2019-08-07 SOUTH AFRICA

Laurence Morrison

Brother Laurence Morrison (Robert James Morrison) passed away suddenly in Cape Town on Friday 25 September 2015.

That morning, Laurence, a man of regular habits, did not appear for community prayer and breakfast. His confrère, Br Emmanuel Mwanalirenji found him in his room unable to get up from bed. He then helped Laurence to get dressed and put on the elasticized stockings that alleviated the discomfort caused by varicose veins.

Emmanuel drove Laurence to see his regular GP at the Kingsbury Hospital, an appointment having been made for 10.00 a.m. However, only the locum was present at the time. Laurence insisted on waiting for his own doctor who eventually came and saw him. On leaving the surgery, Laurence suddenly collapsed to the ground, and was immediately taken to the ICU for observation. A heart condition was suspected. At about 4.00 p.m. the hospital called to say that Laurence had passed away. He is survived by his sister, Maureen.

The funeral will take place in the School Chapel at St Joseph’s Marist College, Rondebosch, Cape Town on Thursday 1 October at 11.00 a.m.

Robert James Morrison was born in Johannesburg in 1934, and grew up in Yeoville which at that time was a popular middle class suburb only 5 km from the CBD. When he was a child, the family spent some time in Ireland where he attended a school run by the De La Salle Brothers. The family returned to South Africa. A comfortable walk away from their home, lay Sacred Heart College, a Marist school in the suburb of Observatory. It was there that he did his secondary schooling and felt the call to join the Marist Brothers.

He was accepted for the formation program, which at that time was located in Mittagong, NSW, Australia. He spent two years in the Juniorate there, before moving to the novitiate (for 18 months) where he made his first vows on 2nd July 1954. His subsequent appointments are outlined elsewhere.

In over 61 years of religious life, he was faithful to prayer and to the Eucharist and to presence in the community. In his apostolate as a Christian educator, he prepared his lessons diligently, and marked assignments in as short a time as possible so that students could learn by correcting their mistakes. In the other major services that Province asked of him – e.g. school principal, recruiter, bursar – he would put his shoulder to the wheel and “get on with the job”, unruffled by disappointments and “crises”. In the wider Catholic community, he was well-known and respected for his generous collaboration in matters religious, administrative and educational. A stranger would find in him a welcome, a willingness to help, and a gentleman.

May his soul rest in peace. Amen.



After his novitiate, Laurence taught at two Marist schools in Australia before returning to South Africa. The CV below, neatly written in his own hand, covers the period up to the creation of the Province of Southern Africa in April 1999. From then on up to his death, he continued to reside in Rondebosch as superior (except for three years) and bursar of the house, while helping to administer the funds of the Brothers in the South African sector.


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