What is the significance of Brother Charles’ life? In a world driven by greed, profits and selfishness, his entire life pointed to a higher ideal – a life motivated by selfless faith, service and community in the cause of providing education for all, irrespective of ethnicity and religion – without a thought for material reward.
The late Brother Director of St Xavier’s Institution, Penang, had a keen intellect and a flair for languages and could have been a wealthy man. Instead, he chose the path of poverty in the service of all through education. His entire life, right until his last days, was dedicated to this cause.
In an era where quality education is increasingly being provided in exclusive private international schools, Brother Charles served the cause of holistic education in a public school to ensure as many people as possible, rich or poor, had access to top quality education. The school fees? A few ringgit a year.
His spirituality was one of Life that encompassed the whole of humanity, said his friend and colleague Brother Vincent Corkery in his eulogy. It was a spirituality that saw the whole of humanity as the children of God.
His funeral at the SXI chapel was attended by some 400 friends, colleagues, old boys and teachers. Hundreds of present-day students lined the school corridors to bid him a touching farewell. It was Brother Charles’ last tour of the school that he had loved and served so selflessly since he first set foot in this region in 1950 as a 23-year-old novice Brother.