Andrew Kerins, known as Brother Walfrid, was an Irish Marist Brother

Life

18 May 1940: Born Andrew Kerins in Ballymote (pop. 1,539), County Sligo, to father John and mother Elizabeth.

1845-1851: Irish Famine ravages Ireland. Sligo one of the worst regions hit.

A starving Irish family from Carraroe, County Galway, during the Great Famine.

1855: Aged 15 leaves Ireland with his friend, Bert McGettrick, for Glasgow in search of work on the railways.

Irish “navvies” at work building Britain’s railways.

1864: Joins Marist Brothers and travels to France for teacher training. Named Brother Walfrid.

1869: Returns to Glasgow and is attached to the junior school of St. Mary’s Church, Calton (in Glasgow’s East End). Starts football league and establishes literary society at the school.

1874: Assigned own school, becoming headmaster of Sacred Heart School in Glasgow’s Bridgeton. Sets up “penny dinner” scheme in the school.

Children in Glasgow queueing for Brother Walfrid’s “penny dinner” scheme.

5 January 1875: St. Joseph’s College was founded as a boarding school for boys in 1875, by the Marist Brothers. Walfrid is one of the founders.

6 November 1887: Sets up Celtic to “Supply the East End conferences of the St. Vincent De Paul Society with funds for the maintenance of the “Dinner Tables” of our needy children in the Missions of St Mary’s, Sacred Heart, and St. Michael’s. Many cases of sheer poverty are left unaided through lack of means. It is therefore with this principle object that we have set afloat the Celtic’.” Founding meeting takes place in St. Mary’s Church hall, in Calton.

1892: Walfrid was asked to take over the Marist school of St Anne’s in Buxton Street in Spitalfields.

1892-1902: Moves to Spitalfields in the Whitechapel area of London. Sets up local boys’ club and scheme to provide free breakfasts to the young and elderly. 

1902 onwards: Oversees move of Marist Brothers’ Novitiate House from Beauchamps (France) to Kent.

1912: After ill health, Brother Walfrid moves to the Marist Brothers’ home next to Dumfries’s St. Joseph’s College. To see out his days.

St. Joseph’s College, Dumfries, which Brother Walfrid helped to found.

17 April 1915: Brother Walfrid passes away.

Brother Walfrid’s grave and memorial in Mount St. Michael Chapel, St. Joseph’s College, Dumfries.

For more information about the life and times of Celtic founder Brother Walfrid read this excellent article.

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