After more than 65 years of existence, things that surround us begin to be taken for granted and much that it is to be remembered is quietly forgotten. Such could be the case with the beautiful Chapel of St. Francis Institution, Malacca with its outstanding architecture and the inestimable work of art of its stained glass windows. We feel it appropriate its treasure of art and architecture that exists in our midst should be remembered.
In 1937, Brother Vernier Augustus negotiated for the construction of the chapel. The contract price was approximately $40,000. At the end of February 1937, the Malacca Council approved the plans and work began. P.L.M. Nathan was the official architect but much of the planning was done by Brother Augustus himself, a qualified architect.
The five stained glass windows behind the altar and the altar itself were not included in the contract. Negotiations for the windows begun on the 22nd February 1937. The total price was set a little over 9,000 Belgian Francs. The first consignment arrived in crumbs and the second apparently never arrived. The final consignment arrived safely.
After the Japanese Occupation, Brother Augustus saw an opportunity to fulfill his dream of filling the Ogives (pointed windows) at the sides of the chapel with appropriate stained glass. The Brothers of the St. Luke School were very enthusiastic, particularly, Brother Urbain, Sub Director and also Mr. Cesar Vandehele who took up the challenge, promising nothing but the best for the Missions'. An agreement was reached for 14,000 Belgian Francs Per Window. It was also by the artist that a thorough study and execution of the fourteen windows would take ten months, this would mean raising approximately 10,000 Malaysian Dollars, no easy task after the war.
It was at this stage the two brothers of P.G. George Mathias Pamadasa offered to donate the entire cost and asked that the windows be a memorial to their brothers, an esteemed teacher in S.F.I. for many years, hanged by the Japanese.
And so it is, with all this in mind, that we produced this commemorative section, that Franciscans, young and old, may have their minds and hearts awakened to the heritage that is ours and those who have left us this heritage with so much labour and love may not be forgotten.