Sometime in the year 1857 a French missionary priest, Pére Barbe, called on the Brothers in Penang. He had come from Calcutta and explained that there was in charge of an orphanage in that city a group of Brothers who were nobody’s children. These Brothers had originally belonged to the Congregation founded by Ignatius Rice, had been brought from Ireland by Bishop Carew ten years before and had then been completely cut off from the parent society in Ireland. In the course of their sojourn in Calcutta they had been joined by a few Irishmen who happened to be in India. Bishop Olliffe, who had succeeded Bishop Carew, felt that it would be advantageous to the little group to be affiliated to some recognized congregation of Brothers and, being French, (Bishop Olliffe was in fact an Irishman born in Co Cork who was an alumnus of Propaganda College, Rome and ordained in Cork. He was ordained bishop on 8th Oct 1843 and returned to Calcutta on 1st Sep 1844. He approached the Irish Christian Brothers in 1846 for to send Brothers to India. Bro. Alphonsus Tolan in turn sought the help of the French Christian Brothers and asked Bishop Olliffe to use his influence to achieve such a union) he thought naturally of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Rome gave permission for the amalgamation and on the orders of Brother Philippe, Superior General, Brother Véneré, Director of Penang, went to Calcutta to report on the situation. On his favourable report the fusion was decided on. Brother Alphonsus, Director of the group in Calcutta, was sent for some months to the novitiate in Rue Oudinot in Paris to steep himself in the Lasallian spirit. An Irish ex-soldier who had joined the community in Calcutta under the name of Brother John fell sick and was sent to Penang to recuperate. He died there in 1859 at the age of forty-two. Brother Vénéré went back to France to seek reinforcements and brought nine French Brothers to Calcutta. After some months learning English they were put to work in the orphanage and their number was soon increased by the accession of some Indian recruits. There were actually at one moment as many as nineteen Brothers in the community. The institution had 130 orphans and the Brothers also ran a school for some 270 day boys. Materially conditions could not have been better; there was a spacious dwelling-house for the Brothers and splendid grounds.
THE FRENCH BROTHERS TAKE OVER (from the story of the Christian (Irish) Brothers in India by Bro. Michael Curran c.f.c.
Frère Véneré arrived in Calcutta to take up his new assignment as Superior of the Moorghihatta community and Provincial Visitor in November or early December 1858. There he found but six Brothers of whom two were ailing, and six postulants who, perforce had to be put to work without having made novitiate. He had, moreover, to teach class and to supervise the running of the orphanage; there were 200 pupils of whom 130 were orphans, and 70 day scholars. Besides there was a second establishment in another quarter of the city (i.e. Bow Bazar) some distance away where there were a further 200 pupils in attendance. Alphonsus Tolan returned to Calcutta from Paris a short time after Frère Véneré’s arrival.
Two considerations, the dearth of personnel and the return of Alphonsus Tolan (to France), would have influenced Frère Véneré in his next decision: he determined to go in person to Paris and press for recruits for the new mission. Since Mgr. Olliffè left for Europe towards the end of January, 1859, Mgr. Auguste Goiran, his vicar (becoming Pro vicar Apostolic following the death of the Bishop in May) was the one with whom Frère Véneré had to consult regarding his trip to Paris. The vicar gave his blessing to the project and Frère Véneré left for Paris in Feb or March. And so the little band of Calcutta Brothers, with Alphonsus Tolan in charge, was once more on its own, only now they wore the De La Salle habit and followed the French Rule.
Frère Véneré calculated that, for the efficient running of the two establishments in Calcutta, and for the staffing of a novitiate house, he would require twenty-two men; Despite his best efforts, and having spent some five or six months in France, he finally had to be content with ten recruits; Through the intervention of Cardinal Barnabo the expenses of their voyage to India was borne by Propaganda Fide. The group of eleven Brothers sailed from Marseilles on 16 August, 1859, and arrived in Calcutta on 26 September. Apart from Frère Véneré none of them seems to have had any proficiency in English, and so they went immediately to St Xavier’s Retreat, Dum Dum, where under the tutelage of one of the Calcutta Brothers (most likely Austin Haywood) they began the serious study of that language. Frère Véneré as Director of the community of Moorghihatta would have remained with the Brothers there.
A feature that strikes us as strange, almost nonsensical, in the educational system of Calcutta of those days was the timing of school vacations. Schools closed in early or mid-December, reopening again at the beginning of February. This was the long vacation, but from the point of view of work in the classroom, those are the best months of the year when the weather is comparatively cool. There was a two week break in the middle of May, and from early June to the second week of August. There was feverish activity, putting in a final effort at all levels for the Government examinations carried out in each school by Government inspectors. Following the examination which ended around the middle of August, there was a further break of perhaps two or three weeks before classes were resumed again. The French contingent arriving in October would have found the schools in full session. Frère Véneré seemed confident that with their three month period of intensive study of English in Dum Dum they would be ready to share the burden of teaching on the re-opening of the schools in early February, 1860.
A SINGLE COMMUNITY
The first time the two communities would have been brought together was January, the time traditionally set aside for making the annual Retreat of eight days. That year the Retreat was conducted by a Jesuit Father. One can appreciate the dilemma of the Retreat Master, faced as he was with a group of men where the French element among them would have had great difficulty in understanding English while none of the old Calcutta Brothers (as far as we know) had any French. However, the problem raised by the holding of a common Retreat was insignificant compared to that created when, at the end of the Retreat, the whole group moved to Moorghihatta to take up residence there.
One of the stipulations made earlier by Frère Véneré when dealing with Mgr. Olliffe was that another building should be erected at the orphanage which would provide accommodation for the (expected) much enlarged community there. “Before his departure for Europe in 1859, he (Mgr. Olliffe) had entrusted his vicar Mgr. Goiran, the task of providing another building at Moorghihatta where accommodation would be ample. During the intervening year, however, absolutely nothing had been done in this regard and when the Frenchmen arrived in Moorghihatta they were at once faced with the problem of accommodation. Mgr. Goiran, in a letter to Cardinal Banabo made reference to this and gave his apologies for failure to carry out Mgr. Olliffe’s directions.
“On the subject of directions to build, etc., this is just not true. He had the intention to do all that and so had I. He did not have the means to provide such a building; he tried to find the means, just as I later did. Calcutta has undergone a great change since Mgr. Olliffe left here. Because of the wars in Europe trade has declined, taxes have increased; famine has ravaged the northern provinces. That being the situation money is not to be picked up in the streets of Calcutta as some people back in Europe seem to imagine.”
