Sunday, August 16, 2009

Br Keane - now forever with Christ - his Eternal Home

Br J A Keane

Br Tony Keane was laid to rest in the Edmund Rice Cemetery in Baldoyle following Mass in St. Patrick’s Nursing home this morning. The Mass was concelebrated by Bishop Fiacre O’Kelly (a school mate of Tony’s from Ennis CBS) and Fr. Tom Earley. The chapel was packed for the occasion by members of Tony’s family, relations and friends, Brothers and former Brothers, three past-pupils, and others, who gathered to celebrate the life of a truly extraordinary man, to thank God for the gift that Tony was to so many people, and to pray for the happy repose of his soul.
Br. Senan D’Souza (Mt. Abu ’74) gave the homily in which he reflected on Tony’s huge level of commitment to anything he took up, his spirit of faith which nurtured him through the difficult times, and his extraordinary skill in connecting with his pupils at a depth that touched them so much that his memory stayed with them over all the intervening years. Their admiration of his pupils for him as a person is quite exceptional. This was underlined by the presence of Anil Dang (St Columba's ’63), who flew in from New Delhi for the occasion, and Melvin Godinho (Mt Abu ’64), Waterford Institute of Technology, who travelled up from Mooncoin.
Tony was not one to confine himself to school and classroom where he expended great energy in teaching. He had a very personal interest in the lives of his pupils and was genuinely supportive of them in their problems and difficulties. He spent two terms travelling around India on vocation promotion and gave himself fully to the task. His interest in the new recruits did not cease once they had joined but continued over time through letters and visits.
He was one of the pioneers who moved into the village of Amgi in Surat District. He was very happy to be there and shared the lives of the simple village folk as he struggled to come to terms with the intricacies of Gujarati. He was always ready to face any challenge and did his best pick up some of the local village dialect which unfortunately had no resemblance to Gujarati.
In later life he became involved with some village folk in Tamilnadu who had suffered loss during the tsunami. His priority was to try to provide proper housing for the affected people and in this he was helped in great part by the generosity of his large circle of friends in Ennis and elsewhere. He took great satisfaction in the opening of the first church in the world dedicated to Blessed Edmund Rice in Sivagangi, Madurai. In this he was helped also by Jim Boyle and Ben Mooney from Donegal who were also involved in similar work in that area. Both Jim and Ben attended the funeral.
Brothers from India or who had been in India who attended were; Joe O’Donovan, Michael Shannon, Pat Tynan, Michael Walsh, Liam Deasy, Tom Samuel, John Corbett, E.X.Leonard and many former and local Brothers.
The family are very appreciative of all the messages of sympathy received from so many past-pupils.
— Br Pat Gaffney

I have just come home from the funeral Mass for Bro. Tony Keane in St. Patrick's in Baldoyle. The chapel was packed and there was a really good atmosphere there. Bishop Fiachra Ó Ceallaigh (a fomer Ennis school colleague of Tony's) concelebrated the Mass with another school colleague, whose name I'm afraid I did not get.
Great tributes were paid to Tony (referred to by all as John Joe). A really expressive eulogy was read by Indian Bro. Souza, who is studying here, I believe. Then there was the remarkable presence of a Mr. Anil Dang who flew in from Delhi yesterday. He was a former pupil of Tony's 50 years ago. He made a short emotional contribution, recalling the great teacher that he had. He laid a nice floral wreath on the grave.
At the presentation of gifts there was a nice framed photo of Tony in white soutane placed on the altar.
It was a drizzly wet day for the funeral, a typical damp February day ... Tony might have smiled at the idea of being laid to rest among his own in our 'soft' Irish weather. The burial service was dignified and concluded with 'Salve Regina'. The decade of the Rosary was omitted due to the drizzle.
Incidentally, the 'Mass for a Christian Brother' order of service contained the following moving excerpt by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore and with which you are no doubt familiar:

“Death is not the end of life,
It is only putting out the lamp,
Because the Dawn has come.”
I met my brother Leo there and spoke to others, including Bro. Gaffney, over a cup of tea. I was sitting beside a sister-in-law of Tony's during the Mass. They had travelled from Ennis yesterday. Also met Bro. Johnny Carroll whose sister Patricia (RIP) was married to our first cousin. He is well looked after in the nursing home. I had met him in Rome when we were there in 1981, when Leo was on his Tertianship there.
Anyway, I felt that I was representing John/Ben and St. Columba's in a way and I was really glad that I went out to Baldoyle this morning.
—Paddy Judge (brother of Br J B Judge)

