The Brothers who came to teach in St Francis’ Institution were by and large ordinary men whose strengths and failings were much like everyone’s but, by their dedication and devotion to the life mission they took upon themselves, they achieved extraordinary results. We learn how men from far and near made great commitment and great sacrifices to show their love to strangers and to nurture a poor school. Commitment and sacrifices were certainly there, but they loved what they undertook and they found joy in what they did. So they expected nothing in return other than allowing themselves the hope that their students would go on to lead fruitful lives holding dear the examples they saw and the values imparted to them. After all is said and done, on thing mattered to them above all else. That was the life mission of the De La Salle Brothers (and priest before them) had assigned to themselves: Serve God and serve the children.
With humble beginnings, St Francis’ Institution has come to be one of the best in Malacca with its achievements in both its academic and sports division. Despite being one of the oldest school in Malacca, the school has marched steadfastly in bringing together students of all colours, religion and creed. Having withstood the test of time, St Francis’ Institution is still magnificent in all its grandeur and splendor as it continues to educate more young Franciscans.
Since its inception, St Francis’ Institution has strived hard to achieve its goal to educate students and spread and spread the knowledge of man to all.
The 2- storey building in front of the Church of St Francis Xavier was the former Malacca Monopolies Department. St Francis’ Institution was housed in this building from 1880 until they moved to the U-Building in Bandar Hilir.
The St Francis’ Institution had its early beginning in 1872 when it was known as St Mary’s School , whose founder was Rev Fr Maximillian de Souza, better remembered as ‘Father Bachino’. It was solely meant for the Catholic education of children in the Parish. It was located in Praya Lane. In 1880 the school shifted to a two-storey building which is across the road in front of Church of St Francis Xavier and was renamed St Francis’ Institution by its new principal, Rev Fr Deloutte. Due to the lack of progress, the Government withdrawn its aid and thus, the school was temporarily closed down in 1902.
AGE QUOD AGIS
THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF ST FRANCIS’ INSTITUTION
FI Cadet Corps, 1930
Malacca Rubber Plantation Building
In 1903, the school was re-opened by four De La Salle Brothers lead by Rev. Br. Maurice Josephus. In 1903, on the transfer of Rev. Br. Joseph to Burma, Rev. Br. Dositheus shouldered the responsibility of running the school and remained as its Director until 1913. Its enrolments began to rise rapidly and it was soon apparent that more spacious and suitable accommodation was becoming a necessity.
And so, in 1906 rose the old ‘U’ Building as the nucleus of St. Francis’ Institution. The quality of education provided improved to such a high standard that the Government was loud in its praises of the great step-forward made by the school. n 1922, Rev. Vernier Augustus bought the Malacca rubber plantation building which is adjoining the school premises. the building was renovated and turned into quarters for the brothers; and the grounds behind added much to the size of the playing field.
From 1923 to 1930 when Rev. Br. Barnitus was in charge of affairs; the school excel in scholastic and extra-curricular. The Cadet Corps and a Boys’ Scout Troop was established. The Cadet Corps were established on April 29, 1918 with 58 members. The Corps were disbanded late in 1919 when the ruling Colonial government refused to give permission to sustain its equipment. However, in the year 1925, the Corps were re-established. On the other hand, the Boys’ Scout Troop were founded on January 25, 1926 with 32 members. Both the uniformed units have been going strong until today. Rev. Br. Louis ‘Bun Sen’ who replaced Rev. Br. Barnitus had organised an excellent Cadet Band which he personally trained and conducted. Originally started as a Cadet Band, it was the first of its kind in Malacca. Over the years, it has established itself into the Military Band as it is known today.
Front view of U-Building,1906
In 1923 Rev Bro Dominic became the Director and stayed in the office until 1935. During this time the school obtained one of its best results in recent years - 31 out of 32 Juniors and 23 out of 29 Seniors passed in the Cambridge Examination. Rev. Br. Vernier Augustus returned to Malacca for a second term of office in 1936, he found a much improved setting to the one he left in 1920. Br Vernier did not have to worry about the playing field anymore but the chapel became his priority. He was responsible for building the new school chapel, which is acclaimed the best in the mission schools in the East.
Thanks to the generosity of Mrs Tan Chay Yan in donating a piece of land, Rev. Br. Augustus was able to erect a bungalow as a holiday house for the Brothers at Pantai Kundor.