It was a big day at Bagna (Bangkok) College. After pronouncing their First Religious Vows two new Thai brothers became part of the big de La Salle Institute. Founded in France in the 18th Century by Saint John Baptiste de la Salle, the brothers devoted themselves to give free schooling to poor boys, first in France and later on through Europe , America, and those countries they used to call “Mission countries”.
The Brothers arrived in Thailand in the middle fifties. They were originally French Brothers detached from obvious reasons from their original posts in Vietnam. They founded a school in Nakhonsawan which became very soon the best reputed private school in the city . A few years later they started a second school in Chantaburi, and in 1963 they moved to the capital with a school that has grown from the original 500 students to the more than 4.000 today. Along these years, the original “missionaries” but for one exception, have been substituted by Thai Brothers who at present number about twenty of them.
I was happy to join in the welcome feast of the latest two new comers and I couldn’t help thinking that everything looked very much like a wedding feast. Two young men were pledging their lives, consecrating themselves to God and giving themselves to others through their religious vocation. As in a wedding there was joy and feasting and since the two young Brothers came from the Northeast of Thailand what could be more enjoyable than to watch the traditional Isan dances?