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NABAWAN, Tambunan – The La Salle Alumni Association organised the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a museum in memory of the late La Salle Brother Peter Phelan on 31 Oct 2015 in conjunction with the silver jubilee of Asrama Butitin here.
Chairman of Asrama Butitin Board Johnny Kulai said he and Brother-in charge Joikul Egbertus Silverinus decided that a museum to remember Brother Phelan’s legacy would be the most fitting thing to do as the late brother was not only a respected teacher of thousands but also a prolific author on native culture, beliefs, adats, practices and customary laws, leaving behind volumes of high quality writings that ought to be preserved and made available to generations to come.
The groundbreaking ceremony was preceded by a Mass presided by Bishop Cornelius Piong. The ceremony was marked by placement of bricks on a concrete slab by the bishop, Br Charles O’Leary, Br Justin Mobilik, and other invited guests who were also ex-students. This was followed by presentation of cheques by Class 75 and Leslie Chan of the Sabah Tourist Guide Association, and of equipment by Class 73.
The Asrama Butitin was started by Br Phelan twenty-five years ago on a mission owned shack for twenty boarders before getting the current 80-capacity complex constructed on a two-acre land half a kilometre away from SMK Nabawan with the financial and professional help of an original core group of about twenty ex-students and well-wishers.
Born in 1933 in Ireland, Br Phelan came to teach in La Salle Secondary School Tg Aru in the 1970s. After completing his tenure as principal of SM St Martin in 1989, Br Phelan saw the need to build a hostel in Nabawan when he learnt that it would take a day’s journey by boat for rural children of Pensiangan if they wanted a secondary education.