of sadness. Just remembering the loss of such a wonderful role model puts shivers up my spine every time I talk about the loveable Aussie. ‘Bruv’ as we knew him, epitomised the spirit and extra mile attitude that sets the Brother far apart from other educators around the world. To put it quite simply he cared totally about you and he had no problem showing you that. Above all else he taught us to “Trust in the Lord”. He could guide us, discipline us, celebrate our successes and care for us all at once. Everyone who came into contact with Bruv loved him wholeheartedly and he is the perfect example of the spirit and attitude of the La Sallian Brothers.

Brothers go the extra mile.

It is sad to be saying goodbye to the Brothers time at Francis Douglas but I have no doubt that the staff and families involved with the school are passionate about continuing the strong values that the religious order represent. Although the brothers are moving on from Taranaki, the way they have touched all that they have influenced, will live on in the hearts of many in this province.

On behalf of all present and former students of the College:
I thank-you for the care and love you have shown for students at our school.
I thank-you for the care and love you have shown to parents and caregivers of students at our school.
And I thank-you for the special memories we hold in our hearts from our time at our great school.

Thank-you finally, for being you. Taranaki is a better place for the La Sallian Brothers.

St John Baptist De La Salle
Pray for us
Live Jesus in our Hearts
Forever

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Br Steve Leatherland RIP

Sad news yesterday of the passing of Br Steve Leatherland in Auckland. Br Steve has battled with illness for some time and had recently been in a nursing home before being hospitalised.

Br Steve had several "tours of duty" at FDMC and until last year he had been a member of the Brothers community here. Many students over the last decade will recall his driving exploits as he delivered students and borders to all parts. Staff have many memories of Steve including his morning reflections and poetry readings.

The funeral for Bro Steve will take place at 10.00am in St Anthony's Church, Mangere Bridge next Saturday. His internment will follow immediately in the adjacent cemetery and he will be laid to rest next to Bro Matthew Hautus who also was on the FDMC staff in the late 70's.

May perpetual light shine upon him
And may he rest in peace.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Important Occasions

Friday's farewell to the De La Salle Brothers went very well and in the course of this week we will provide pictures and comment from that occasion.

Today's image is from the other end of the spectrum, the initial Open Day, where the public of Taranaki got to see the new college they had helped to create. Click on the image to enlarge it and see if you can spot someone you know?

Thanks to Christine Drinkwater for donating this image to our archive.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

425 Years Of service!

We have mentioned before the fact that Br Declan has collated a list of all the Brothers who have served the community at FDMC since it's founding. As we prepare to farewell the Brothers from our community it is right that we should recal all of those who have had a part to play over the years. 425 years of combined service is a fantastic contribution and deserves to be celebrated.


.

BrotherFromUntilYears

.

Alban Foley195919646RIP '75

.

Benignus Davis195919624RIP '85

.

Fabian Boundy195919591RIP '07

.

Francis Kelvin Sullivan 195919613RIP '09

.

Jerome Foley195919646RIP '75

.

Conrad Callinan196019667

.

Julian Lennon196019656RIP '67

.

Justinian Thompson196019656RIP '04

.

Julian Watson1962197110

.

Basil Keller196319664

.

Philip Canty196419696

.

Kieran Rush196519662RIP '97

.

Luke Anthony Gaul1965197410

.

Peter Duffy196519706RIP '83

.

Gerard Camillo196619661

.

Declan G Thompson196719726

.

Lawrence O'Connor196719693RIP '73

.

Patrick Augustine Lynch196719671

.

Petronius Healy196719704






.

William L Harnett1967200640

.

Stephen R Leatherland196819703

.

Ives de Tracey196919701RIP '81

.

Jarlath P Joyce196919702RIP '87

.

Francis Kelvin Sullivan 197019701RIP '09

.

Max Sculley197019745

.

Gonzaga Brown197119711

.

Kevin Neal197119799

.

Paul Kent197119722

.

