Brother Colin ssf … Haere Ra Koro
In 1970 four Brothers from four nations and three different SSF Provinces were chosen to pioneer our Franciscan First Order presence in Aotearoa New Zealand. One of them was a large Solomon Islander – Brother Colin – from Malaita. They were first at St Francis House, Greys Avenue, Auckland and then at St Mary’s Vicarage, Glen Innes.
Colin was one of the first Solomon Islanders to come to test his vocation as a friar at what is now known as Haruro (formerly Jegerata) near Popondetta in Papua New Guinea. The other two were Michael Davis, who died in 1989 and Comins Romano who returned to Haruro this year from the Solomons for the celebration in July of our being 50 years in Papua New Guina. Both were from the island of Ulawa. These three Solomon Island Brothers had come to join SSF before there was a friary in the Solomons. Colin had previously resided and worked at Pawa boys’ secondary school on Ugi Island. Now we have to record that he has died in the general hospital in Honiara after a long illness, aged 73. He was professed in 1969.
Colin had become the “patriarch” of our Brothers in the Solomons, being wise and faithful, though a little too fond of bettlenut. Many people sought his advice and encouragement. Having an infectious sense of humour he could tell many good stories and was a gentle mimic. He played the guitar and had a good bass voice. He was a reader but often admitting that “this book is too big for my head”. His sermons were powerfully delivered. He hated nonsense and pretence. And having a keen understanding of justice he founded and managed a school for girls at Fouala-a whom he felt were deprived of educational opportunities compared with boys. This was his main work in the second half of his Franciscan life. He was ordained priest at a late age at the hands of the then Bishop of Malaita.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.