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Bron
10 years ago

My Brother Finbar I had the pleasure of knowing Brother Finbar since I was in my very early teens; since we first met I have grown and know I am a better person because of him. I come from a stable and loving family (who are not catholic) who welcomed Brother Finbar into our everyday lives, it all started when my oldest Brother did a horse handling course at San Miguel with Brother Finbar some 25ish years ago, which allowed him to the confidence and knowledge to out go into the work force and forge lifelong friendships in the horse industry. Several years later due to illness I left high school early, however once well, i found myself uneducated and in need of employment due to the success of my sibling I was in enrolled in a business course through skill share that ran at san Miguel, I passed being the youngest to ever do the course, Shortly after this I found work. We as a family had always stayed in touch with him as the years went by, helping out at fates with pony rides, and stalls picking up or dropping off stuff and sometimes people over the years. later both my mother and I on separate occasions worked for Brother Finbar at San Miguel as a cook with some light cleaning duties in the communal brother’s house. In my late teens I rode a horse some 50kms just to see him camped the night then rode all the way home. He was more than my friend, to me he was my surrogate Grandfather a friendship was forged between me and him that would be strong and last to his death in 2010. He spoke on behalf of me and my family on wedding day he also knew and loved all three of my children, who all returned the same love and care embellished on them by him. I have also known and witnessed the wonderful changes he has had a hand in, over the years at San Miguel founded by him. I still to this day have some very strong friendships with ladies that have been through the crisis center, which gave them protection and in turn allowed them to live a happy life. Much later on, other family members of mine also worked at San Miguel. we all loved this man and classed him and San Miguel , as our extended family and home. I guess I really hope and pray! that people can see all the GOOD this man did, and not only the mistakes he made in his younger inexperienced life.

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Bron
10 years ago

I had the pleasure of knowing Brother Finbar since I was in my very early teens; since we first met I have grown and know I am a better person because of him. I come from a stable and loving family (who are not catholic) who welcomed Brother Finbar into our everyday lives, it all started when my oldest Brother did a horse handling course at San Miguel with Brother Finbar some 25ish years ago, which allowed him to the confidence and knowledge to out go into the work force and forge lifelong friendships in the horse industry. Several years later due to illness I left high school early, however once well, I found myself uneducated and in need of employment due to the success of my sibling I was in enrolled in a business course through skill share that ran at San Miguel, I passed being the youngest to ever do the course, Shortly after this I found work. We as a family had always stayed in touch with him as the years went by, helping out at fates with pony rides, and stalls picking up or dropping off stuff and sometimes people over the years. later both my mother and I on separate occasions worked for Brother Finbar at San Miguel as a cook with some light cleaning duties in the communal brother’s house. In my late teens I rode a horse some 50kms just to see him camped the night then rode all the way home. He was more than my friend, to me he was my surrogate Grandfather a friendship was forged between me and him that would be strong and last to his death in 2010. He spoke on behalf of me and my family on wedding day he also knew and loved all three of my children, who all returned the same love and care embellished on them by him. I have also known and witnessed the wonderful changes he has had a hand in, over the years at San Miguel founded by him. I still to this day have some very strong friendships with ladies that have been through the crisis center, which gave them protection and in turn allowed them to live a happy life. Much later on, other family members of mine also worked at San Miguel. we all loved this man and classed him and San Miguel , as our extended family and home. I guess I really hope and pray! that people can see all the GOOD this man did, and not only the mistakes he made in his younger inexperienced life.

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Alison Letting
10 years ago

I knew Brother Finbar (Richard Kelly) for the last 25 years of his life, I am not a Catholic but I first came into contact with him because of his work at San Miguel Crisis Centre, he ran courses for CentreLink and my eldest son completed a farm course. At a later stage my daughter also completed a business course, later again my younger son became the head groundsman at the centre. I spent some time working for the brothers and got to really know Finbar, he was the most caring and compassionate man I have ever known. His concern for the unlovely and unloved and damaged people of this world was increadable, so many girls and some men who were abused that came through San Miguel could attest to this. they came for all walks of life but were all in very difficult situations and in need of shelter and protection which he provided. To see finbar trailing a bunch of children down to the zoo (animal enclosure) to feed the various beasties he had collected (he was a great believer of the healing power in animal therapy) was a sight to behold and he often took the children on his horse round the grounds, the beaming faces told story. I don't know the history of his early life, but I do know that the lessons he learnt made him the man I knew. Attitudes to disiciplin 30-40 years ago were vastly different than today I feel great empathy for those who have suffered in the past from physical punishment in schools, I agree that it was overly harsh. However I would like to say that whatever mistakes Brother Finbar may have made in his past, the man I knew was so very much different to the one described in some of these memories. He obviously changed drastically. The man I knew was one of the most gentle and sensitive I have ever met. I know it is hard for folk that are hurting so badly from past injustices to forgive, I have been there and I know what I am talking about, there is a release in forgiveness, and the one that is freed by it, is us. ourselves