Peter Bray197119755

.

Russell Cutfield197119711

.

Adrian Watson197219743

.

Barry Drew197219732

.

Raphael Bassett197219732RIP '94

.

Daniel Keegan197319753

.

Gary Wilson197319731

.

Jack Kidd197319731

.

David Hawke197419796

.

Osmund J Uniacke197419785RIP '99

.

Pascal Hagerty197419763






.

Adrian Mullaly197519751

.

Denis Loft197519784

.

Robert McLaughlin1975199218

.

Adrian Watson1976198914

.

Matthew Hautus197619805RIP '87

.

Matthew Kennedy197619816RIP '00

.

Declan G Thompson1977198610

.

John Hansen197919813

.

Peter Bray1979198911

.

Jack Iremonger198019889

.

Timothy G Peter198019845

.

Kevin Neal198119888

.

James Will198219821RIP

.

Oliver O'Leary1982200928

.

Michael J Neville198319875

.

Stephen J Hogan198519873

.

Christopher P Ellmers198719882

.

Geoffrey L Kennewell198919946

.

Lawrence R King198919935

.

Paul F Toohey198919891






.

Declan G Thompson199119922

.

Raymond J Khan199119922

.

Gregory P Kennedy199219976

.

Timothy G Peter199219976

.

Anthony Hawkins199419974RIP '98

.

Mark McKeon199519973

.

Joseph Bufalo199820003

.

Peter Smyth1998now12

.

Stephen R Leatherland199820036

.

William Firman199820025

.

Anselm J McCaffrey199920024

.

Frank Tyson199920035

.

Michael McCabe199920023

.

Fabian R Clark200120022

.

Bede Mackrell200220032

.

Benilde Tin200220076

.

Peter Ryan200320086

.

Raymond J Khan200320053

.

Gregory P Kennedy200420063

.

Stephen R Leatherland200620094






.

Declan G Thompson2007now3

.

Raymond J Khan200720071

.

William L Harnett200820081

.

68 Brothers in all.......
TOTALS425Br/yrs

.

Info collated by Bro Declan



.

declanfsc@yahoo.com.au



Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Very Early Days

Thanks to Christine Drinkwater for passing on a number of old photos that record early events in the life, and birth, of our college.

The image opposite is believed to record an inspection of the site either prior or just after it was purchased.

We would be grateful for any ideas as to who the three gentlemen pictured might be.

The view appears to be over what is now La Salle Drive.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Brothers In Arms and Shorts

One of our favourite photos of the brothers circa 1980. They have always moved with the times, even when it comes to fashion.

Monday, 19 October 2009

A Bit Of Dedication

With the official farewell to the De La Salle Brothers at the end of this week we will be sharing some images of the brothers at work as the week progresses.

This image is of a rather young Br Peter Bray and Br Steve Hogan along with a very dapper Fr Dave Mongahan. The occasion was the dedication of the entrance carvings in the college foyer. These tell the story of the land and the people who have occupied it.

Also pictured is the head boy of 1987 Nick Kusalic with other faces we are sure you will recognise.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Our Man At The Bank

Great news in this morning's paper that old boy Kevin Murphy has taken over the role of Managing Director of the TSB Bank. He has held the deputy role since 2003.

Kevin was a student at FDMC in the 1970's and has played an active part in the college ever since. Both his sons have been students at FDMC, he has been an important member of the FDMC Bord of Trustees during the 2000s and he played a key role in helping organise this year's 50th Jubilee.

While today's Daily News article concentrates on the sterling work done by Kevin's predecessor Kevin Rimmington we are sure that our man at the bank is going to build on that body of work and take the TSB into a bright future.

Well done Kevin and all the best in the new job.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Colours Assembly

The end of Term 3 saw the last colours assembly for the year. 16 of our senior students were recognized for there outstanding contributions in the academic, sporting, cultural and service fields. The following students received the award.

