This is in the confessional mode. Ever since the passing away of Brother M.G. Shannon, who was the first 'boss' under whom I worked in St. Edmund's College Shillong, the Principal of the College for eleven years, I have felt a void, and a lump in my throat. I am missing something or someone which was so inseparable from me.
When he left, I never corresponded with him, I drew the world of connection, and connectivity, not in the technological sense, but in the human sense and the world of spirit. Moreover I studied in the same college and school for twenty four years. But I got to know him the best, when I was in the college both as teacher and taught.
I had heard some years back that he was unwell, and has severe loss of memory. But the very fact that he was still there was a solace and antidote for any problem. I would often recollect to people verbally, the form of education in which he believed. It was not only a martinet's choice for him, he was an educator of compassion and humaneness. He loved the students dearly and many of them were actually children just passed out from school. He loved to see him jovial after classes and he gave a free hand to them for sports and other allied activities such as the college week.
It is a connect that I made with my days as a teacher, when he was a principal of the college. He was the epitome of kindness. One day when it was raining after night classes and I could not go home, he rushed to his room and thrust an umbrella on my hands. It was a gesture, more than an act of kindness that I valued and still value most. To say that he was an Institution is to repeat a cliche, said about many people. He was more than that. He was a stalwart in education. He was a very good human being brimming with compassion and love. He was a servant leader who served the poorer section of the students and led them into their professions. He had a tracking system of all the students, by way of measuring their academic progress which he uniquely developed. He was a leader in waste management, any scrap of paper or thing that could be wasted he would recycle for college use. He respected each and every teacher, he understood their problems and tried to bring a solutions with empathy.
The void that is in me does not seem to leave. But as I mentioned earlier the very fact that he was in the world was enough comfort as he was a mediator between the present and the past. Now that he is no more this connection might sap. But I can always reconnect by memories and his image of a perfect role model, a perfect guide, a perfect teacher and administrator, and a lover not only of students but of humanity. For him the college was his home and world, not Ireland which he originally came from.