KUCHING – On 25 January, a group of parishioners led by Br Albinus O’Flaherty witnessed the blessing of a magnificent green marble plaque designed and crafted by Simon Sim containing the names of 13 La Salle Brothers who served for a number of years in Sarawak but have since passed to their eternal reward. This blessing took place on the landing outside the Prayer Room at the Brothers Quarters in St Joseph’s Secondary School.
Heading the list is Br Patrick O’ Donovan who inherited the post of Principalship of St Joseph’s School on 1 January 1950 from Msgr John Vos who had become Prefect Apostolic in 1949. The Mill Hill Missionaries thus handed over the running of the school to the La Salle Brothers.
Br Patrick with three other Brothers formed the first Community of La Salle Brothers in Kuching. Br Patrick saw the need for a school motto and a school song – today St Joseph’s still boasts of its splendid motto ‘Ora et Labora’ and the rousing school song Sons of St Josephs’. The song was originally composed by Br Marcian in the early part of the 20th century and adapted to an Irish air ‘O Donnel Abu’.
Sadly Bro Patrick did not last very long but had to return to St Francis’ Institution, Malacca in 1955 as he suffered from falling health. He died in Malacca in 1956.
There are 12 other names on the plaque, some who served in Sacred Heart School (Sibu) from 1954 onwards or in St Patrick’s Private School (Kuching) from 1966.
The marble plaque is a reminder whenever anyone enters the Prayer Room in St Joseph’s School to keep these Brothers in their prayers. It is also a tribute to the LaSallian Brothers who have made a significant contribution to education while serving in Sarawak.
There are plans to install another memorial plaque in honour of all those LaSallian teachers who have passed on and who worked in partnership with the Brothers to cultivate sound moral character in the students.
The blessing of plaque by Fr Joseph Chai, himself a former student of the school, was followed by the celebration of the Eucharist.
The celebration ended with refreshments.