The failure of the Pro-vicar to provide the necessary accommodation in Moorghihatta is understandable; The conditions in which the whole community found itself as a result were well-nigh intolerable. “When the time of vacation drew to an end and it was necessary to return to Calcutta (i.e. Dum Dum) for the reopening of classes, Frère Véneré was grieved to discover that the promised building had not even begun. He was forced to crowd the French Brothers together in a space so confined that they found themselves without a dormitory, without cells, without beds; there was no dining room, no bureau where one could write. Many of the classes had neither desks nor tables for the pupils.”
DISCONTENT AND FRICTION
One might be tempted to think that there is an element of exaggeration in all of this, but the condition of the establishments, whether in Moorghihatta or Bow Bazar, when the Irish Brothers arrived on the scene just thirty years later is sufficient to indicate that, if anything, the picture given here fails to convey the utter squalor, the appalling living conditions, obtaining in the ‘monastery’ of the Brothers. Even under the most satisfactory conditions of community life, the task of fusing two bodies into one would have been a formidable undertaking, given the background whether cultural or linguistic of the two elements in the group; circumstances being as they were, the attempt at amalgamation was doomed from the very start. The cramped quarters, the gross overcrowding, lack of any privacy, the inevitability of men coming in each other’s way, none of this was calculated to promote amity between the members of the community; but more serious still than the lack of accommodation was the problem of communication. Virtually, there were two communities crowded under one roof, the one English speaking, the other conversing in French neither group understanding what the other was discussing. It must be borne in mind that there were no living quarters in Bow Bazar, and therefore no possibility of relieving the pressure of accommodation in Moorghihatta. There was indeed the school hall built by Mgr. Carew in 1855, a single storied single room building, measuring ninety feet by twenty and catering for two hundred pupils. Cooper’s house, 78 Bow Bazar Street, had St Xavier’s chapel on the ground floor and the girls’ school above it. There was Dum Dum of course, but that was strictly a ‘Retreat’ or villa and there was no school there, nor would be for many a long year yet. Overcrowding, lack of accommodation, these were grave factors contributing greatly to the disagreements and open quarrels which ensued, but as far as the members of the old Calcutta Congregation were concerned, the real cause lay deeper.
John O’ Connor, an orphan in Moorghihatta during this entire period (he would have been twelve years old in 1859) gives in his “Retrospect” an account of the French Brothers which is less than flattering. “These Religious”, he writes, “seem not to be well selected. With one or two exceptions they were uncouth in their manners, with no knowledge of English, and they carried things with a high hand from the first. The Calcutta Brothers were eight in number of whom six were Irish and these found the French rules and practices, trivial from their very minuteness of detail, were irksome and unsuited to their feelings and modes of thought. Matters accordingly did not proceed as expected and after a short time it was plain that fusion between the French and Irish elements was impossible.”
THROUGH LASALLIAN EYES
One might be perhaps tempted to dismiss much of this as the partisan account of an Irishman who himself joined the Calcutta community in 1863, were it not for the fact that the sources available to us from the De La Salle records seem to confirm what O’ Connor here states. Writing from Rome to one of the assistants to the Superior General in Paris, in a letter dated 18 November 1878, Frère Ulfin-Daniel who had been a professor in Colombo, Sri Lanka, had some pertinent remarks regarding the men who had been sent out to India: “Paris, it would seem, has often erred in the choice of subjects destined for India,” Frère Imer de Jesus, a future Superior General, who in his capacity of Provincial Visitor carried out a survey of the performance of the Institute in Asia had some severe criticisms of those institutions in India whether in Calcutta, Agra or Mangalore. Among the reasons he adduces for the failure of these undertakings are the following: paucity of suitable personnel, absence of proper formation whether religious or pedagogic, lack of capacity, of prudence, of common sense even, among those to whom the work had been entrusted. During the brief duration of the Institute’s presence in India, there had been too many quarrels, revolts and defections.
“Morale was not maintained at its initial high level,” we are informed with reference to the Calcutta experiment. “For this failure Frère Véneré must in large measure bear the responsibility. It is he, this Visitor, whom Frère Ulfin indicts so harshly. He was born to obey. When he rejoined the ranks (and had no longer to shoulder responsibility) he was without reproach, submissive, regular. In his position of authority, the Indian Visitor had belied all hopes reposed in him. Far away from any controlling influence, by nature seemingly somewhat indolent, he was free from many troublesome constraints of the Rule. Subjects have need of example, not just exhortation, and the Calcutta community was not slow to perceive the weakness of leadership. Discipline became relaxed and the numerical strength of the French element was reduced when three of their number departed to begin a new foundation in Burma in May 1860.
“Of the two elements, (Irish and French) who made up the community, it would appear that one (i.e., the Irish) was not sufficiently well prepared and the other was not well chosen to bring about so sudden a fusion. There was no harmony, no unity in the family.
“The French language was being used too much as the vernacular of the community. The English speaking Brothers were in their own house…They received those strangers who were not very well behaved, not very sensitive to the feelings of others, and towards these newcomers the Calcutta Brothers displayed a marked friendliness and politeness, and expected the French Brothers to reciprocate. But because of their attitude of these strangers, staid and cold, and particularly of their assumption of their superiority without the support of either talents or education, there could never be any fusion between these two groups. It may be that many of the French Brothers were lacking in good manners and were insensitive to the feelings of their Calcutta counterparts. To the good opinion, the esteem they had initially held for these older men, there succeeded contempt and aversion. The cleavage was inevitable; the division being established, they could no longer function.”
A DIVIDED COMMUNITY
Perhaps it was unfortunate that Mgr. Olliffe who had made arrangements for the coming of the De La Salle Brothers to the vicariate was not in Calcutta when the Frenchmen did eventually arrive. He had left for Europe towards the end of January 1859, intent on finalizing the handing over of the vicariate to the Jesuit fathers. He died at the Jesuit house in Naples on 13 May of the same year, aged 46. As already mentioned, the Jesuits had returned to Calcutta by November of ’59, and though a Jesuit vicar apostolic had been appointed, it would be another six years before he arrived in Calcutta. In the meantime, Fr Auguste Goiran, an old Indian hand with twenty five years of experience in Calcutta, was appointed Pro-Vicar Apostolic. In that position he was the de jure superior of the Calcutta Brothers.
