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St. Ignatius College Preparatory, San Francisco
  • Rethinking Africa: The staff of the African Advocacy Network includes Joe Sciarrillo, pictured here with Jean Elias Xavier, Director Aboudou Traore, Charles Jackson and Clementine Ntshaykolo outside their office in the Dolores Street Community Services building. They help a growing number of African immigrants to the Bay Area who may number as many as 50,000.
  • Retiring Pillars: SI’s faculty surprised Fr. Sauer in May with applause and flowers after the announcement of his reassignment.
  • The SI boys’ lacrosse team enjoyed what may have been best year since its founding nearly a quarter century ago. The lacrosse press ranked the team among the top 15 in the nation as SI turned in another undefeated season in league play – its fourth undefeated season since it joined the WCAL in 2010.
  • Richard Driscoll ’06, a performance engineer for Oracle Team USA that will defend the America’s Cup in September, is among the few locals hunkering down in Pier 80 off Marin Street, where they work 65-hour weeks to make sure that Ellison’s boat sails twice as fast as the wind and maneuvers with precision and power as it takes on challengers from around the world.
  • Retiring Pillars: Since the 1970s, Mary McCarty made sure Latin was a living language for students in her classes.
  • Rethinking Africa: Ira Shaughnessy ’00 spent two years in Ghana from 2007 to 2009 working with the Bormase helping with the cultivation of the Moringa tree, whose leaves are rich in vitamins.

We Are SI

The Unseen Brother

Sam Bernstein '14
Associate Editor 

Ever wondered who the smiling man pushing the mail cart down the first-floor hallway is? If so, you’ve seen Brother Le, a fixture in the community for “about 155 years” as Mr. Guilbeaux jokingly puts it.

Brother Lee hasn’t always lived in our beautiful Bay Area; he was actually born in Singapore, where he lived until arriving alone in San Francisco at the age of 27. While at home he lived through Japan’s occupation of Singapore, which occurred during World War II. For those unfamiliar with it, the occupation lasted four years and claimed the lives of tens of thousands of ethnic Chinese. Br. Lee explained, “Everything was rationed. You could see the hardship there.” He then added, “Out of all that, I learned a lot: how to be patient, what fear is all about.”

Yet Br. Lee didn’t allow hardship take a toll on his love and appreciation of life. Before coming to San Francisco, Br. Lee was a Buddhist and Taoist, more out of his culture than anything; however, while taking evening classes at USF, he encountered the Jesuits for the first time. Inspired by role models such as Br. Ferril, he became Catholic in 1961 and joined the Jesuit Novitiate in 1966. He cited how “[The Jesuits] were so simple and kind to me,” adding, “That is not something common.”

In the years between his initiation into the Society of Jesus and time at SI, Br. Lee experienced one of the most defining moments in both his life and faith. “When I pray nothing bothers me,” Br. Lee says, and nothing characterizes that freedom more than his experience before a shrine of Our Lady of Fatima during a retreat in Los Altos. A moment of transcendence and peace enveloped him and affirmed his belief that “God id light.”

In 1967 Br. Lee first came to SI to work in the print shop. He explained “I accepted this role simply in obedience; I knew nothing about printing.” Yet Brother approached the job with his signature diligence. Since then he has occupied jobs in the bookstore, on the court as a tennis coach, and in the mail room. In addition to these responsibilities, Brother Lee visits Little Sisters of the Poor’s St. Anne’s Home to minister to the elderly.

Guilbeaux describes Br. Lee as “everything people love about SI— maintaining that tradition with care that is synonymous with St. Ignatius.” Brother exemplifies generosity of spirit through actions.

He led senior retreats with Fr. Allender ’62 and created the CLC, Christian Life Community. Few can claim the impact Br. Lee has made at SI over the last forty years.

Br. Lee still possesses a vibrant personality and lives a life full of joy and happiness. Times have changed as Brother can now laugh in delight at his access to modern luxuries such as his own computer and cell phone. He loves to read spiritual works, attend daily Mass, and, of course, continue to play tennis. He coached boys and girls tennis for nineteen years, and both the program and sport will always hold a special place in his heart. As Mr. Guilbeaux says, “I’m looking forward to challenging Brother Lee to a match in about fifteen years when I improve my skills.” And for some reason, I still think I’ll be putting my money on the wisdom, talent, and irrepressible smile of Brother Lee.


SI's beloved Brother Lee tirelessly works behind the scenes for the SI community.

 

Posted by on Saturday April 12, 2014
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