Br Keane is the most significant part of my memories of SMS and Abu. Last saw him nearly 31 years ago but his memories remain as fresh as yesterday. Probably the best human being I will ever meet. May God bless him.
—Phalguni Mukherjee (1978)

It is with great sadness that we, the Brothers of the West Coast Region, heard this morning of the passing on of Tony Keane. He was a wonderfully enthusiastic Brother, full of energy for the mission of the Brothers in India. He loved being with people and a large number of his Brothers, friends and admirers are going to miss him for a long time to come.
Tony made his name in the 1970s as Principal of St. Mary's School, Mt. Abu. He was a most caring Principal and hosts of parents recall to this day the great care and attention that he took for each and every student in the school.
Before that he had been a most committed and energetic Vocation Promoter. Moving from school to school, he motivated many a young person to join the Brothers. Tony had two stints as Vocation Promoter and was equally effective in both the stints.
Tony was a great teacher. He was a bundle of energy in the classroom. I once observed him taking a Maths class in St. Vincent's, Asansol. He was a very close teacher and made sure that every boy in the class room understood what he was teaching.
When the Brothers, moved in to the rural missions in the early 1980s, Tony was selected to be part of the first community in Mandal. He made a herculean effort to learn Gujarati and he will be always remembered in the village of Amji where he lived for some time in a hut in the village. Francis Braganza, the retired Bishop of Baroda was full of praise for the way Tony integrated himself with the village people.
Above all, Tony was a deeply spiritual person. His commitment to the mission of the Brothers in India was the fruit of his prayer.
Tony spent a few years as Executive Secretary of NARBI, the National Association of Religious Brothers. He travelled extensively during this time Sleeper Class all over India trying to enthuse Brothers in India to form chapters in different parts of India. It was during one of these visits that he came across a Dalit Village in Tamil Nadu. He took special care of this village, improving the water system and helping with low cost housing. He raised funds to set up the first Edmund Rice church in the world in this Dalit village. Tony was also associated with the Edmund Rice Family in Bangalore. He was a source of great inspiration to them.
Till a few days ago, Tony was in great spirits. His eyes had been giving trouble but that did not depress him unduly. All of a sudden, he suffered a massive stroke three days ago and never recovered consciousness. He died in the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Members of his family and a few Brothers were with him as he breathed his last.
Tony, in the words of St. Paul has run the race. He pushed himself hard and “His reward is with the Lord.”

—Br. Mark D'Costa

Bro Tony Keane was my class teacher at Mt Abu 1956-1959. He was a truly inspiring teacher who gained the respect and affection of all his students. He had a gentle, yet firm way of guiding us along the right path, being able to maintain discipline yet still treat his young charges with respect.
In Dec 2007 I was finally able to meet up with him again at Regina Mundi (some 50 years had elapsed!) and was able to share some fond memories with him. Despite the numerous students he must have taught, his memory was still clear and sharp and he recounted some tales about my friend and classmate Prem Menon as if it was yesterday. Prem and I were planning on visiting him in Dublin this April ­ which sadly will now be too late. However I am in touch with several classmates ­ Prem Menon, Bernard D’Lima, Pat Louis, Benny Pius, and Colin Kelly who I’m sure will join me in wishing him a well earned rest. He has touched the lives of so many that he will not be forgotten.

—Chris Curtis (1959)

Br “Tony” Keane was a one-of-a-kind: an exemplary monk, inspiring teacher and all-round warm human being. It was a privilege to know and work with him. His distinctive laugh still comes to mind...