With the knowledge of hindsight and more particularly with the example of the later amalgamation attempt with the Irish Institute which succeeded so well, we may say that there were two great weaknesses inherent in this attempt by the De La Salle Congregation. In the first place, they had not requested a period of trial, following which the amalgamation would either be finalized or the attempt abandoned. In the second place, this was a more serious matter, Frère Philippe did not insist as a prerequisite to his Institute’s making the attempt, that the superior of the Calcutta Congregation, Mgr. Goiran, should make over to the Superior General, in the person of Frère Véneré, his representative, all jurisdiction over the Calcutta Brothers until such time as the attempted amalgamation be completed or abandoned. Only in the event of failure would Mgr. Goiran again be competent to assume that authority once more. Because there was no such transfer of authority by the Pro-vicar Apostolic, and indeed such a transfer does not seem to have been demanded until the second half of 1860, there arose very soon the problem of dual authority in the community. This is by no means to say that had such a step had been taken the amalgamation would have succeeded; it merely suggests that such delegation of authority would have placed Frère Véneré in a less invidious position.
Meanwhile as the months dragged on and discontent grew among the Calcutta Brothers forming the group, there were some changes in the community which must have gone some little way to ease the congestion in Moorghihatta. Mgr. Biguadet, who had personally known Frère Véneré from the days when both were in Penang, was appointed vicar apostolic in Burma. Desiring to set up a school in Moulmein, he applied to his old friend, now Provincial Visitor in Bengal. Frère Véneré brought the request to Mgr. Goiran who was more than willing to give his consent. “The Superior spoke to me about it and I gave my consent as the number of French Brothers was too many for this (Bengal) mission…so that three French Brothers with another English novice for the language went to Moulmein.” The “Manuscript Anonyme” enables us to pinpoint the time of opening: “In April or May, three of these Brothers,” (the Frenchmen in the Calcutta Community) “were sent at the request of Mgr. Bigaudet, to open a house in Moulmein.”
THE FINAL CLEAVAGE PROPOSED
However, there was no lessening of the tensions within the community and the discontent among the old Calcutta Brothers reached such a pitch that, around the month of June, they came together and drew up a fairly lengthy document detailing their grievances which they submitted to Mgr. Goiran, still their lawful Superior. It is an interesting piece of writing in that it sets out clearly what seems to have been the major difficulty experienced during their six or seven months of living under the new dispensation. Their statement as contained in the ‘Old Record’ is here reported in its entirety:
“The Brothers now desirous, of separation formerly belonged to a community which was established in Calcutta under the direction of Archbishop Carew by the Brothers Francis and Alphonsus who came to India for that purpose.
“These Brothers went through their novitiate with the Christian Brothers of Ireland. The community established in Calcutta was not a branch of the Irish Body nor an extension of it, but a community independent of any other whatsoever. The Calcutta community followed the Rules of the Irish brothers, modified so as to suit the climate. These modifications were made by Bro. Francis, the Superior, sometimes at the Archbishop’s suggestion and at other times with his Grace’s consent.
“Bro. Francis died on November 30th 1855, and Bro. Alphonsus took his place. Considering the small number that then composed the Calcutta Community, the amount of labour to be gone through and that labour constantly increasing, novices not coming in sufficient numbers, the prospect of greater stability and the securing of vocations, besides other advantages desirable from a connection with a long established and extensive Order induced the Calcutta Community to seek a union with the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
“Here it may be remembered that no defect or inefficiency in the Rules of the Calcutta Community prompted the union. The Rules were perfectly adapted to them and the practices quite consonant with their feelings and way of thinking. Nothing but happiness could be the result and it was the prospect of the same happiness superadded to all the advantages mentioned above that urged the chief members of the Calcutta Community to seek this union. But after six months of community life under the new Rules the chief members of the Calcutta Community find those prospects to be merely ideal, as the manners of the Brothers of the Christian Schools present almost insuperable obstacles, and they feel, because of the unsustainability of the Rules and Practices to them those advantages can never be realized in their regard.
“To prevent the consequences which may perhaps be ultimately the result of this unsympathising spirit and want of respect and affection for the Rules and Practices, the chief members of the Calcutta Community think it necessary to separate from the Brothers of the Christian Schools and follow their former Rules and Practices. With this view they make the following proposals:
“1. To take charge of St Xavier’s Day School, Bow Bazar, leaving the orphanage under the care of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
“2. To give every assistance in their power to the Brothers of the Christian Schools in conducting the teaching part of the orphanage, at least for some time after separation.
“The whole may be summed up in a few words: “The manner and habits and the Rules and Practices of the Brothers of the Christian Schools make it necessary that the Calcutta Community (or at least five of its members) should separate from them.
CLAIMS AND RECRIMINATIONS
What exactly transpired following the submission of this ‘Statement’ to Mgr. Goiran is very difficult to outline, for the simple reason that there are two widely differing accounts, the one emanating from Frère Véneré, the other from Mgr. Goiran. Correspondence between Paris and the Pro-vicar Apostolic was henceforth carried on through the Prefect of Propaganda, Cardinal Barnabo. The first letter addressed to the Cardinal by Frère Philippe was obviously dispatched soon after his receiving from Frère Véneré an account of what had recently taken place in Calcutta. The letter sets forth in general the situation of the community in Calcutta and then, written an another hand, there is the ‘Notice historique’ which bears in the margin the date 27 August, 1860 with a note added that it formed part of the report sent to Rome on 11 September, the date given on the letter to Cardinal Barnabo, which reads as follows:
“To His Eminence Cardinal Barnabo, Prefect of the Sacred College of Propaganda, Rome.
“I regret to inform you that the good relations have been broken between the Brothers whom I sent to Calcutta and those for whom Mgr. Olliffe had so earnestly requested an amalgamation with our Institute, an amalgamation which for long I refused to accede, and which I finally granted only at the desire of your Eminence.
“having read the notice which is subjoined to this letter wherein are set forth the details of the events leading up to this rupture, your Eminence will doubtless judge that this separation cannot be justified since that would mean setting up altar against altar. It seems to me your Eminence, that the better course for me is to recall my Brothers from Calcutta rather than having them remain there under such circumstances.
