Rev Bro Alexander Cyrillus FSC
The demise of Rev Bro Alexander marks the end of an illustrious chapter in the annals of Lasallian education in the country.
The life of Bro Alexander ended on a sombre note after several weeks of lapsing into a state of unconsciousness; his voice was stilled and the weary physique at rest. The late Brother, commenced teaching in the early 1950’s as a fledgling member of the De La Salle Order.
The years and decades that followed witnessed Bro Alexander making remarkable strides in the education of students who came under his tutelage in the institutions coming under the purview of the Brothers in the metropolitan city and townships beyond.
Bro Alexander made a very significant and perennial contribution to St Benedict’s College both as a teacher and Director. He was a martinet who focussed his teaching on the hallowed motto of the school “Religio Mores Cultura”. During his stint Brother Alexander proved his acumen as a mentor par excellence and capable administrator aided by his personal vision of sending his myriad students into the world with innate confidence to surmount challenges, if any.
It was in the 1980’s during his stewardship as Director that St. Benedict’s witnessed a renaissance and in this backdrop the College continued to register commendable progress and emerge as a front-runner in the schools arena.
Past students from the 50’s onwards will recall the invaluable guidance rendered by Bro. Alexander in moulding them into useful citizens in the social milieu.
The majestic building in recognition of his stature by the global Benedictine family stands as a silent sentinel to his laudable achievements and a perennial symbol of remembering their beloved teacher.
In 1979, Bro Alexander was appointed Provincial Visitor of the De La Salle Brothers in Sri Lanka which post he illumined until the end of his term in 1981. The saga of our former mentor will be etched in the minds and hearts of his fellow Brothers, teachers and vast concourse of students who benefited from his academic prowess and penchant for English in which he excelled and the warmth and affection he exuded.
In his seemingly valedictory letter to me dated June 21, 2010 Bro Alexander had remarked “I’m okay now. My father died at 83 and hoping to die at the same age. I’ve three more years to live. That’s good enough.”
It was not to be and the Creator summoned him to His Heavenly abode as a well-merited reward for the unswerving and exemplary commitment to his vocation as a De La Salle Brother. It could be verily said that Bro Alexander was God’s inestimable gift to generations of Benedictines and alumni of other Lasallian schools where he diligently followed the hallowed precepts of his Founder.
In retrospect countless students who have accredited themselves in their avowed professions will in unison attribute their success to their beloved mentor whose educational skills and incisive imparting of knowledge with due emphasis on discipline had equipped them well to face the world.
Bro Alexander was a colossus and an educationist par excellence with his wide repertoire of men and matters. He was at ease with the affluent and the ordinary folk and endeared himself to all those who had the privilege of being associated with him during his sojourn on earth.
In the College Magazine published in 2000 it was edifying to peruse Bro Alexander’s article titled “A Benedictine Vision-2100” – in it one comes across many a gem of wisdom for Christian educationists to ponder over.
The visionary Brother imbibed the fundamentals of being a true disciple of St John Baptist De La Salle and was a crusader for the poor and marginalized in society.
“They that instruct others unto justice will shine as stars for all eternity”
Farewell dear Bro Alexander – we will cherish the memories of your noble life.
(Note: this appreciation has been published in several newspapers in Sri Lanka including the Daily News. Link to article in the Daily News On-Line edition: http://www.dailynews.lk/2011/01/24/fea24.asp )