May 19 – SRIRACHA

SRIRACHA

Between the two world wars, the Brothers of Bangkok had the habit of going and spending their holidays with the orphans at Sriracha. In this big trading center situated on the sea coast some 125 km south-east of the capital, Mr Godenho had a house which he had willingly rented out the Brothers and which he sold to them in 1924. In 1927, they bought just by the side a piece of land mesuring one hundred hectares.

During Second World War, Sriracha was the obvious place of refuge for the Brothers living in Bangkok. On 1 December 1943 six Brothers from Assumption College and four from St Gabriel’s College arrived there along with 13 orphans. After the night of 23 to 24 December a fire bomb hit Assumption College; the Brothers moved all the furniture and text books to another place by boat and car.Another bomb hit the college on 13 January 1944, and this decided Br. Frederic-Jean, Principal Director, to open a real boarding .school at Sriracha. He applied for authorisation from the government. The request was granted on 19 May 1944. Right from the start 83 boarders and 34 day-boys applied for admission. It was the beginning of an establishment destined to have a bright future.

The main architects of its growth were two Brothers whose statues stand today on the campus of the school: Bros. Theophane Venard and Montfort del Rosario. Br. Theophane Venard, the first Thai-born Brother, founded Sriracha in heroic times, during and after the war, when the boarders had to be housed in wooden ramshackle dwellings. The sturdily-built Br. Montfort from Spain succeeded Br. Theophane in 1953 and gave the school its present appearance, with classrooms in which the pupils studying for academic qualifications achieved results which made the school one of the ten best in the kingdom; he provided the school with a large assembly hall, a cathedral-like chapel, an open-air cinema, an olympic-size swimming pool, sports grounds where the twice-yearly gymkhana of all the Gabrielite schools in the country takes place.

Although it is more recent than the first two large schools in Bangkok, Assumption College and St Gabriel’s College, Sriracha Assumption College has become a sort of Mother House of the Province, because of its large spaces and meeting facilities. It is in Sriracha that many retreats and religious professions take place. It is there also that StLouis Mary Juniorate was established when the Province was set up in 1948. Finally, it is there that the Provincial cemetery lies: on one side of it are 14 graves containing the remains of the Brothers transferred from Bangkok, and on the other side about 20 more recent graves, with the photographs of the deceased affixed to the crosses.

Date

May 19

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