Boys of St. Benedict’s young and old,
High be your aim in life’s onward view !
Leal and devoted be to the fold,
With rever’nce meet to your shepherds true!
For Christ and Church, united we stand.
E’er loyal and staunch, or win we, or fall !
The truth to sow broadcast o’ er the land,
Promptly to rally at duty’s call!
True to our God and true to all men,
Follow we ever life’s holy plan!
Doing the duty that is to do
Bearing the cross with the crown in view.
Though the College itself is a 140 years old, the Anthem dates back to just 90 years when Bro. Cyprian was Director. Written by Proctor Mr. C.E.M. Jayawardene, who later became a district judge, the song was set to music by S. Norbert Rodrigo, at the time a teenager in the middle forms.
Hailing from a brilliant musical family (his father Mr William Rodrigo was bandmaster of the Ceylon Volunteer Force) it was a casual announcement by Bro. Lewis, the College Choir Master, that a competition would be help to select a suitable musical composition for the Song that prompted young Norbert to submit his entry, putting himself against such musical giants of his time as bandmaster Adams of the Ceylon Police Force, Bro. Edwin and his own father.
At the final judging, everybody was taken aback when Norbert’s composition was adjudged the best. Here was a lad whose knowledge of music did not go beyond the Smallwood’s Piano Tutor. Here was a mere bugler in the College Band putting top grade bandmasters in the shade.
The College Anthem is in two movements, the Verse in Common Time and the Chorus in Sixth-eight. With its marching lilt and the immortal words of Religion, Character, Culture and Patriotism contained in it, it easily surpasses any of its kind in the Island. This is not an idle boast, but the opinion of many a connoisseur of music who has listened to the Anthem being sung or played.
Young Norbert’s success in beating his teachers at their own game did not go unrecognised. It was a proud day for Norbert when Bro.Cyprian, the Director, awarded him a bronze medal.
…His success at school only proved to be precursor of brilliant events in later years.
With an A.C.V.M. (London) qualification, Norbert Rodrigo emerged as an all-rounder. He was a pianist, organist, Choirmaster, Bandmaster, violinist and above all a vocalist.
Teenager set College Anthem to music by K.S.PERERA
(First published in BENRECORDER)
After consultation with a few senior Old Bens in Sydney and another source in Colombo, DOUGLAS JONES has drawn a personal view of the College crest.
While it is difficult to place a date of origin of the College Crest, the designer is also unknown at this time. However, it is a unique piece of design and carries profound meaning.
The crest consists of a shield depicting two prostrate elephants elevating a Cross in the clasp of their trunks. The elephants are a native symbol Sri Lanka, also a symbol of strength. It also signifies nature’s veneration of the Creator.
The Cross is a synergy of all the virtues sought after by humanity. And Religion, Christianity – the primary thrust of the motto.
Over the Cross hangs a Star – showing the ‘onward view’, the upward path to look up to, the aim, the reachable goal.
To the left, between the star and the Cross is a mountain peak – again pointing towards the pinnacle of achievement, the high ideals to strive for.
To the right is a tree – for culture, respect for nature, the environment, the world we live in, the ethos of loving our neighbour in the natural order of things.
All of this is set in the embrace of two curling ribbons. The ribbon above the shield bears the College motto Religio, Mores, Cultura and the ribbon below carries the College name and the letters F.S.C. which is the Latin abbreviation for Brothers of the Christian Schools – Frater Scholaticum Christianorum.
A perfect unity, drawing Benedictines to the pinnacle of spiritual and human endeavour.
How the College flag came to Green and White
(Published in the Sydney Bens Dance Souvenir 1998)
The late Aloy Mallawaaratchy (father of Old Bens Ratna, Upali and Gamini) was the author of this item on the evolution of the College flag).
From the time I joined St Benedict’s College in 1919 up to 1922, the colours of the College flag were Blue, Gold and Black. But Bro.Wulton James, the new Irish Director, said a college must have two colours and not three. So he changed the College colours to Green and Sky Blue – green, the Irish colour and sky blue for hope. That’s what the Director said.
The sky blue was so faint that it looked like white. By the time I left College in 1927, the flag had in fact become Green and White.
ADDENDA: The Flag evolved even further to Green, White and Green and more recently, the College crest in green is given prominence on the center of the White band of the flag.