2019-08-07 SOUTH AFRICA

Anthony Vivian Bridge

Br Aidan Bridge (Anthony Vivian Bridge) passed away peacefully in Johannesburg on Friday 7 June 2013. Brother Aidan, the name by which he was best known, had been suffering double vision from early February and by mid-March started having difficulty walking. Before the end of the month he had to resort to the use of a stick. Following a visit to his doctor, he was referred to a neurosurgeon and underwent a brain scan which detected a tumour in the brain. Because the tumour was “deep seated” the neurosurgeon made it clear that it was too dangerous to even do an biopsy. Shortly afterwards, Aidan was hospitalised to check whether there were any other signs of cancer in his body. The results were negative and he was discharged from hospital on 9 May and transferred to the Frail Care Facility at Nazareth House in Johannesburg. He general condition deteriorated steadily over the next four weeks finally resulting in him going into a coma during the last week of his life. He died peacefully shortly after 17.30 on Friday 7 June.  The funeral is due to take place on Thursday 13 June at Sacred Heart College, Observatory, Johannesburg.

Brother Aidan was born on 22 October 1936 in Nelspruit, in the north-eastern part of South Africa, not far from the border of Mozambique. He was the eldest of five children of staunchly Catholic parents. The family moved to Johannesburg where he did his primary schooling. For his secondary schooling, he became a boarder at St Aidan’s Jesuit College in Grahamstown, 1000 km away to the south. After working for a year, he was admitted to the Marist postulancy and novitiate, which was then situated in Mittagong, NSW, Australia. He pronounced his first vows on 15 August 1956 and his final profession on 9 July 1961.  He obtained a BA degree spending the first two years of study at the scholasticate in Pietermaritzburg and the third year at the Juniorate in Hibberdene while also teaching.

Aidan was appointed to a number of places in South Africa: Port Elizabeth, Pietermaritzburg, and for four decades in Johannesburg at St David’s, Inanda, as teacher, boarding master and bursar.  While based in Johannesburg he was also recruiter (for a year). He served as provincial bursar for the former Province of South Africa for over twenty years, and for several more years in the new Province of Southern Africa, four years of which were at the provincial house in Harare.

He had a keen interest in the welfare of his students and was always available to help those in need.  He was an unseen hard worker whether in his office or doing the catering for boarders and communities. In 1985, the Brothers of his Province elected him as a delegate to the General Chapter. In an almost unbroken spell from 1986, he worked at two Catholic school schools in Soweto, commuting some 30 km each way from Johannesburg. He helped set up proper financial management, first in the secondary school, and later in the primary school. He made many friends there, both among school staff and the high school students.

A few remarks from a number of people include: [Brother Aidan] exuded great warmth to those around him; he could not do enough to make life easier for those in need; his simplicity was contagious; quiet strength; totally at ease with himself; strong commitment; gentle presence; really a Brother to many of us.

He will be missed by many people, among whom his surviving family members, his confreres, and friends. May he rest in peace.


Agustín Fernández Santos...


Rudolf Karbe...