“Hoping to hear soon the decision which will be taken by the Sacred Congregation in this regard, I have the honour to be with the greatest respect”
The document sent with this letter is entitled “Notice historique sur l’Establissement des Frères des Ecoles Chrietiennes a Calcutta”, and sets out to give the events from the very first approach made by Dr Olliffe in June, 1856. What concerns us here however, is that portion of the ‘Notice’ which deals with the breakup of the Calcutta community. We must bear in mind in this regard that what we are given here is Frère Véneré’s account of the matter and that that account differs widely from that of Mgr. Goiran the Pro-vicar Apostolic. The presently relevant portion of the ‘Notice’ is the following:
“Besides, those English Brothers who, during the absence of Frère Véneré in Europe had the administration of the establishment did not wish to hand over the keys or the books or the cash, so that as a result the French Brothers were without bare necessities such as clothing and footwear. Frère Véneré appealed to the Pro-vicar Apostolic by word and letter to put an end to such an abnormal situation. Finally, on 10 July last (1860) the English Brothers, taking advantage of the absence of the Frenchmen, gone out on their free day, removed the furniture and linen to a place outside the orphanage. Bro. Alphonsus came the same evening to tell Frère Véneré that Mgr. Goiran had separated the English Brothers to form a distinct Congregation of which the Pro-vicar would be superior; that he had dispensed Bro. Alphonsus from his vows and had appointed him Director of the new community. Frère Véneré having protested against all that had been done, refused to accept the fait accompli and Bro. Alphonsus left him. The next day, 11 July, Mgr. Goiran came to the orphanage to persuade Frère Véneré to accept the separation .ought about by him. Frère Véneré told the Pro-vicar that the amalgamation requested by Mgr. Olliffe having been acceded to by the Superior General and sanctioned by the Holy See could not be set aside except by the same authorities, and that was why he persisted in his refusal to accept the separation.
“Finally, Eminence, not content with separating four Brothers from the community of Frère Véneré, the Pro-vicar Apostolic declared, on 26 of same month (July 1860) a strict separation of the Irish Brothers and that he would welcome also all the French Brothers who might wish to follow, becoming members of the new Institute.”
According to the ‘Notice’ then, the separation of the two groups occurred during the month of July. An entry in the ‘Old Record’ informs us that: “The management of the orphanage was handed over to the Calcutta community in August by Mgr. Goiran, Pro-vicar. The community at that time was composed of the following members: Alphonsus Tolan, Paul Kinnear, Joseph Lacey, Stephen Cuddy, Francis Brennan, Stanislaus Burke, Casimer Broderick and Patrick Malone.” This list of names is interesting because it sheds light on a sentence employed in the ‘Notice’ to the effect that the Pro-vicar had separated ‘four Brothers’ from the community of Frère Véneré.’ The ‘four Brothers’ in question, would have been the last four named in the list, who at the time were undergoing their novitiate training in Moorghihatta.
The next event of importance to be noted before considering Mgr. Goiran’s reply to the letter of Frère Philippe to Propaganda, which had been forwarded to him for his comments, was the sending of four members of the community to open a new school in Rangoon. Under the date of 4 September, Frère Heremenegilde tells us that Frères Othmasian, as Director, Victor of Jesus and Hermeland Leon arrived in Rangoon to open a new House there. Frère Véneré accompanied them. Mgr. Goiran informs us that Mgr. Bidauget, Vicar Apostolic of Rangoon, had requested that an English speaking Brother be sent to the community as well, “So that three French Brothers and an Irish novice went to Rangoon.”
MGR. GOIRAN’S REPLY
Mgr. Goiran’s letter to Propaganda written in reply to a query sent to him by Cardinal Barnabo from Propaganda on 27 September, (that is, following the receipt in Rome of Frère Philippe’s letter with the enclosed ‘Notice historique’ dispatched from Paris on the 11 September), is a disappointing document in as much as it does not address itself to answer the specific statements which the ‘Notice’ contains regarding Mgr. Goiran’s setting up of a new Congregation. The letter (written in Italian) is long and gives no time indications except for the date of the Frenchmen’s final withdrawal from Moorghihatta. Dated Calcutta, 4 November, 1860, the entire letter is given here in translation:
“I have received your Eminence’s letter dated the 27 September and now propose giving you all the information you desire on the differences which have arisen among the members of the Brothers of the Christian Schools in Calcutta. I have deferred for so long the conveying to you of this information in the hope that, with the passage of time these problems might have been resolved and that I could console your Eminence with the assurance that the whole affair had been brought to a successful issue. I have not succeeded, however: things here are going from bad to worse:
“So that you may have a clear picture of the problem here, I shall give the details of what took place from the very beginning. When the French Brothers eleven in number, arrived in Calcutta, the Superior, Frère Véneré, requested me to allow them to go to a villa, a country house which the Archbishop had donated to the Brothers as a place of rest, about one hour’s carriage drive outside Calcutta. This house is well situated in a large garden. His reason for this request was that the Brothers would have the necessary time to learn the English language. He further requested that an English Brother be sent to live with them as their tutor and I was only too glad to accede to his wishes. So the Brothers took up residence in the villa and lived there for many months. In the meantime the Irish Brothers lived as before in the orphanage in Calcutta.
“When the French Brothers came to the city, there were disagreements almost immediately, upsetting the harmony and peace of the community. I appointed a Jesuit Father to be their confessor and director, confident that one day that they would be united mind and heart. But each day saw the disunity among them increase. Several times I spoke to Frère Véneré impressing on him the need for great prudence in his dealing with the situation and he promised to do his utmost, but the dissatisfaction only increased. It grieved me sorely when the Irish Brothers brought their complaints to me and asked for an immediate separation from the French. They said the French Brothers were impossible to live with, that there was no charity among them, that the rules were too difficult and a host of other complaints. I realized that the evil of discord had been deeply rooted in their minds. I reminded them of their affiliation to the French Congregation; they replied that they had remained quiet for a time, wishing to make trial of the French rules which they had found very different from those they had received in their novitiate; they added that the French and Irish characters were very different. I failed to shake them from their purpose and promised to bring about the separation if things could not be remedied in any other way.
