His gift was a fearless spark of hope that grew into a raging flame that was to cleanse the nation.
A Eulogy by Br. Ricky Laguda FSC
Br. Roly was a larger-than-life figure, a towering figure in the lives of his many peers, educators, students, benefactors and alumni during his 50 years as a De La Salle Brother, advising, mentoring, seducing and reminding us of the impossibly high standards to which we were being held. He expected greatness; he demanded excellence that knows no limits. For some of us, mediocre efforts can get us through school and in life, yet for Br. Roly mediocrity is not acceptable and had never been part of his vocabulary.
Patience wasn't one of his virtues. But that did not diminish in any way his contributions in the Lasallian Mission and nation building. He was stubborn and persistent to a fault when it comes to having a vision of what is good and what is right for our country. He was passionate about many things and he was a a man full of energy up to the last breath. When we were in St. Luke’s and having a conversation with Tita Paching and Chary concerning his transfer to Dasmariñas, he told us, “Once I’m in Dasma, I want to teach and give lectures, I want to do some kind of ministry like visiting the sick and the elderly, I want to counsel teachers and students who may need guidance...” It was a long list of what he would have done...while in the hospital and even while in bed! I can imagine Br. Roly walking to the gates of heaven telling St. Peter what he will do while in heaven.
The lesson was clear to me: He insisted on holding himself to a higher standard of excellence– excellence with a soul that knows no limits. A former brother even wrote– he led with his heart and with a passion. Being with Br. Roly was a place of energy and excitement. It wasn't good enough to be the best in your field. You had to create a space where excellence is not defined by rules nor standards but one’s soul and spirit and, in so doing, change the way everyone else understood the world.
For him excellence is like a work of art... he lived his life full of color, but we know he is green to the core throughout his life. He was able to paint a vision of how society should be and what the role of education should be...this he did by inspiring many educators and students as well as professionals in other fields to seek excellence with a soul that knows no limits . There was no doubt in anybody’s mind how Roly would time and time again shape and combine a pool of talents to demonstrate what excellence is in sports, music, academics, arts, and projects in the pursuit of truth, social justice, and good governance.
As a Brother, I am fortunate enough to have met Br. Roly. He taught me in more ways than one that one’s vocation is not just about goodness but to test the limits of the human soul to excel in any endeavor as if there are no limits. Even in death, Br. Roly was true to form. When everybody wanted him dead— dead by texting... he would hold himself to a higher standard... he viewed cancer as a way toward excellence with a soul– if the Greek philosophers defined excellence as a virtue, Br. Roly went beyond being a person of virtue,
Br. Roly is Br. Roly— a person whose soul had soared the height, depth and breadth of excellence that knows no limits, except being in God’s loving hands. That he did. Nobody did it more often than Br. Roly. Nobody did it better.
Br. Roly is Br. Roly— a person whose soul had soared the height, depth and breadth of excellence that knows no limits, except being in God’s loving hands.
While Br. Roly’s voice has been stilled, his ideas and dreams, his brand of excellence with a soul that has no limits live on through the work and life of the many educators, alumni, students and members of the Lasallian Family and beyond whose hearts he touched. We are all better for having known him, and we thank his family and his nephews and nieces, and grand nephews and grand nieces for sharing him with us. We want to thank all Lasallians, organizations he has been involved with (there are so many that it will take make me another 7-10 minutes just to mention them - my apologies if I will not mention them), the alumni and friends, doctors and nurses, whose prayers and support were overwhelming in the past 10 years when he was first diagnosed with cancer and we can never thank you enough.
If we wish to honor him, continue his legacy of excellence with a soul that knows no limits. Br. Roly, we, especially the Brothers, salute you. Inspired by your example, we will work, as you did, to break through barriers and achieve ever greater goals for the Lasallian Mission and our country. In this way, we will always commemorate you and the incredible contributions you made during your life. If there would be streets in heaven, he would rally the angels, saints, apostles and even Jesus, he would be at the frontline, to intercede on our behalf. Br. Roly may you intercede for our intentions. Br. Roly Rest in peace, my dear Brother. You will be terribly missed but you have left us so much with your love and vision. Live, Jesus, in our hearts— forever.
Republished from the Philippine Lasallian FaMiLi (Volume 14, Issue 1, October 2012)