Monday, December 04, 2006

St. Joseph's Novitiate

After all the doom and gloom I've posted so far, about body snatchers, an index of forbidden books, censorship of the internet, cemetery desecrations, mob violence and converts getting the run around, I thought I'd post some good news for a change.

Just kidding. More gloomy news ahead. =)

This time, its about the St. Joseph's Novitiate. This building lies about 100 meters from my parish church and was the La Salle brother's teacher training college.

But now, its been bought up by a developer and is slated for demolition.

Here are some photos of this magnificent building, truly a heritage masterpiece. I'm always amazed that our forefathers, even with the little they had and considering the state of technology at the time, could build such beautiful monuments of faith. While we, with all the resources at our disposal could only come up with modernist crap that will go out of style in 5 years. What a pity.

Anyway. The place is current surrounded by high rises that dwarf it. These high rises were built on land that was formerly the College General Major Seminary. But falling enrollment and new seminaries serving the neighbouring countries such as Burma, Thailand and Singapore have forced the seminary to move to smaller premises in Tanjung Bunga.

For a while, it was rented by the Uplands International School as their campus but they have since moved and the Christian Brothers have sold the land which faces the sea front.

The Malaysian National Shrine of the Boy Jesus is located inside the grounds. Its not been used for years.

Here's a pic of the Chapel, located on the second floor. It served as the Upland Library when the school was here.
A view of the interior of the Chapel. The dim light pierced by the stained glass windows gives the place a sense of sacredness.The old high altar is still in tact. The statues of Mary and Joseph are in the left and right niches.
The High Altar.
The main stained glass panel showing the birth of the Christ Child in the manger.The 4 stained glass panels in the apse.

The statue of Mary.

St Joseph.

Here's what the Asia Explorers site has to say:

The St Joseph's Novitiate building stands on grounds bordered to the north by Gurney Drive and south by Kelawai Road. Previously, it was part of the St Joseph's Training College that stood next to the original College General complex. (The College General moved to its present site on Mount Miriam in 1984; its former site on Gurney Drive is now occupied by Gurney Plaza.)

The College General as well as the St Joseph's Training College are seminaries founded by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (a.k.a. the Christian Brothers, the Lasallian Brothers, the French Christian Brothers, or the De La Salle Brothers), a Roman Catholic religious teaching order that pioneered education of the masses in Malaya as well as elsewhere in the world.

The site at Pulau Tikus area which came to be associated with the order was acquired by the De La Salle Brothers in 1916 for a novitiate - quarters for novices - and a training college. The St Joseph's Training College buildings originally directly faced the sea along North Beach as Gurney Drive did not exist yet. St Joseph's functioned as a teacher's training college for those who wished to teach in the missionary schools set up by the La Salle Brothers. (Among the schools are the St Xavier's Institution and Convent Light Street in Penang, St Michael's Institution in Ipoh and St Joseph's Institution in Singapore.)

The St Joseph's Novitiate building is a two-storey structure that was added in 1925. A chapel occupies the upper floor. It has lovely stained-glass windows, and the statue of Mary trampling a serpent. On the outer wall facing Gurney Drive is the inscription in Latin, ANNO SANCTO MCMXXV, meaning Holy Year 1925, the year it was completed.

After the De La Salle Brothers vacated the Gurney Drive premises in the early 1980s, the site was taken over by the International School of Penang (Uplands). In December 2004, Hunza Properties (Penang) Sdn Bhd bought this parcel of land for RM97.86mil from the De La Salle Brothers, with the intention of putting up high rise retail and residential units on it. In the middle of 2006, the international school - which had only been leasing the land and the St. Joseph's Novitiate building, as opposed to having purchased it outright - moved out of the area and relocated to Batu Ferringhi.

All the photos above are copyrighted by Asia Explorers.



M@rK said...

what about thos photos which i took and never got burned into a cd and is probably still in your comp at work??

Andrew said...

Burn into CD already. But your parent are not expected to send you anything soon right?

Anyway, I did look through them yesterday and I did not find any photos that I could use.

BTW, the roundels have mosaics inlaid izzit?

Could not get a clear look.

And what happened to the statues?

Fr. Mark is interested to claim the stained glass. Will probably drop by this weekend and sneak around to see what we can do.

M@rK said...

you will not be able to get the stained glass as they have to stay there...but you can take what you can physically move... like the statues if they are still there....hehe...

Andrew said...

We'll bring a truck.

MP said...

Hi brother, belated Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2 u. I have a question here, what exactly happen to the statue of Virgin Mary & St Joseph cuddling infant Jesus at the former chapel of St Joseph Novitiate? I sort of went 'touring' the place, St Jo's(former St Joseph Novitiate) even manage to discover the former chapel with the altar still there, of course without the Blessed Sacrament and both the statues were also not there anymore as contrast to what I've seen in photos in the website. Are the statues or other removable items at for instance in the museum of the present College General Tanjung Bunga or somewhere else still in good condition without any desecreation?

Andrew said...

Sorry, I have no idea what happened to them. Although I suspect that, like the crucifix of the chapel which now rests in the Chapel of St. Xavier's Institution, it was moved before the place was sold. We can only hope.