“The Superior learned of this and came to tell me that this separation could not take place. My reply was that I very much feared I would be forced to effect such a separation; the continuing increase of discord between the two factions would cause scandal, and great harm would ensue for the establishment; the problem was pressing and a prompt remedy imperative. He then suggested that the members of the Calcutta community be dismissed, not all at a time but one by one over a period of time. ‘Under no circumstances’, was my reply, such a remedy would mean the death of my establishment. How could I possibly dismiss a whole of nine or ten men, a community established by the Archbishop, a community well known and esteemed by the people, a community whose boys have been so successful in the public examinations? What would these Brothers have to turn to if dismissed? What would they say? In the stormy situation of a common disgrace they would make public protest, saying that they had worked for so many years for the good of the orphanage without receiving any pecuniary advantage from it; that these Frenchmen had come to drive them away, and why? Because they were unwilling to submit to rules that they had scarcely known until the arrival of these newcomers. To act as you suggest would be suicidal! These men would be disgraced in the eyes of the public who would undoubtedly take the side of the Irishmen for the reasons already stated. Letters would be published in the newspapers; the public would refuse to make their subscriptions to the Frenchmen; even the Government might make investigations and cut off support for the orphanage’. Furthermore Your Eminence, were I to dismiss these Brothers I would be obliged to engage teachers with a knowledge of English to assist the Frenchmen who cannot teach through that medium. However, none of these reasons seemed to carry weight with the Superior. ‘I will write to the Superior General’, he said. ‘Very well’, I replied, ‘do just that, and have the others write as well.’
“This having been decided, the Irishmen promised to remain quiet for three months awaiting the reply from Paris until the granting of the separation which they demanded. After some time replies came from Burma which did nothing to satisfy the Irish who again approached me to effect the separation. The mutual bad relations between you are such that, once the separation is effected, one side will inveigh against the other; the quarrel will not be at an end and the scandal be public. This is my first reason for refusing your request.
“Secondly, this is a poor mission; it does not have the means to finance a new establishment which would cost at least Rs 500 a month for rent and the necessary equipment; as well as that, I should have to pay English teachers to help the French. Let this be understood, I will never make the separation, but for your consolation, I will leave the decision to the Vicar Apostolic who will arrive in India in a few months
“He represents the Sovereign Pontiff; he will judge your quarrel. Be quiet, then.’
“They agreed. The Superior, informed of this decision of mine came with them to make a temporary arrangement. The Irish Brothers asked to be allowed to follow their Irish rule while being with the French Brothers. I rejected this proposal saying that two rules could not be reconciled in the same house, but I said to the Brother Superior, ‘There is one point of your rule that is not helpful at a time like this when feelings are upset, and that is your holding of chapter where each one hears the faults being made public by the Brothers. For the present this rule must be left in abeyance as it is harmful to all of you.’ To this he agreed, but was back next day to inform me that he had changed his mind. ‘If we go on like this,’ I said, ‘the problem will never be resolved.’ Another day he came to me to complain of an Irish novice who had raised objections with him regarding exaggerations in accusations made against him in the chapter of faults. I said to him, ‘Bro. Véneré, I told you to be extremely prudent.’ He was offended because I did not condemn the novice. Another day he came to me and said, ‘I protest against all you are doing, and I am giving you the keys.
’ I replied, ‘You are coming to frighten me; for the present, leave my room.’ Another day, the Frenchman without the Superior, came to ask me for a written declaration that the Superior had been authorized by me to act in everything as Superior. I replied, ‘I know why you want this declaration. You wish to drive away the Irishmen one after the other if they do not submit to that point in the rule which I asked to have set aside until the arrival of the Vicar Apostolic.’ ‘In that case’, they replied, ‘we are going to give you back the keys and the account book.’ I replied, ‘That is childish. Why don’t you wait for the final decision?’ ‘No’, they said, ‘all our rule must be observed. Allow us to retire to the villa and to live there until we get a reply from Paris to our letter.’ ‘It is wrong for to go off like this,’ I said, ‘I shall have to support you for three months without you rendering any service.’ ‘We will go and beg for alms,’ was their impertinent answer. They went off to the villa. Their number of eight had been reduced to five, which includes the Superior.
From the month of January to the 4 November (the day they gave the account book into my hands) Rs 12,000 have been spent for their house. To make up the deficit in the expenses, I gave them Rs 6,000 in those ten months. The Irish Brothers and later the French Brothers have always kept the account: they do the daily shopping. At the end of the month thy come to say: ‘There’s a deficit of Rs 500 or Rs 400 and I make good the balance. I never become involved in what concerns kitchen or laundry, etc. It amazes me how they could ever have written that they went short of the necessities of life. I’ll show their accounts signed by Bro. Véneré, to the Vicar Apostolic and he will see the lies they have written.
“I’ll tell you the opinion of the Missionaries and particularly of Fr Bruno; that Mgr. Olliffe with all his good intentions made a great mistake in calling in the French Brothers. How can a well-established community of Irishmen get on with an equally well-established community of Frenchmen?
“As for my behaviour, I believe I have been prudent. In the beginning I was afraid of being forced to make the separation but I put it off. Then I put it aside, leaving it to the Vicar Apostolic to effect it or not.
“The Irish rule of Obedience is that they promise to obey the bishop who is the Vicar Apostolic and the Superior appointed by him. The French rule promises obedience to the Superior General and to the Superior appointed by him. This alters the case. The Irish Brothers have never made the vow of obedience to the General in Paris.
“Pardon me, your Eminence, for the annoyance. Humbly kissing the sacred purple, with the greatest respect, I remain your humble and obedient servant,
A note added in the hand of some official of Propaganda Fide is to the effect that the letter was delivered on the 7 December.
It would appear that, at this stage of the proceedings, Cardinal Barnabo that the best method of procedure was to forward to each of the parties involved in the confrontation, Frère Philippe and Mgr. Goiran, the correspondence of the other. So it was on 31 December, 1860, the letter of Mgr. Goiran, given above was delivered in Rue Oudinot with the covering letter from the Cardinal to say that the account given by the Pro-vicar differed somewhat from what was contained in the account of the ‘Notice historique’ which Frère Philippe had sent to him the previous September. The reply from Paris is dated the 16 February 1861:
“Most reverend Eminence,
“With the letter of the 31 December last which your Eminence has been pleased to address to me I have received a copy of that written by Monsignor the Pro-vicar Apostolic of Calcutta on the subject of the misunderstandings which have arisen between our Brothers and the Irish Brothers the same people who in 1858 had written to me with such lively insistence requesting that they be accepted into amalgamation with our Institute. The difference which your Eminence has remarked on between Mgr. Goiran’s account and the exposé which I set before him in my letter of the 11 September last, arises no doubt from the fact that the Pro-vicar Apostolic is poorly informed on the antecedents of the whole affair and seems to have lost sight of the recommendations made to him by Mgr. Olliffe on the very day of his departure to Europe. That respectable Prelate (sic) had expressly laid down, in the presence of Bro. Véneré the Provincial Visitor who vouches for this, that the following measures be taken by Mgr. Goiran:
“1. To enlarge the building (at Moorghihatta) so as to provide accommodation for the .others;
“2. “To open up schools in different parts of the city;
“3. To assist the Bro. Visitor in all things and especially in opening a novitiate;
“4. To furnish him with the means of observing the French rule;
“5. To ensure the submission of the Irish Brothers to Bro. Véneré, appointed as Director and Visitor.