Beauden Barrett --- Sport
Ben Bull --- Service
Richard Clough --- Sport
Troy Collier --- Service
Jared Crowley --- Service & Sport
Jacob Gopperth --- Sport
Paul Hawkes --- Sport
Tom Imrie --- Service
William Johnston --- Service
Kale Joines --- Culture
Isaak Mischefski --- Culture
Shane Rooyakkers --- Culture & Service
Tom Siffleet --- Sport
Mathieu Stevenson --- Service
Callum Tanner --- Culture
Matthew Westbury --- Service

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Well Done James Lawn

It is always good to hear news of old boys doing well. We recently received this information from Massey University.

The Massey Agriculture student of the year award was won by second-year student James Lawn from New Plymouth.

College of Sciences Pro-Vice Chancellor Robert Anderson says the nomination statement written by students Hannah Appleton and Richard French made it clear why Mr Lawn was deserving of the award.

“It states he is passionate about the agricultural industry and has made opportunities to learn as much as he can, Professor Anderson says. “He is involved with Massey Young Farmers and quietly goes about making the revamped club work well. He was a key player in the Massey Ks and Agriculture rugby team in 2008 and 2009 – until injury.

“He is a kind, thoughtful student who is highly respected by his friends. He is first to put his hand up to help out and makes the most of every opportunity. He is certain to be one of the big names in agriculture in the future and Massey will be proud to claim him as one of its students.”

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Suddenly Sudan

Part one of an ongoing communique from Br Bill Firman, our man in the Sudan.

Following many inoculations, careful research of expected conditions, reading many books on Africa and explicitly on Sudan, I set off from Melbourne to Sudan prepared, I thought, for almost any emergency – except deportation on arrival! After four sets of applications for a visa that simply “evaporated”, I arrived in Sudan armed only with an electronic copy of an internal Southern Sudan three-month travel permit. The photocopy permit worked fine in Rome airport, and at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, allowing me to board the planes but at Juba I met an abrupt: "We must have the original". The trouble was the original had been sent to Rome but it had failed to arrive by the promised date. So while I was being very compliant in the chaotic confines of the terminal, Fr Joseph Callistus, the Solidarity with Southern Sudan (SSS) Administrative
Secretary rushed off and found a local priest who came to argue my case, and guarantee I was of good repute (even while, I confess, I was indulging in a little graft)! After a long half hour, I was granted a reprieve on the promise that I return as soon as possible with the right travel permit. Thankfully, three days later my passport was duly stamped with a new six-month permit in place. I am legally here. I have been very warmly welcomed - both by people here, and the weather. Several times I have bumped around Juba on contiguous, gaping, and sometimes slushy, potholes called roads. There are far more vehicles in Juba than I expected, but then, this is the seat of the government of the south. Fr Joseph, from Sri Lanka, took me across the Nile, only about 80 metres wide here, and back - the first, I imagine of many crossings I might make.

Some great work has been done here to get things to this stage and very good contacts have been established with the local Sudanese people. We met Fr Michael, a Jesuit in his late seventies who has initiated a Catholic University. There has been a succession of introductions to religious of sundry congregations and diverse nationalities. We also paid our respects to Archbishop Paolino who, on his official day off, warmly welcomed Brother Heldon from India and myself. A trip to the Ministry of Education has also been on the agenda. I am staying on here to meet the Bishop of Yambio on Thursday before he heads to Rome. There is also a Ministry seminar on teacher education next week. The Teacher Training Initiative of SSS works in contract with the Government Ministry of Education. So it will be 26th before I finally reach Malakal.

There are two shifts for schooling in Juba – the first school operates from 8:30 to 1:00pm; and the second from 1:30pm to 6:00pm with a new cohort of students in different uniforms. But the same teachers work from 8:30am to 6:00pm. I'm told the teachers do get very tired by the end of the day! Normal class size is 80 plus but there are over 100 students in some primary classes – often taught under trees with no writing material. I read of a school in Akobo that has 2,600 students with a total of only 23 teachers. Education is highly prized.