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Bron
10 years ago

I had the pleasure of knowing this man, Brother Richard Kelly (affectionately known as Dick by some) from 1988 to 2010 in this time all I ever saw was a wonderful compassionate and understanding man who did so much for anyone and every one he could. In the late 80's I did a skillshare office course at San Miguel (being the youngest Graduate ever to go through the course) My mother worked for him at San Miguel and when she could no longer do it I took over cooking and cleaning in the communal Brothers house, My oldest brother did a horse handling course with Bro Finbar some years before, it helped him to no end, including finding work and forging life long friendships in the industry. Brother Finbar gave me a chance to help other people working with him at San Miguel from walking around doing pony rides at fates to picking up families in need from train stations. He spoke for me at my wedding in 1994 as the long time loving Grandfather figure he had become to me. He gave me a horse many years later that I loved with all my heart as I did him. I hope and pray that people can see all the GOOD he did for so long....as well as the mistakes he may have made in his past (things were also done very differently back then) I can only give my account of the BEAUTIFUL WARM MAN I knew. I'm so very glad I had the chance to know and love this man, as did my 3 kids. I still miss him greatly. xxx Bron

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Bron
10 years ago

I had the pleasure of knowing this man, Brother Richard Kelly (affectionately known as Dick by some) from 1988 to 2010 in this time all I ever saw was a wonderful compassionate and understanding man who did so much for anyone and every one he could. In the late 80's I did a skillshare office course at San Miguel (being the youngest Graduate ever to go through the course) My mother worked for him at San Miguel and when she could no longer do it I took over cooking and cleaning in the communal Brothers house, My oldest brother did a horse handling course with Bro Finbar some years before, it helped him to no end, including finding work and forging life long friendships in the industry. Brother Finbar gave me a chance to help other people working with him at San Miguel from walking around doing pony rides at fates to picking up families in need from train stations. He spoke for me at my wedding in 1994 as the long time loving Grandfather figure he had become to me. He gave me a horse many years later that I loved with all my heart as I did him. I hope and pray that people can see all the GOOD he did for so long....as well as the mistakes he may have made in his past (things were also done very differently back then) I can only give my account of the BEAUTIFUL WARM MAN I knew. I'm so very glad I had the chance to know and love this man, as did my 3 kids. I still miss him greatly. xxx Bron

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Michael
10 years ago

I agree with Richard Hall. Finbar was a vicious sadistic brute. He beat me many times for no good reason. Once it was because I was laughing with a friend in the corridor between lessons. He said I was being frivolous. We were all terrified of him and most of the other brothers. Only one never beat us. I was at St Michaels for 6 years and lived in fear every day. We were beaten regularly with heavy leather straps, made from a number of layers of stiff leather stitched together, which we call the lash. We were beaten for getting a word wrong in our Latin or French vocabs and so on. Finbar used to peer in the back window during other brothers' lessons and call any boy out who was looking around or whispering to a friend and beat them. I was never sexually abused. My mother was often working in the tuck shop. I asked her before she died how she felt about it. She said that the mothers could hear the beating and crying from the tuck shop, but thought it was the same in all schools and were themselves too terrified to say anything about it. She told me how sorry she was and apologized to me.

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Richard Hall
10 years ago

I just watched 60 minutes and it set off memories I try to forget. Finbar was a violent vicious and evil child abuser. I was lucky not to be sexually abused but he took great pleasure in using his two foot thick leather strap to flog my hands until they bled. I was age 9 & 10. My crime was kicking the footy with my Father and Uncles near the oval on a Sunday wearing my uniform. I and many of my friends were beaten by this bastard more times than I want to remembers for the most trivial of things. When I saw his photo on 60 minutes I recognized him at once. No normal person with empathy and compassion beats small children for any reason. Only an evil and twisted monster hiding behind his cloak with his huge crucifix would enjoy such pain inflicting. If there is a God he is surely making Finbar suffer for his sins!

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Chris
10 years ago

I too saw 60mins and was shocked and astounded that the Brother Finbar that I came to know and love so dearly did this to you. I first met Brother Finbar in the San Miguel family refugee in 1990 with my 3 sons where he protected me and my family from the abusive relationship that I had come from. This may be of no comfort to you and I can only empathise and tell you I understand but if he was this horrible man as you describe and I have no reason to doubt your word but it certainly was not my experience. When I left the refugee I kept in touch right up to 6mths prior to his passing as no one would let me know where he was so I have only realised his passing by seeing the program and my father just recently passed in Sutherland Hospital also. Brother Finbar was nothing short of generous, loving, caring and its a shame he is not with us any more to defend himself, personally I find it hard to come to terms with what has been alleged however you cannot watch the documentary without a tear to ones eye and know deep down these men are telling the truth you just know as a survivor of all forms of abuse myself its so hard to believe and I am so sorry for your nightmares of horror but if its any comfort at all he was not the man he was back then if he was that way. Somewhere somehow he changed it all around to give meaning to his life by doing kind and generous things to so many others not the things that have been alleged. God Bless you Richard try to forgive, you will never forget I don't either but try to forgive those who have wronged us and your life will be so much more fulfilled my thoughts and prayers are with you Chris

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