“Not only was nothing done with regard to all of this, but right from the time of the arrival of the French Brothers whom Frère Véneré had with such trouble got together, the Bro. Visitor had been denied the right to take up again the administration of the house, and without consulting your Eminence, without doing me the courtesy of writing a single line, he has broken off the amalgamation so earnestly requested by the late Bishop, and by the Irish Brothers themselves.
“Since I did not send Brothers to Calcutta to fall into line with the Irishmen and above all to become the butt of their vexations; since, besides, Mgr. Goiran has already given them an order to vacate the villa as soon as possible, I shall not leave them long there, but first of all I shall require the repayment of a sum amounting to 12,271F 90S., the money spent by the Mother House on lasallain stationery which was, as everyone, and especially Mgr. Goiran, knows was distributed to the school children there. Besides, I claim the payment of the passage money for the Brothers, whether for their return to Europe or their sending to some other eastern country. Since the amount entailed will depend on the places to which the Brothers may be assigned, I cannot at this stage state the amount involved.
“It is with great sorrow, Eminence, that our Brothers bid good bye to a city where the abundance of vocations would have rendered easy the task of setting up a novitiate which could, in a very few years, have supplied Brothers to all the vicariates apostolic of that great land from which I am in receipt of so many requests to open schools. Your Eminence will no doubt regret, as do I, that the position in which our Brothers find themselves has thrown an obstacle in the way of so great a good.
This letter was forwarded to Mgr. Goiran for his comments, and to judge by the heavy strokes with which it is scored and the number of times the word ‘false’ appears in the margin, the Pro-vicar would seem to have been a very irritated man as he read through it. Unfortunately, his reply is largely taken up with showing that the claim of Frère Philippe to reimbursement of some twelve thousand Francs is unsustainable. One might almost say that what Mgr. Goiran forwarded to the Cardinal was somewhat in the nature of a statement of accounts. However there are certain parts of the letter in which the allegations made by Frère Philippe are answered, one, for instance, already quoted which deals with the provision of adequate accommodations which will not be repeated here. With the omission, then, of the ‘accounts’ section and of that portion already quoted above, here is the reply (written originally in French):
“I have read with close attention the letter written by the Superior General in Paris on the subject on the subject of the dissension between the French and Irish Brothers in Calcutta.
“I notice that the Brother Superior is not conversant with the matters here. There is a passage in his letter which causes me astonishment. He says, “Mgr. Goiran has already ordered them to vacate the villa as soon as possible.” This is not true. More than five months ago, Frère Véneré, with four other French Brothers, handed me the keys of the orphanage informing me that he and his Brothers were withdrawing to the villa which belongs to the orphanage. There they would await orders from their Superior in Paris. I tried in vain to dissuade him, telling him that he could await the orders and at the same time continue to take charge of the orphanage.
He would have none of it because the Irish Brothers objected to their being reprimanded in public during the chapter of faults. Since that time I have been obliged to send them whatever they needed without their doing any work in return.
“On the subject of accounts, the Superior states in his letter: ‘I claim, first of all, the repayment of a sum of 12,271 francs, 90 centimes, for lasallian requisites sent from the Mother House, which were distributed to the children under the eyes of all, and particularly Mgr. Goiran,’ It is evident from this statement that the Superior General is under the impression
“Your Eminence will see, on reading this letter that what I have written above is the reality of the case, and to make it absolutely clear, I am forwarding to you an extract from the account book kept by Frère Véneré, having called him in here yesterday to go through the accounts with him.
“It is not true to say that the requisites were given to the children under my eyes. Part of those requisites the French Brothers still have in their possession, and, on 3 April 1860, some were sent to Moulmein. More were sent there again in July and still more in November. Rangoon too, was twice a recipient, on 2 September and the 2 November.
They also dispatched books belonging to our schools here to Rangoon and Moulmein. A man should ensure, when it is a question of money due, that the information which he supplies should be exact, especially when he is writing to his own Superior. I do not know for certain as yet if Frère Véneré has kept these matters secret from his Superiors….
“It is not true to say that they could count on a great number of vocations for the Brothers. The Superior (General) is not well informed regarding the great corruption to be found in Calcutta….
“It may happen that one day the Superior in Paris will discover that Frère Véneré is a man totally unmanageable and devoid of humility. He has blundered badly here. It is impossible to re-unite the Irish Brothers with the French, and it is equally impossible to dismiss the Irish Brothers without failing in justice, and without causing great harm to the Catholics of Calcutta. The other conclusion is implied.”
The attempt at amalgamation had failed; the five remaining Frenchmen, with Frère Véneré at their head, withdrew to Dum Dum villa on 4 November 1860. Their stay was a prolonged one, since we are told in John O’ Connor’s, “A Retrospect”, that they did not leave Calcutta until the following August, when they left to make a new foundation in Agra.
Let us leave to the chroniclers of the De la Salle Congregation the final word on the failure of the Calcutta project. Quoting Frère Ulfin-Daniel, “lHistoire Generale” tells us: “In Paris it seems that mistakes have often been made in the choice of subjects destined for India. It has not been realized that this is a land possessing a very ancient civilization which has attained a high level of intellectual culture. “The first two Visitors of the region showed themselves unequal to the task; one was irregular and incapable, the other a saintly religious, but helpless in the face of administrative complexities, powerless to regulate his own mind and judgment, the details of the house. In this manner the promise of a bright future had been dissipated.”
The failure of the Agra venture undertaken by Frère Véneré and the other four, who were of his community in Dum Dum, in a matter of a few years only, does not help to heighten our appreciation of Frère Véneré as possessing qualities demanded of a pioneer. In extenuation, however, it might be remarked that an insufficient knowledge of English, the medium of instruction in the schools, posed immense problems for the men assigned to the Indian mission, whether in Calcutta, in Agra or in Mangalore.
