Brother Cahill Gleisner celebrated 65 years of Religious Profession on 31st January 2016.
Br Cahill has spent most of his religious life in Sunbury. Fourteen years were spent at Salesian College Chadstone.
Br Cahill arrived at Rupertswood on 28th June 1948 and has experienced amazing changes that have swept through the College.
He saw the transition from a boy’s boarding school to a co-educational day school in 1992.
Brother Gleisner always wanted to become a Salesian Brother.
He joined the Salesians when he was eighteen after finishing school. That year there were twenty-five others from the school who joined different religious orders.
In 1950 he was one of three young men who joined the Novitiate.
Brother Gleisner comes from Glen Patrick a small town near Ararat. The family moved to Surry Hills when Brother Gleisner was six years old.
His father was a farmer in Glen Patrick and would donate vegetables to the orphanages. This part of his early life on the farm, growing and sharing vegetables returned to him when he set up the vegetable patch at the College, known as Scratch’s Patch.
At Rupertswood he first lived in one of the farm cottages with several other Brothers.
Then moved into the Mansion when the roof was in much need of repair.
He has seen the Mansion restored.
In 2001 he moved into the then new Salesian residence.
Brother Gleisner, a member of the Salesian Community, is also a much loved member of our Parish Community. Having been an influence on the lives of many generations who have grown up in Sunbury and also further afield.
He assisted in the dairy, minded the poultry, and laboured in the laundry. However many former students fondly remember him in the vegetable patch.
In those days there were lots of horses on the farm which had to be fed early before going to Mass. After breakfast it was time to go and harness the horses up and they were taken out to the paddocks to plough.
After working on the farm there were the boarders to look after in the dining room, the dormitories and on the recreational ground. Night study areas were supervised. At Rupertswood Mansion there were senior and junior areas.
Brother Gleisner had been a boarder himself for most of his later schooling life, so he understood what the young boarders who came to the College were going through and had an insight into their homesickness, so he took them down into the garden and introduced them to some Agi students and he would give them a meal down there.
Students remember special boarder birthday lunches at the patch. Lunch could be an omelette, fried eggs on toast or tinned spaghetti on toast, finished off with jam on toast. Some parishioners have recalled “ it was good to work down at the patch with Brother Gleisner. He always cooked us eggs on toast.”
Scratch was the nickname given to Brother Gleisner by the Agi students.
He is also a good communicator and loved to talk, often providing a sympathetic ear for the homesick boarders.
Brother Gleisner retired in 1992 and says his happiest days were his working days, “being around the kids and helping them.”
When boarding finished in 1992 he felt lost because the buildings were empty.
Brother Gleisner has a remarkable memory and has remembered students he has not seen for fifty years. Many past students keep in touch and call to see him whenever they are in Sunbury. Many would not make a visit to Sunbury without calling on Brother Gleisner.
He has a reputation for baking.
Over the years many tour groups coming to Rupertswood Mansion have been greeted by the delicious aroma of Brother’s biscuits baking upstairs.
Brother Gleisner in centre with fellow Jubilarians