Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fr. Alfred Cogliandro, SDB

One of the buildings in Don Bosco Canlubang is named Cogliandro House.

It stands now as a hostel in the seminary complex which accommodates students and teachers alike who study/work in the high school and college departments located conveniently within the compound.

I think I was a budding first year seminarian back then, when we occupied the entire building for almost half a year due to the major face-lifting our dormitories had to undergo.

That time, all rooms were filled by seminarians except for a room located at the second floor on the right wing of the building.
That room was once occupied by Fr. Alfred Cogliandro, SDB, the first provincial and the fifth novice master of the Salesian Philippine provinces.

He occupied that room until his death exactly 15 years ago. Up to now, his things remained house there—his books, his clothes, his personal effects.

I first heard his name from the countless goodnight talks delivered by Fr. Chito. When Fr. Molina came, he also peppered us with a host of good things Fr. Cogliandro did (among others, I think he attributed this quote to Fr. Cogliandro: "Salesians don't get tired!")

My love for history and especially for the Salesians who serve as role models to the younger generation pushed me to know him, and love him despite the fact that I did not meet him in person.

The archives of the novitiate I ransacked in search of stuff about him. And I am glad to find the obituary letter written about him. He was most prepared to die; he was ready to meet his Creator.

For the next 100 years, I'm not sure if people would still remember him. But it's fine. He has served his purpose to inspire the present generation of Salesians. By then, I am optimistic that more Fr. Cogliandros will have been in our midst to become a concrete sign of God's love for the young and to serve as a shining example to the rest.

He is dead, but his words resound to me when we had our class this morning in Theology of religious Life. I read this line in the book he himself wrote when he was a novice master himself:

"All Christianity is a matter of learning how to die as to rise again. How can we bring to others a message of resurrection if we are not dead?"