God rest his dear soul.
—Darryl Michael (1965)

It was a sense of sadness and nostalgia I felt today when I heard of Brother Keane's passing away. And also a sense of joy and celebration for the life of truly an extraordinary man ... who continues to live through the lives of thousands of students that he helped shape and make a difference to. What bigger legacy can a man leave behind?
My memories of Abu and Bro Keane are so closely interwoven together. He was a towering personality—both firm (and I know that from personal experience!) and gentle, of immense vision and compassion, and one who instilled in all of us both the passion to excel and the passion of heart.
I am blessed that I met him—by sheer chance—in Bangalore 2 years ago after almost 40 years. He remembered me by name, reminded me of some of the antics I got into, enquired about Victor and Ivan and my parents. And told me about all his work and passion for India. What an extraordinary man that we and India were so fortunate to call him our own. God bless Brother Keane and his family.
—Michael Menezes (1968)

I am terribly sorry to learn of Brother Keane's demise.
I authored a book published by the Indian arm of John Wiley and Sons. I dedicated it to Br. Keane. I conveyed this to him a few years ago and he thanked me profusely for it, inviting me to visit him in Bangalore where he was. Since my daughter was there, I went to Bangalore and tried to meet him and present a copy but was told that he had relocated to Goa. I remembered him just the other day when I had gone to SMS when it was shrouded in deep fog. On one such day in June 1966, I had gone there with my father to seek admission and met Br. Keane.
May his noble rest in eternal peace.
—Jagdeep Vaishnav (1969)

Br. Keane was my principal from 1976-80. I last met him in Sep 2005 when some of us from the batch of 1980 met in Abu for a Silver Jubilee reunion. I was moved when I stood in front of Br. Keane and he recalled who I was and the name of my hometown. That moment has kind of frozen in my memory and I shall never let it go away. Br. Keane, thank you for shaping my life. RIP.

—Parvez Balooch (1980)

My memories of Bro Keane are still vivid. He was our Princi in 1967. He had excellent teaching skills and possessed the right attitude while handling our recalcitrant escapades. A true leader. I learnt the finer nuances of the English language from him which has stood me in good stead all these years. It was his goading that made our batch produce results which were outstanding. To me SMS is synonymous with Bro Keane.

—Ranajit Sen (1968)

Brother Keane was undoubtedly a legendary figure among the Irish Christian Brothers who served at the only Christian Brothers school in Rajasthan. He was Principal from 1964 to 1968; I was there during his tenure, and what a period it was for us students. I still recall his profound yet simple words uttered at various occasions, “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine”. In class I’m sure all who have studied under him will recall his famous “Country born, country bred, broad in the shoulders and thick in the head.”The profound yet simple words of this extraordinary teacher were designed to jolt us into awareness of our imaginative personalities. His terse but persuasive sayings were known for their ability to render the stoutest and most hard core student to break down at this juncture. Brother Keane rarely ever resorted to the cane. I can only recall the one and only time he used the cane was to discipline some impish students who were made a public spectacle of to show that no half larks would be tolerated by the institution. Many have been touched by Brothers Keane’s profound wisdom and ability to manoeuvre students, parents and people in authority to bend towards his will.
Brother Keane was a stern disciplinarian, cutting to the core and wasting little effort on inessentials. I recall he could control all the students at large just with those piercing eyes of his. His very being and presence was held in awe by all the students. He was as far as I recall a very religious and God fearing man. I have seen this great personality praying for hours on end into the wee hours of the night. He proved a keen observer of boys and like a gardener groomed the students under him to bring out their utmost potential. It would be wishful thinking on my part to feel that all the students had a very high regard for this austere and dedicated man. I know I had my share of tiffs with him. I used to be reminded on many an occasion when I broke bounds that I would be given a one way ticket home.
My greatest teachers in life have been my parents who taught me the virtues of questioning and making my own choices in life. Keane was instrumental in bringing out the best and beast in me; he was like the proverbial goldsmith who saw that products that passed through his hands were tested in the hottest furnace. I know a host of ex-students would not agree to what a large majority of us Marians have in regard for this dominating individual. He had a penchant for changing lives. I am grateful for having had him as my mentor who brought the best out in me to look at my shortfalls and to face life with my chest out and look the world in the eye.

Throughout Keane’s tenure as principal of the school he strived for the betterment of the school. I remember him digging the first sod for the new block that would expand the school, it was a momentous and exceptional moment in his life, his whole being radiated a glowing aura of positive vibes amongst all present that day. His actions and his constant concern for the welfare of the school and students inspired us towards new paths, toward something that elevated our lives from boring to meaningful.
I did miss him in my final year as my mentor. He was transferred and Brother Judge another beacon of light was there for us in my final year. God rest the soul of these two marvellous men who have given so much and have asked nothing in return, except we become good and responsible citizens of this world.
Brother Keane came back to the school as principal for another 5 years from 1976 -1981. I did meet him once or twice when I returned in the eighties and then for the last time when he came to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of the school. His influence will always be felt by students who have had the good fortune of studying under him. The quote by Henry Brooks Adams sums up the achievements of this unforgettable Brother: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

May his soul rest in peace.

