EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH MADE BY REVEREND CANON R.S. DE SARAM AT THE REQUIEM MASS FOR AGNES BAY
Remember the words of the Lord Jesus how he said:
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts:20-35
These were the words of Jesus, our Lord and he lived out what he said, even to death in agony on the cross, holding nothing back, giving all he had, even his life.
We are here today to pray for the souls of the two faithful servants of God who had, in their own way, in widely different spheres of life , lived as our Lord told us to live, teaching us not only in words but by his example.
I shall speak first of Agnes Bay.
Her father worked in the harbour and lived near the docks at Mutwal. S. Thomas’ was in those days a Mutwal and we used the Cathedral there as our chapel. Agnes Bay’s family used the Cathedral, and so, she was associated with S. Thomas’ from her early says.
She had two brothers. The elder was George, a strongly built boy who played for our 1st eleven at cricket and was a good fast bowler and a strong hitter. He later took a job in Colombo and after sometime, left for England where he died. The younger brother was Willie who was a good left hand bowler. He later worked at Walker’s in Colombo and then left for England. Whether he is still alive I do not know.
So, Agnes was the only one of the family left in Ceylon. She joined the staff of the school under Warden Stone and was appointed Head Mistress of the kindergarten and continued in that capacity when I became Warden. She was devoted to her work and treated all her pupils with affection. My son Michael, was one of her pupils. I got into trouble with Miss Bay over this. Michael had beaten a boy also in the kindergarten who had done him some wrong and the boy came crying to me. I sent for Michael to the bungalow and gave him a caning. Miss Bay heard about this and came to see me, very angry indeed. She said the boy Michael had beaten thoroughly deserved his beating and , in any case they were members of the kindergarten of which she was the Head. SO, the matter should have been dealt with by her and not by me, though I might be the Warden. Would I please mind my own business in the future and not interfere with her? So she put me in my proper place not out of any consideration for her own dignity but because of her own affection for her pupils.
After her retirement, she went to an old people’s home at Kundsale run by Roman Catholic sisters. Many old boys in Kandy and the neighborhood called on her. I went myself to see her and found her as cheerful and brave as ever. The sisters were very good to her and did not interfere with her practice of her own religion as an Anglican. Priests from St. Paul’s Kandy used to give her Communion once a month. On June 9the Sunday after service at 7.30 pm. I was told that she had died of a heart attack. She was buried on the 10th in the Cemetery in Kandy and a preist from St. Paul’s and I assisted in the service. Several old boys who lived in Kandy and the locality were present, Berty Wijesinghe, George Mant and S. Yogananthan and some came even from as far off as Colombo, showing in what affection she was held by her pupils.
May she rest in peace.