米 高修士 (彌額爾)
* Birth in England: [26 March 1908]
Death of Brother Michael J. Curtin, F.S.C.
Brother Michael J. Curtin, FSC, one of the
leaders of education in Hong Kong, died at St. Teresa’s Hospital on Friday, 15 November
1983, aged 75. He had been ill for many months, but the end came very peacefully.
Brother Michael came to Hong Kong in 1932, and spent the following 51 years at La Salle and St. Joseph’s Colleges, with a wartime and post-war interval in education in Indochina. For most of that time he was busy in the classroom as an original, vigorous and inspiring teacher. Even after his retirement from formal teaching he remained an educational force in La Salle and a valuable adviser on all educational matters.
His contribution to Catholic education here was not confined to the schools he taught in. He was a founder-member of the Catholic Education Council and became its first Vice Chairman, retaining that post for many years. With his accustomed cheerful generosity, he accepted the arduous task of refining and redrafting the constitution of the Council to make it acceptable to the Register of Societies.
He was also a founder-member of the Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and gave devoted and expert attention to the progress of the Association. He himself shone in careers guidance, and he worked hard to promote this demanding and very valuable side of education. A recent Education Department circular on the Careers Work of La Salle College said that “the extensive careers and guidance team which consists of 13 teachers and a school social worker is one of the strongest teams in Hong Kong.” That team is largely the fruit of Brother Michael’s devoted work. His M.B.E. was well merited.
All this gives a picture of an original and deeply committed educationalist. It cannot give a portrait of the man himself and cannot explain the deep affection in which he was held or the grief that the announcement of his death aroused. He was a man of high intelligence, broad sympathies, wide culture and unfailing charm. His sense of humour was quick and appreciative. His laugh was all his own: his whole body shook with amusement and his eyes shone forth appreciative understanding, but there was no sound; it was a silent laugh that expressed much more than the ordinary laugher's roar.
In a moving homily at the Mass of the Resurrection in St. Teresa’s Church on 28 November, Brother Raphael, Principal of La Salle College, mentioned something that only Brother Michael’s own community could know: his constant care for the welfare of the minor staff and his annual insistence that all of them should received Christmas gifts.
It is useless to labour such details. Brother Michael was loved because he was Brother Michael. To know him was a liberal education. The secret has died with him, and Hong Kong is the poorer for his loss.
2 December 1983
◆ The Gateway Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin Eighth Issue, The Lasallian Family Hong Kong, 2008.
◆ 先賢錄－－香港天主教神職及男女修會會士 (1841-2010), 天主教香港教區檔案處, 2010.