The Worst Golfer Whom De La Salle So Loved

Words by Angel Bombarda, DLSU BS Psychology 2012

There are people, who when they pass away, do not want to be mourned after, but who we celebrate for the life they had the chance to live. One of them is Br. Benedict Lidinsky FSC, who, 30 years ago, came to De La Salle. He was the last of the Christian Brothers from the St. Louis district in the United States who came to the Philippines to establish the Lasallian educational system.

And so that was what the De La Salle Alumni Association did on January 3 for his death anniversary - celebrate his life. A commemorative mass highlighted how "the harvest is great but the laborers are few". Brother Ben was one of those few who answered the call of God and yet, he wasn't one of those who saw himself above the rest.

He was one of those whom he served, and he was no saint, but he loved those around him and he was loved back. Henry Atayde, in a special message during the mass, gave those who didn't know Brother Ben the chance to know the man behind the icon. Interestingly, Br. Ben and Atayde would always argue about everything but only because Br. Ben had a larger-than-life personality. He was extremely passionate about the legacy of La Salle, the Brothers, the alumni and most of all, golf, which interestingly too, he could not play very well according to all the alumni in the room. It was an everyday ritual for Brother Ben to cut out from the newspaper every alumnus on the front page and even in the obituaries.
He wanted the alumni at their best and sought out their help in supporting the institution he so loved. But he also wanted to know the alumni who were coming home to the Creator. And that's just the man that he was. A big fan of the alumni, he would attend every homecoming party, believing that it is important to bridge the alumni back, not only physically but through values.

And that's what active alumni remember about him—for Benjie Uichico, Br. Ben used alumni mechanisms to give back to La Salle. His network was very strong and to the end, he used it to give back to the school. For one, the Most Blessed Sacrament Chapel was his baby, his pride and joy. It was a chapel steep with history, filled with stories of tragedy and faith that couldn't be defeated.

Brother Ben was also the coach of the DLSU Golf Team even if he was horrible at the sport, alumnus Ferdie Aterdido, fondly remembers. Yet, it was Br. Ben who made the team into a potent unit. The Ambassador Valdez Cup is the La Salle-Ateneo golf tournament for alumni, and the year before Br. Ben passed away, the school won the Cup, perhaps testament of how he loved La Salle.

But it was one of the closest to Brother Ben, Br. Martin Sellner FSC who shared with everyone that day the kind of man Brother Ben was. He may have been one to shout all the time, acting like he owned the place. He was spoiled and couldn't speak decent Tagalog but he knew every four-letter word there is. (If he ever called you p*ta, that meant he was really your friend.) And the Brothers shied away from him because he was just too strong a force. But his love was also strong. He was more Filipino than most Filipinos. On that day of remembrance of his death, his friends remembered his life. It didn't matter that he had countless arguments with the people in that room. It didn't matter that he cursed too much, played golf badly, and always wanted to be right. What mattered was how much he loved. And he did love.