Bro. Anthony Knoll - Down the Memory Lane – Lasallians Remembered

Bro. Knoll, Anthony

Date of Birth: 28th October 1916 Years of service in LS: 9 Period of Service: 1956 – 1975 Subjects taught / role: Spiritual Director of a Legion of Mary Prasidium Date of Death: 28th July 1981


Brother Anthony Knoll was born in Toronto on 28th October 1916. He received his elementary education at St. Helen’s School in Toronto where he had his first contact with the Christian Brothers. He was deeply influenced by a Brother Clement. Eventually he decided to join the Order. In October 1938, he arrived in Singapore with three other Brothers. He was posted to St. Joseph’s Institution. During the Japanese invasion, he was imprisoned in Changi Prison and later in Sime Road Camp. In prison, he took care of the sick and the old. After liberation, he became the Director of St. Joseph’s Institution, Singapore. In 1953, Brother Anthony became the Director of St. Xavier’s Institution, Penang. In short, he rebuilt these two schools, which were ruined by the war. His hard work cost him ill health and he was advised to take leave. He spent a year of rest and treatment in Canada. In late July 1956, he was posted to La Salle College, Perth Street campus. For the next twenty-five years, he served in Hong Kong, by preference as a simple teacher. He was always concerned about the spiritual development of students and recruited boys for Rosary Crusade. Brother Anthony was a devoted spiritual director of the Legion of Mary in La Salle College. In 1972, Brother Paul Sun, superior-general in exile of the Sacred Heart Brothers in Mainland China, invited Brother Anthony to help out as Vice-principal of St. Joseph’s Anglo-Chinese School. Brother Anthony could not disappoint his dear friend, although it meant that he had to live outside La Salle College. He faced this challenge with full perseverance. In May 1975, he reached a stage of physical and emotional collapse and was brought back to La Salle College. He was later sent to Canada for rest and treatment. He returned to La Salle College and served in the library. Once or twice he collapsed in the library but he always returned with minimum delay. On 28th July 1981, he was up with other Christian Brothers and said the Morning Office (prayer). He placed his host in the communion plate and left the chapel for his room. After breakfast, he was found dead fully dressed in his white robe. ___________________________________________ The following information was obtained from the HK Catholic Archives: On Tuesday morning, 28 July 1981, Brother Anthony left the Oratory in La Salle College evidently feeling unwell. Shortly afterwards another member of his community, feeling concerned about him went to his room and found him dead in his bed. Thus suddenly came to a close the life of one beloved both by his confreres and by his pupils. He died at the age of 64. Brother Anthony came from Canada to the mission-fields in 1938. His first appointment as a teacher was to St. Joseph’s College in Singapore. Here he became a very able teacher, very thorough in method and very devoted to his pupils, who liked his kindly ways. Came the Second World War. The Japanese invaded Malaya and advancing southward very soon besieged Singapore. The city fell and Brother Anthony, while sleeping in a corridor, contracted a severe cold. In that condition he was taken away by the enemy for internment in Chanji Gaol on the island. There with a few more Brothers he undertook the task of teaching the imprisoned children as well as attending to the sick. After the capitulation of the Japanese Brother Anthony was repatriated to Canada to recuperate. Then he returned to Singapore and resumed his professional duties this time in St. Anthony’s School close to his former school. Not long after that he was appointed Director of St. Joseph’s Community and school. During his term of office he endeared himself to all, both staff and community, by his refined and kindly ways. His was never the harsh word to utter. From this community he was transferred to St. Xavier’s College in Penang as Director. Here his health began to deteriorate rapidly. Though suffering much he bore his infirmities with heroic, Christian fortitude, never losing his equanimity. Once more he was advised to take a holiday home with the hope of a restoration of health but this was not to be. He returned to the Far East as a member of the La Salle Community in Kowloon. Here he laboured assiduously in the classroom until his retirement in 1977. It has been said of him that he always preferred to teach the backward or retarded pupils and in this he was very successful. After his retirement he assumed the office of School Librarian which office he held until the morning when Divine Providence chose to call him to his eternal reward.

Contributed by: L.K. Wong         2007-10-19 16:49:07
Description: Bro Anthony came to LaSalle, Kowloon as master of our Form 2 class and remained with us in Form 3. We knew him to be warm and caring right from the start through a serious accident Chris Wong had early in the school term. He made frequent visits to Chris during the recuperation and though he never mentioned it to us, we felt he was caring for us all. Bro Anthony always came into class well-prepared and gave his lessons slowly and clearly, whatever the subject. He was especially nice to the slower students. I remember one hasty homework I handed in and was afraid he would really get mad, but he looked at it, trying hard to find some merit, and…at last, said softly, “Not famous!” Bro Felix was our Principal at the time and he was a pretty strict master. He had great regard for Bro Anthony and so we in turn were spared some of his sharp remarks. He came in to give out the term reports one day and looking at Wong Cheung Fat’s grades almost blew his top. But he got hold of himself, turned to Bro Anthony, smiled and then threw the Report Card toward Cheung Fat. And the guy picked up the Report, stuck it in his back pocket and sauntered back to his seat. Bro Anthony was a humble gentle spiritual person. He would lead us in morning prayer and then give a short chat on a Christian topic. I was baptised during that period, as were some of my other close friends, among them Wong Hon Fai, who passed away a couple of years ago in Vancouver. The last time I met Bro Anthony was at the Hong kong airport. He had serious eye trouble then and was on his way to Canada for some rest. Since then, he had of course returned to many more years of devoted service to his adoped country and people.
Contributed by: sk chow (72)         2006-07-05 18:36:43
Description: The Birth Year is probably incorrect, given that Bro Anthony started his missionary work in 1938. And by golly, we haven’t had a 3rd World War yet. Two was bad enough! (3rd paragraph) Editor postscript (27 July 2006): Thank you, SK Chow, for pointing out the possible mistakes. The text has been updated with available / rechecked information. 29 Nov 2006: The blatant error of “3rd world war” has also been corrected.
Contributed by: Ng Soon Hong of St. Xavier’s Institution, Peneng         2005-03-23 11:19:33
Description: Brother Anthony was the Brother Director of St. Xavier’s Institution, Penang at the time when I was privileged to be admitted as a Form 1 student in 1954. The new SXI building which had been under construction for some years was completed and the whole school moved into it from the attap shed classrooms across the street. This was April, 1954. I remember Brother Anthony as a genteel, soft spoken person with fairly thick eye glasses, his hand invariably shaking as he smoked cigarettes to calm his nerves, I was told. This infirmity was the result of the days he spent in the Changi Gaol, Singapore, imprisoned by the Japanese. My memorable experience with him was during the ceremony whence the whole school assembled at the school hall waiting for the mid-term examination results to be announced. I was in Form 1C and my results excelled over all the top boys of the Form 1 classes. Bro. Anthony then turned to Brother Irenus Joseph Yeoh (deceased) on stage and asked why I was put in the C Class with such good results and directed that I be transferred to the “A” Class straightway. It was a priceless moment of encounter with Brother Anthony Knoll.
Categories: Brothers, Deceased, Teachers