—Ainsley Priestman (1969)
(from his blog)

Thanks to Tony, the five of us went to Abu all the way from Goa and consequently he recruited me to the CBs. It was not an easy road in many ways, but Tony was always dependable with his bubbling personality and his prayerful support. The association with me and my family goes back 34 years. I came to live closely with Tony during my time at the CRI Brothers' Institute in Bangalore where he was Executive Secretary for NARBI. The legacy he leaves behind in India is just amazing. The lives he touched from Abu to Gujarat, Bangalore to interior Tamil Nadu (Sivagangai - venue of the first Blessed Edmund Rice Church in the world) not counting the entire Brotherhood in the Indian scenario are countless. He will sadly be missed by the many who had the good fortune of knowing him.

Tony, you have already earned your reward and now you rest in peace in the arms of a loving God awaiting the rest of us who will dearly miss your presence among us.

—Roy da Silva (1977)

My fond memory of Br. Keane is to recall his infectious enthusiasm, shown by him along with the students and teachers who were watching one of the early hockey matches of the Rynold's Hockey Tournment 1956 on the Big Pitch against St. Laurence School, or the Field Ambulance, when he taught those that were watching the game the Maori War Cry: “Eee O Raa, Eee O Raa, Yaki Yaki, Come On St. Mary's”
May his soul rest in peace.

—Chris Joseph (1956)

Br. Keane was my Principal after Br. Mulligan (can't remember which year), till my final year at St. Mary's (1979). Br. Keane was our English teacher in our final year & my best memory is how he interpreted Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The way Shakespeare wrote was no way near what we understood it, but Br. Keane made it so easy the way he interpreted it.
Br. Keane was hard on all of us.....but after having left St. Mary's, I know that what he did to us was for our own good & for that I thank him for me being able to live my life.
Rest in Peace Br. Keane.......Memories of you during my school days will remain forever. And I Thank You for the knowledge You gave us. Your journey is now complete.
—Walter Rodrigues (1979)

I remember clearly the sight of Bro. Keane striding through the jungles of Mount Abu, dressed in his customary whites, with a gaggle of boys around him singing the songs of the IRA at the top of his voice. While the songs are probably not politic today, those were happy days and Bro. Keane had very much to do with it. I can only surmise, that if he had the same positive influence on all those he came in contact with, as he had on me from 1956 -1958, then he would have influenced a generation of Abu boys. 'Those that shall do and teach shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven' was one of his favourite quotes from the Sermon. Well dear Bro. Keane your rewards are well deserved.
—Bernard D'Lima (1959)

What a great guy. he was my mentor from 1955 to 1959. A great teacher, a wonderfully caring person, and always on the watch for your welfare. I think of him often when I think of SMS and ABU. Can still picture him climbing a tall tree(I was only 13 so it was tall to me) to reach into an Oriole's nest and retreive a prized egg for me. Another time he was convenienetly at the bottom of a date palm as I slid down it scraping my chest and legs while saving a couple of eggs. He did a good job of trying to get me into the Novitiate. I got back from Nairobi as far as Bombay and then turned around again.
I can also picture him standing in front of the blackboard, teaching Math with a stick in his hand, and columns of numbers on the board. He would ask you to stand up and add the numbers, as he zigzagged across the board, and you had to have the correct answer when he stop and asked for it.
I believe he was also the founding editor of the first Oriole in 1959, my last year.
God bless his soul. My thoughts and prayers are with him.
—Peter Paul de Souza (1959)

Br. Keane was my principal at Abu during my years there. I was shocked to hear of his demise. He was instrumental in instilling in me (and hopefully others)a sense of displine and love of life. He was always available to us boarders for whatever problems we had in life. He was also witness to my first vows during my short stint with the Christian Brothers.
I will always remember him and I pray for his soul to rest in peace.

