May 17 – BANGKOK, A GABRIELITE CITY

BANGKOK, A GABRIELITE CITY

After his return from Bangkok Br. Sebastien, Superior General, pointed out in his circular of 4 April 1927 the changes that had taken place in that city since his first visit 17 years earlier: there were more wide avenues, more means of transport and more people (nearly one million), but it had kept its charm with the “ogival arches” of its trees, its canals and its floating quarters. If he visited it in 2000 he would be less lyrical in a megalopolis of over 6 million people with its huge tower blocks and its paralysed traffic. And he would not recognise Gabrielite Bangkok which counted then only two schools: Assumption College (founded in 1901) and St Gabriel’s College (founded in 1920).

On 31 December 1999 the city numbered eight communities in which more than half the Province (32 out of 63) live.

A business course had been started by Br. Rogatien at Assumption College. In July 1944 it was transferred to Montfort Villa, a country house of the Brothers near which Assumption Commercial College was built later (now in the town center).

In 1961 another college was built in Thonburi on the right bank of the. Chao Phaya opposite Krungthep (the two cities have been merged and constitute the present city of Bangkok). A former pupil of Assumption College who had acquired a vast piece of isolated land in Thonburi offered to hand it over to the Brothers. The gift was superb but perplexed the Brothers. Should they build a school in the middle of the countryside?

They took up the challenge and were not sorry they did. No other college in Thailand ever grew so rapidly. Although it is now surrounded by houses it is not cramped like the older schools in Bangkok and has preserved the original large spaces used as playing grounds in an environment full of flowers.

In 1963 the Provincial House was built near the hospital of the Camilian priests.

In 1973 the ABAC which until then was housed in the buildings of the Commercial College was transferred to its present location and became Assumption University in 1990 (See 23 May).

In 1985 the scholasticate of Sampran was built at Khompathon near the diocesan seminary Lux Mundi where the young Brothers can study philosophy and theology before entering the novitiate.

In 1990 another Assumption College came into existence at Samrong. As no Brothers were available to teach in it some teachers from Assumption College helped out at the beginning. Later on, only one Brother, the headmaster, worked there.

The Provincial House was pulled down in 1993 and made room for an eleven­ storey building opened in 1996. It houses the Provincial House and an educational establishment which offers a teacher-training course attended by teachers from all over Thailand.

Date

May 17

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