The amalgamation attempt having failed, what prospects lay ahead for the eight men remaining behind in Moorghihatta? Alphonsus Tolan resumed again his position as Superior of the little group. For him the whole experience of the French experiment must have been particularly harrowing. He was the one who pressed most earnestly for the amalgamation; he was the one who had been most deeply involved. We would give a great deal to have from his hand an account of it all, and yet not a single line do we have unless we see his hand in the ‘Statement’ drawn up by the Calcutta community. Knowing the utter integrity and uprightness of Alphonsus Tolan, we can only conclude that conditions in Moorghihatta under Frère Véneré had reached a pitch that rendered life together in community absolutely unendurable. For the former Superior of the little group, the whole must have seemed a terrible nightmare that would have troubled his tender conscience day in, day out. His final decision was to stand with his young orphans and share their destiny whatever that might be.
The five French Brothers who were at Calcutta at the moment of separation were used to open a school at Agra, a mission under the care of the Capuchins. They were joined by some seven new recruits from France. Soon they had in hand a school of 110 boys and an orphanage for 150 orphans. The future looked so promising that it was decided to open a novitiate. This was done and some very promising postulants presented themselves. Strangely and inexplicably this provoked the jealousy of one of the Capuchins, a certain Pére Louis and he declared war on the Brothers. He persuaded several of the postulants and three young Brothers already in community to leave. About the same time things began to go badly in the community as well and in view of all the un-favourable circumstances it was decided in 1867 to withdraw the Brothers altogether. Frère Véneré and the remaining Brothers left Agra for Burma.
The next attempt to plant the Institute in India was in the south, when at the insistence of Propaganda Fide Brother Jean Nepomucene as Director, with Brs. Raphaire, Berchmans and Pastoris took over a school in Mangalore. In 1860 Brother Pastoris opened a novitiate and several very promising recruits came along. Among them were two whose names are still held in veneration in the District of Colombo- Brothers Timothy of Mary (died 1895) and Anthony of Padua (died 1901). School was opened in Tellicherry in 1861. Brother Raphaire was its first Director and he was succeeded by the young Brother Timothy who had been a teacher before he joined the Brothers. But the Institute seemed unable to strike root in India. There was disagreement with the clergy and disunity among the Brothers. Both Mangalore and Tellicherry were closed in 1868. Mahé had a school from 1863 to 1869 and Karikal from 1863 to 1866. A school was opened in Calicut in 1863 and another at Cannanore. These two kept going until 1882 and then they in turn were abandoned. The Brothers were redistributed in the more successful communities in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Burma (Myanmar). And so came to an end a quarter of a century of striving to establish the Lasallian congregation in India. Despite individual excellence and even heroism it was an inglorious chapter in the history of the Institute.
Brother Liefroy replaced Frère Véneré as Visitor [of the Brothers in Asia] and made his residence in Mangalore. Four Brothers namely; Brothers John Nepomucere, Aephaire, Pastoris and Berchmans had arrived in Mangalore and set up a Lasallian community there in 1859. This was at the invitation of Bishop Michael Anthony, Vicar Apostolic of Mangalore. They also set up a novitiate with four Indian postulants under Bro. Pastoris who had been a novice master for eleven years in Montreal.
The Brothers “were much surprised at the scant consideration which they received from the Vicar General, who took charge of them, and the makeshift arrangements for their accommodation.” Disappointed by the treatment they received Bro. Pastoris proceeded to establish a community in Tellicherry (Malabar Coast- Kerala) with three Brothers and brought with him the novices from Mangalore. (Bro. Cassian Pappu)
An account reads that one of the Indian novices was Bro. Timothy of Mary who was highly intelligent and highly respected was “a native of Calicut was twenty-five years of age, and had been teaching in Mangalore when the Brothers opened their community there.”
The son of a doctor, Bro. Timothy traced his ancestry back “to the converts of St Thomas… and was very gifted. He was appointed Director of Tellicherry community even before he was professed.”
The closing of the house in Mangalore somewhat corresponded to the completion of St Benedict’s College by the Silvestran Benedictines, O.S.B, in Colombo. When three members of the Mangalore community disembarked at Galle and visited Colombo, “they were at once coaxed into an arrangement to take charge of the College”. Bro. Hidulphe became the Headmaster and the school had 300 pupils.
KARIKAL [TAMIL NADU] – 1862
At the request of the Bishop of Pondicherry, Brother Véneré established a community in Karikal and brought two sick Brothers from Agra, hoping that they would improve in health. The Brothers took charge of an existing small college with Bro. Berchmans as the head. Other Brothers arrived from France to complete the community. The foundation lasted just two years. Brother Véneré also set up another foundation in Bassein in Burma.
CALICUT, MAHE AND CANNANORE – 1863
As the new Visitor, Brother Liefroy established three new foundations along the Malabar Coast. Together with the community in Tellicherry there were now four communities along the south western coast of India.
In broken health, Brother Liefroy, left India for Egypt and died in Alexandria in June 1869. Meanwhile, Brother Gregory (Director of St Joseph’s Institution, Singapore) and now the Visitor arrived in Agra to study “where difficulties had arisen”.
Soon after his arrival in India Brother Gregory was struck with cholera and died. “This tragedy and the difficulties which the Brothers had experienced in the preceding months led the Superior General to decide on the withdrawal of the community in Agra.” Six of the Brothers from the Agra community were placed under Brother Pastoris, the new Visitor, and were sent to the Malabar Coast while the remaining Brothers Symphorian and Peter were posted to Singapore. This ended abruptly the work of the Brothers in Agra.
Brother Pastoris was faced with a difficult task because “his communities were situated in widely separated regions: on the east and west coasts of southern India; in Burma, Malaya and the Straits Settlements. The distances were immense; the problems in each region were quite different and often serious, while correspondence with the Mother House in Paris rendered administration still more complex. Unfortunately, Brother Pastoris himself was not well suited for a position which required self-confidence and administrative ability of no mean order.” One by one the communities in India founded between 1859 and 1863 were closed down.
The community in Calcutta was closed in 1861
The community in Karikal was closed in 1866
The community in Mangalore was closed in 1868
The community in Agra was closed in 1868
The community in Calcutta was closed in 1861
The community in Tellichery and Calicut were closed in 1869
The community in Mahe was closed in 1870
The communities in Cannanore were suppressed in 1884 (W.J. Battersby)
As noted by Bro. Lawrence O’ Toole in the Irish Newsletter 1966
Brother Vénéré was fundamentally a good religious but as head of a District he was a total failure. He grew relaxed himself and treated himself to a good time while he failed utterly to give the Brothers the leadership they needed. His example encouraged irregularity in the community. Moreover a definite lack of union soon manifested itself between the French and Irish elements and before long the latter decided to ask for reunification with their original congregation. This was granted in 1861. Thus was ended ingloriously the first Lasallian venture in the great land of India.