—Jnanaprakash Prabhu (1980)

I was so sorry to hear about the passing of our dear Brother Keane (nicknamed Kip-cho and the White Whale when he took us out swimming to Shallow Bay and the School Lake!
He is in Peace and must be just beginning to enjoy Eternity.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Bro Keane - still “Sir” to us! (Found it hard to call him Brother even after so many years). He remembered my face and name and even remembered events in my school life; that's how much me knew us as boys when at St. Marys, Mt. Abu (1966-1972).
I owe him my own vocation as a teacher in Catholic Education as he was my role model at school. I am still teaching in a Catholic College in New Zealand and have taught in Catholic Schools in India and New Zealand for the past 25 years.
Brother was such an inspiration in my life that I named my first son Keane (now 24) after him. When I met him in Bangalore two years ago I mentioned this to him and watched the “Keane chuckle” develop and witnessed the humorous twinkle develop in his eye!

I will always remember Brother admitting me to Mt. Abu in May of 1966 after the school year had begun and how he told me that I could pass off as an Irishman with a name like Kevin O'Kan-nan provided I stayed indoors!
Keep me and mine in your heavenly intersessions!

—Kevin Kannan (1972)

Bro. Keane will be remembered by all who were in his charge.
Over the years,
my memory of him grew ever more stronger.
Perhaps he lives in each of us.
Perhaps he taught us well.
Perhaps we like to be like him.
Perhaps we are simply, blessed.

Between the lines
of each of all his wonderful evening prayer services
he woould want us to do our best
in the words Promite Vires.

To Bro Keane
and all the Christian Brothers,
we knew in Mt. Abu and around the world,
please accept my humble "thank you".

—Ricardo Afonso (1976)

He who shaped me in my life. I used to call him the ghost who walks. I used to love it when he called me PATTEHL. May God bless his soul.

—Sayeed Patel (1980)

Kip Joe was Princy for all of my 7 years at Abu bar one. His enthusiasm and drive saw St Mary's grow from strength to strength. Through my years in Abu he taught me English and Maths but more importantly instilled in me a sense of fair play.
When I think of Kip I remember the drives to Town in the new school jeep, his treating the boys who performed at the Aravali Summer Fest to a meal in town, his rendition of O Sole Mio, his tales of all the boys he outfoxed through the years in Abu and his inspirational messages every evening in the Chapel.
I was fortunate to meet up with Br Keane twice in Bangalore. In 2004 he was still in his prime. He remembered mos of the faces in the photos I had over a cuppa in Bangalore. Then I took the family—wife and 2 kids—to see him in Mar 2007 and he was fading at that stage. He still remembered me but we were not able to make conversation easily.
Thank you for helping in making me what I am today Kip Joe. Rest in Peace.

—Andre Rasquinha (1981)

Few people have influenced my life as profoundly as Bro Keane(Kip) has. He was my principal from 1976 to 1981 and I have no doubt that a lot of what I am today, I can credit to him.

Over the past few days I have had a million pictures flash thru my head. His game schedule put up on the notice board every day, him sitting outside the big dorm to take down the game scores every evening. His famous Green pilot pens...

ABCD are letters not alphabets... there is just one English alphabet and it has 26 letters....

His extempore stories that he told everyday at evening prayer... In 8 years there were few that were repeated.

I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times over the last 5 years and it amazed me that he remembered me... “Pereira boy” he called me.. he even remembered my brothers Warren and Arron and told me a story of how he caught Arron trying to bunk out of school. The last time I met him was at my sons Sports day at St. Columbus New Delhi. He was on the podium amongst other brothers (Philip Pinto, Christopher, Finn) and teachers, as a guest of honour. I was standing right by the podium as it was a great vantage point to take pictures. Thru the day, each of them were called on to give away prizes. When they had gone thru all the persons on the stage, I suddenly heard my name called out to give away prizes.

I was quite honoured to give away prizes to the kids and it took me back to our sports prize ceremonies in Abu. After I had finished and was heading back to my place by the podium, Kip called me “Oye...” he caught my hand and pulled me to him and whispered in my year.. “I never thought I would see the day...” I saw the pride of a father in his eyes when he said that ....

God Bless you Kip, we were the clay and you were truly the Potter...

