Redemptorist Brother Casimir Godebye (1922-2006), whose artistic talents contributed to the work of attracting many to the faith in Singapore, died on Aug 25, aged 84.
BROTHER CASIMIR GODEBYE died at Mount Alvernia Hospital on Aug 25, 2006. He arrived in Singapore in July 1956 together with Father Herbert Myers, from Australia. He studied art and music before joining the Redemptorists in 1940.
In Singapore, Brother Casimir's artistic talents contributed to the work of attracting many to the faith. He first mooted the idea in 1959 to erect the floral wall for the annual procession in honour of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The late Father Dobson remarked that it was Brother Casimir's artistic creativity which attracted many people to know and love our Blessed Mother.
In the 1960s Brother Casimir took over the choir and started a youth group called "The Primitives". They gathered each Saturday evening to clean the church after the last Novena session, and had fellowship and sing-along sessions. He also started a band called "The Glass Unions". He used to say that we need music to attract and hold the young people to religion.
Surprisingly, in the mid 1970s Brother Casimir left behind the world of bands, choir and pop music and went to live in an ashram (an Indian religious retreat) in India. There he lived as a hermit in complete silence and prayer and learnt Christian meditation under the auspices of Father Bede Griffith, OSB.
On his return to Singapore, Brother Casimir with the permission of Archbishop Emeritus Gregory Yong, established the "Trinity House of Prayer" at the former St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary where he conducted classes on meditation. In the 1990s, Brother Casimir, health failing, returned to the Novena Church and eventually spent his last years at St. Theresa's Home.
Brother Casimir will always be remembered by his confreres and his many friends in Singapore as a colourful character who enjoyed life to the full.
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Redemptorist Father Gerald Joyce (1915-2006), whose kindness and goodness endeared him to countless number of people in Singapore, died on Aug 31, aged 91.
FATHER GERALD JOYCE died of old age in a nursing home in Melbourne. He spent many years in Singapore but returned to Australia in 1987 and spent his last years in Kew, Melbourne. Father Joyce was born in Warnambol, Victoria, Australia in 1915. He took his vows as a Redemptorist in 1935 and was ordained a priest in 1940.
He came to Singapore, then a British colony in 1946. At that time, the Redemptorists were temporarily residing at what is now the Europa club. Three years later, the Redemptorists moved into their present residence at 300 Thomson Road.
During his years in Singapore, Father Joyce laboured tirelessly and zealously, conducting parish and school missions and the Novena devotions, besides being spiritual director of the Legion of Mary. From his base in Singapore, he moved around this region to conduct parish missions in Malaya, Burma, Sri Lanka and India.
He was rector of the Novena Church from 1951 to 1957. During his two terms as rector he extended the Novena Church and added the choir loft. In 1957, he returned to Australia and was appointed Rector of the Redemptorist Studentate House in Ballarat. In 1962, he was appointed Provincial of the Australian Province, a post he held for three consecutive terms.
He returned to Singapore in 1973 and resumed his pastoral care of the people here with characteristic zeal and love. In 1987, he returned to Australia and spent his last years in Kew, Melbourne.
(Articles contributed by Father Paul Pang C.Ss.R. and Brother Bernard Heaney C.Ss.R.)