The war has left many 17 to 27 year olds with no education at all - some are now in primary classes but others loll or roam the streets moving endlessly to anywhere. I have talked to one such young man who is keen to learn. He lost his dad in the war and his Mum to AIDS. He has had little formal education but is fluent in six languages, including English. He is very cheerful, helpful and keen to progress yet one cannot imagine the sadness he has had to overcome. He says he is nineteen but looks fifteen.

I have attended my first African parish mass with lots of antiphonal singing and long repetitive prayers - a simple yet profound experience for an hour and a half on a Sunday morning. So much the same, yet so different. Most days we have mass and community prayer in our house.
The house SSS has built here in Juba is more substantial than I expected – but has no hot
running water. Such is life. Cold showers are supposed to be good for one! The power has failed a few times but the back up solar system is good. The regular loud speaker blasts by the Muslims celebrating Ramadan, commence at 5:00am – somewhat irritating, especially on Sunday. Perhaps it is a sign that God never sleeps! No doubt the strident sounds will fade in time to become background noise. I am sure God would prefer a more peaceful call to prayer. At least the power failures result in Allah being saluted less raucously!

I have slept well enough beneath my mosquito net on a foam rubber mattress. The buzzing fleet eventually seems to gives up in frustration or I simply don’t notice anymore! So far my health is very good and the low fat diet should be doing me good. Today we had some ‘posho’, a kind of dough made from Maize flower. Just as well I like rice. The cost of food is a little higher than Melbourne. Fresh fruit and some vegetables are available, mostly imported from Kampala, but onions at A$13 per kilo are a surprise. I came across cartons of Fosters (500 ml cans) for A$44.

I think the calling here is for optimistic people - otherwise the obvious needs could become overwhelming. Further, the mixture of delightful, grateful people with those whose attitudes have been forged by weapons and war, could be quite off-putting. All want peace but are quite unsure how, and if, it can be maintained. Yes, one feels quite safe and there is a very cheerful optimism among the community members with whom I am living. All are happy to be sharing their gifts with those less fortunate but just as precious to God. It is good to be here.

Br Bill

Monday, 12 October 2009

That Time Of Year

The fourth term starts today with senior prelim exams taking place over the week.

Very little has changed when it comes to sitting exams and this photo from the 1980's could have just as easily been taken this week. Something else that hasn't changed is that we are always looking for an improvement in the results.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Mystery Solved

It has been a slow blogging week as we have been away at conference learning to do more of this sort of stuff. Thanks to Bernard Philpott for his response to the picture posted on Monday.

I can well remember the 'home-made' trolleys being used on and around the new gymnasium's concrete foundations. Speed aplenty [depending how good your 'pusher' was, ie. how fit he was.
And lots of scrapped elbows and knees. But all good fun to keep us boarders amused, when Bro Finton was absent and thus we had some time off from gym construction [slave] labouring.

The timber used was surplus from the gym construction, but cannot recall where the ball-bearing wheels were sourced. Anyway, it was great fun, until this fad wore off! I do not recognise the fellow on the trolley--he is grimacing too much. Was he enjoying the
experience, or was he just plain scared? Your decision!

Kind regards.
Bernard R. Philpott. Wellington. [Boarder 1962-1964 inclusive]

Monday, 5 October 2009

Another Archive Mystery

Who can tell us what is going on here then?

We can identify it as taking place under the Gym but whether it was an early technology project, or just students entertaining themselves, we are not too sure. Whatever was going on it does look like fun.

All suggestions gratefully received.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Smile, It's Friday

A priest waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. "Father," said the young man, "I'm so sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."

The priest chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business."

Thursday, 1 October 2009

From The Archives

With the school holidays in full swing we are trolling the photo archives for some interesting images. This is one that was taken by the Daily News but we are not sure when or who the foot sore students are. If you have any ideas leave us a comment at the bottom of this post.