—Byron Pereira (1983)

Br Keane was Principal when I joined St Mary's in 1966. Over the years he became a part of our family during our long association with the Christian Brother and with St Mary's, Mt Abu.
His towering figure and clear crisp communication style could not fail to leave a long-lasting impression. The manner in which he embraced Indian culture and language was an inspiration to all of us who have adapted to other cultures as we have migrated to different parts of the world.

He was a man of his word, even when he could reasonably have retracted. When my youngest brother was in Kindergarten at Sophia he asked Br. Keane when he could join St Mary's and was told “when you pass your exams.” Sure enough, when Bhairav showed him his KG “report” a few months later, he was admitted to Class 3 at St Mary's!!
We were blessed to have such wonderful teachers led by Br Keane and Br Judge. We will miss him dearly and pray that his soul rests in peace.

—Shanker Trivedi (1971)

As my principal from 1976 to 1981, Br Keane was a massive influence on me and impressed me greatly with his discipline and straight forward demeanor. Life was black & white for him with little room for shades of grey is what most impressed me.
He spoke straight, laughed loudly and infected all around him with his love for live by being a larger than life character!
St Mary's and I own him a gratitude and I will forever miss the opportunity of not seeing him in his later years.

Principals and teachers influence generations together and Br Keane certainly left his stamp on the minds and hearts of his students. They in turn will influence their own kids and Br Keane would have had a bigger influence than he would have realized!
Cheers to a life well lived.

All we can hope for as mortals, is to leave the world slightly better than the one we came into. By that measure, Br Keane has triumphed in death as in life!

—Hemant Amin (1982)

There is this proverbial Irish saying “A kind word never broke anyones mouth” and that's what our beloved Brother Keane practiced everyday of his life.
He was my principal and I also had the pleasure of him teaching English in Class 10. Julius Caesar was never so pleasurable when it flew from his teachings.
However, Brother Keane was one of the finest human beings that I believe I have met and will ever meet. Charming and witty, compassionate and benevolent, strict and fair are aspects of his character that he practiced with transparency and fairness.

He never lost sight of his mission that took him all around the globe: teaching children, helping the underprivileged and serving God.
To me he was my "Guru", a person that I always looked up with awe and admiration.

Seldom do individuals leave such permanent marks on the lives of so many and that he did. I am now past 40 and yet his memory, charm and laughter are so vivid in my memory. That's the mark of Brother Keane!
It was 5:00 in the morning when I got the news from Sunil Noronha and that was one of the saddest days in my life. I had the same feeling when my father left me in 1996. Thats what he was to me and I am sure to alot of us.
Brother Keane, the world is now a sadder place with you gone and I know that you are up there in heaven looking down on all of us whose lives you shaped and we thank God for creating people like you.

—Darshak Mehta (1979)

A person of strength, a person of love, an angel in disguise sent to SMS from above. Many memories, to keep going on we will not miss you for to do so would mean you're gone. In our hearts we'll ever so treasure the memories the lessons we have instilled in our lives together.

—Melanius McBain (1984)

I met Br. Keane as the principal of our school St. Augustines, Vasai. I have never seen any person who would remember the name of each and every student in the whole school. He personally related with each and every student. We have learnt a great deal from our Brother Keane. He lives in the memory of each of his students.

—Geejo Davis (1996)

I am saddened to know of Br. Keane's passing. He has enriched so many lives in his time on Earth—including mine.

I was a student at St. Mary's for only one year (1979), but in that short year Br. Keane made an impression on my life that will endure. Being the son of an Army officer, I moved schools very frequently. It was difficult to fit in, and I knew that my stay would be short. I was not doing very well—my test results were not very good. I do not know what he saw in me, but whatever it was, it was visible to him but not to me.

He said that my difficulties in academics were temporary, that I should stick to it, and that I could have a long career in education. I found that difficult to believe. In December that year, we moved again, and I enrolled in St. John's High School, Chandigarh. After my usual academic performance in 9th class half-yearlies, I was down in the dumps, when I unexpectedly received a letter and a Christmas card from him. It was astounding! One year later, he still felt connected to this one student who had spent only 10 months under his wing! Something changed in me that winter, and Br. Keane's faith in me, his unyielding hope in perseverance had a lot to do with it. I did well in High School, getting 1 point in Math and Science, giving my parents the vapors (me too, I have to confess).

Many decades on, I am a teacher and researcher, trying to bridge the ever-shrinking gap between neurobiology and psychology, trying to understand how neuronal activity leads to things like perception and cognition.