The photograph reproduced here shows the remaining local Calcutta Brothers as they were in 1888 when Irish Bro. Joseph Butler, cfi (white coat & cane) came to India with a view to absorbing them into the congregation of Irish Christian Brothers. They still wore the habit of the De la Salle congregation seventeen years after the last De La Salle Brothers had left Calcutta for Agra and eventually India altogether.
Full list of Brothers: From Back
Bro’s Alphonsus Carberry, Bernard Young, Edward Bell, Vincent O’ Reilly, Martin Bernard, Patrick O’ Leary, Aloysius Carberry, Berchmans Farmer, Joseph Butler Vtr. Bro’s Stanislaus Dix (Bourke), Joseph Moyes, Paul Kinnear, John O’ Connor, Stephen Cuddy, Ignatius Gomes, Peter Lennon, Laurence Flood, Andrew Grant, George D’ Rozario (three are local Brothers and apart from George D’Rozario all the others are Irish names) Photo: courtesy Br Mark, La Sallian Centre, Narooma, Australia
What was the cause of the failure? The remarkable Brother Bernard Louis who was sent as Visitor to the Far East about the time of the final closures in a letter to the Superior General attributes it chiefly to the mediocrity of the men sent out from France to man the schools. So long, he said, as missionary Brothers were chosen only from amongst those whom Visitors wanted to get rid of, or who were considered to have small chance of persevering if they remained in the home country, so long would it be impossible to establish the mission schools on a firm basis. Only the best men should be chosen to bring the faith and the Lasallian message to those countries in the Far East. Then there was lack of administrative ability and leadership in the first Visitors. Moreover, what people in Europe did not realise sufficiently was that India was a country with an older civilization than that of Europe and with a culture of its own, and that any poor dunderhead from Europe would not necessarily make success of a school for the “natives” there.
The failure of the Institute to take root in India was a tragedy. Judging by the success of other congregations and their phenomenal development in the fruitful soil of Catholic India, the Institute could have at least two prosperous Districts in India today if only the Brothers had held on. The failure rankled in the minds of the successive Superiors in charge of the Far East, together with the desire to rehabilitate the Lasallian image damaged by our sad history from 1857 to 1882. Moreover Indian born Brothers in the neighbouring Districts naturally longed for the day when the Institute would go back to their motherland. Hence the welcome accorded by the present Visitor of Colombo to the request made to him some ten years ago to take over a Boys’ Town that had been founded by a priest of the diocese of Madurai. The conditions were far from ideal but the chance was too good to miss and moreover it would mean that our work would recommence with the poorest of the poor. Two Brothers from Ceylon and a volunteer form the District of London took over the direction of Nagamalai in 1957. Difficulties began to multiply almost immediately and seemed so insoluble after some years of desperate struggle that one wondered if history was going to repeat itself and if there was some jinx on the Institute in India. Fortunately the Brothers battled on and now the tide seems definitely to have turned in our favour. There is still some opposition form the local clergy (though in fairness it needs to be pointed out that the opposition is directed through the Brothers to the Jesuit Archbishop!) but nothing succeeds like success and the determination and courage of the present community – three of them, including the Director, from the District of London, one from Australia and the rest from Ceylon – have won out. A very fine and functional new “town” is being built with the generous aid of MISEREOR and funds form OXFAM and other charitable sources of help to defray the day to day expenses. The farm is being intelligently developed and water being laid on, so that soon it should be a source of income almost sufficient to keep the establishment going. There are at the moment some 80 boys, all chosen for their poverty and homelessness. They will be trained in a trade so as to be able to make their living later on. At the same time and above all, their moral and spiritual formation is the chief preoccupation of the Brothers. Quite a lot of the boys are not Catholics but there have been already some rewarding conversions.
The foundation of Boys’ Town drew the eyes of the Indian Bishops on the Institute and shortly after the Bishop of Tuticorin invited the Brothers to take charge of the school of Our Lady of the Snows in that city. The building was a very old one and the pupils were very poor but the invitation was accepted. With the generous assistance of a number of Catholic merchants in the city, most of the Old Boys of St. Benedict’s, Colombo, a new school is being built. A small Juniorate has been attached to the school.
Our chief benefactor in Tuticorin is a certain Mr. Roche. His father had, many years ago established in the country some fifteen miles from Tuticorin, a kind of agricultural school where the local peasantry might learn improved methods of farming. The school had been given up in the course of the years. Mr. Roche offered the property to the Brothers to serve as a novitiate. His gift was gratefully accepted and soon the building and the chapel beside it, dedicated to St. Sebastian, were repaired and ready for the first three Indian postulants. Two of these were given the habit by Brother Assistant in a very solemn ceremony in the crowded chapel of Mangalagiri in October 1964. (Bro. Arulsamy was one of the postulants who received the Habit from an Irish Brother Lawrence bringing back the connection to the beginnings of the Institute in India more than a century previously… Brother Joe Reid). It was a moment of profound emotion for the Brothers, this first Prise d’Habit on Indian soil after a century’s interruption. It was felt to be a resurrection. The novitiate now serves both Ceylonese and Indian postulants and is directed ably and devotedly by Brother Austin from Newton-le-Willows!
In 1964 too, all arrangements were completed to take over and English-medium school in the important town of Quilon in Kerala, the stronghold of Catholicism in India. Alas, all three Brothers destined for the foundation, two of them French and one Czecho-Slovakian, were refused entry visas by the Indian Government. English or Irish Brothers would have no difficulty in obtaining visas but none were available and so the taking over of this important school has had to be postponed sine die. Brother Visitor was all the more desirous of accepting the offer of this school as it would have solved the question of a Scholasticate for India, seeing that there in an important Catholic University College in the neighbourhood.
There, then is the situation in India at the moment. Our foothold is still precarious for lack of men and money but the Brothers keep on indomitably in hope and confidence. There is ample scope for development of the Institute among the rowing millions of Indian Catholics, not to mention the missionary opportunities. It is to be hoped that our second history in India will cancel out the unhappy memories of the first.
-Brother Lawrence O’Toole, fsc. De La Salle College, Waterford.
(Bro. Lawrence’s notes were first published in the Irish District newsletter ‘An Iris’ the precursor of the present Irish Lasallian Newsletter in the Christmas Issue 1966.)
Visit of Superior General & Assistant to Boys’ Town 1962
Br’s Francis of Padua, Vincent Gottwald, Nicet Joseph S.G., Fr Visuwasan, Lawrence O’ Toole, Alban Patrick