By Br Kevin Gibb C.Ss.R.
As I look back over my life as a Redemptorist brother, there are vivid memories of many confreres with whom I have lived and worked. Some of them have gone on to God, many remain. In either case, I love to tell their stories.
When stationed in Manila, the Philippines, I lived with a confrere whom I remember as dear old Brother Leo. Br Leo was posted to the Philippines at the end of World War II. Before becoming a brother he had been a boiler maker, so he brought with him a great capacity to operate on all things material around the house and in the large Redemptorist church in Manila.
Br Leo also had a capacity to see into people and understand their character. He was like that in his manual work as well. The only trouble was that sometimes no one else could see in his explanations what Br Leo could see.
His last major work in the Baclaran church was the design and building of the pulpit. His design was such that the artists who were to proportion it and the builders who were to build it, could not quite understand what Br Leo had in mind. Ongoing moments of frustration and humour sprang from such a predicament. In the end, all was worked out. Today, there are interior furnishings at Baclaran church that stand not only as witness to Br Leo’ skill, but also his dedication to the larger mission of the Redemptorists.
Among the joys of being a Redemptorist is that, even on an individual mission, we seldom work alone. There is a sense we are all in this together. That is why the memories of those who shared the experience remain with me.