I miss my annual exchange of Christmas cards, the blessings of Br. Keane. The direction and course of my life are the result of Br Keane, who transformed what could have been a passing acquaintanceship into a tangible bond, bringing out unsuspected qualities and abilities.

I will never forget him, and his influence will live on in the message I give to my own child, and to the next generation of students.

—Avinash D. Singh Bala (1982)

I cannot think of my wonderful days at Mt. Abu and not think of Br. Keane. The two are synonomous in my mind. He challenged us to be the best and many of us are what we are today because of him. I'm lucky to have had the privilege to have known such a kind and compassionate man. Br. Keane, rest in peace and Godspeed. You will always be in our hearts and minds, and in our prayers. Rest in peace!

—Malcolm D'Souza (1980)

My memories of Br Keane stretch back over 45 years when, as a young boy of 7, I had accompanied my father to the Brother's cottage at Mount Abu for a pre-admission meeting. This was in Dec 1963 and school had closed for the winter. I recall to this day the warmth with which we were received, very different indeed from the receptions that my children and I have generally received from school principals across the country. Br Keane was to be our teacher in 1967-68. His personality left an indelible mark and when I learnt in 2004 that he too was residing in Bangalore, I lost little time in calling on him with my son in tow. He appeared to be in rather good health and moved about quite energetically. He wanted to know whether I had visited Abu after 1971 and said it would be a pilgrimage of sorts whenever I did. That was the last time that I met him. Today I came across the news of his demise and was deeply saddened. Another towering figure around whom childhood memories were woven had departed. I shall always cherish those distant yet vivid memories set in the beautiful hills and skies of Mount Abu. May his soul rest in peace.

—Kalyan Mukherjee (1971)

Brother Keane was the Principal of SMS when I passed out in 1966. He taught us Maths & English Language if I am not mistaken. After leaving school I had the oppurtunity of meeting him on several occassions. I met him when he was learning Gujerati at St. Xaviers College, Ahmedabad, and when he told me why he was pursuing a course in Gujerati I just could not help marvel at the dedication he had to fight against the injustice faced by the poor farmers of rural India. He was a great teacher and the VALUES he inculcated in me makes me what I am. May his Soul rest in peace.

—Saifee Shahpurwala (1966)

The words that come to mind regarding Br Keane are “standards” and “respect.” He set standards at mountain tops, which was a real bother to us. Until we realized, decades later, that the standards he set himself were stratospheric. Impeccable handwriting, diction, grooming and posture. Mixed in with compassion and selfless human service, commanding the universal respect of staff, boys, parents and townsfolk.

He had us tear out a page, fold it in half and place it under our 10-year-old hands as we wrote in our exercise books, so that our work was blotch-free. He instituted the morning inspection of uniforms, fingernails, handkerchiefs ... and often enough he'd check that the backs of our shoes were polished too. He knew all our tricks, and made it clear he'd have none of them.

The discipline was balanced with caring, even affection. Out swimming at School Lake, he'd give the younger boys—the non-swimmers—rides on his back across the “channel.” The little chaps would hang on like baby koalas. And while minding dinner in the refectory, he'd often insist on being served a bowl of our soup—a message to both management and boys.

It came as no surprise that he'd set himself among the villagers of Gujarat to do something extraordinary. Just another routine act of a moral giant.

We were immensely privileged to have been launched off his shoulders, across the channel and into the world.

—Val Noronha (1973)


Clevin said...

He was a wonderful Brother.
May his Soul rest in peace.

- Clevin Carvalho

Unknown said...

He was a wonderful uncle to all his nieces and nephews. He had tales from that far away place, India. Four years after death we miss the anticipation of his visit, normally would have occurred at the time.

Unknown said...

He was a wonderful uncle to all his nieces and nephews. He had tales from that far away place, India. Four years after death we miss the anticipation of his visit, normally would have occurred at the time.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday In my Dream Brother Tony keane popped out of nowhere. In one of the scenes he jumps out of nowhere laughing and smiling. I am shocked that he is no more alive, Brother keane used to visit my Hometown Mangalore once in a while ,and so did I meet him to say hi in Bangalore and Goa, br keane has taught me a lot of things which I still remember today. May his Soul rest in Peace.

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