The grand old lady of San Thome, Cecilia Mary Xavier, passed away at St. Isabel’s Hospital, Mylapore on Saturday, Oct 10,. She was 104 years old.
Cecilia was born on Jan 31, 1911 at Wellington in the Nilgiris to Thomas and Francina Mendez, who hailed from Tellicherry in Kerala.
Cecilia trained to be a teacher at the Government Training School at Cannanore. She taught little ones in the music band schools, then at St. Aloysious Presentation Convent School, Vepery and later, at Holy Angels Anglo Indian High School, T. Nagar, from where she retired after 40 years of service.
Cecilia married Joseph William Xavier in 1938 at Ooty and had 7 children – 5 boys and 2 girls. She lost 2 boys in their early years. Xavier was a musician who played in the Governor’s band and later for cine music directors. The couple celebrated their silver and golden wedding jubilees in 1963 and 1988 respectively.
Her eldest son Rev. Fr. Lionel Xavier is a Salesian priest of Don Bosco and is serving in West Africa. Her daughters Brenda and Iris were teachers and are now retired.
She had 3 grandchildren and 3 great grand children.
The funeral service for Cecilia was held at Santhome Cathedral on Oct 12, 3 p.m. The Holy Mass was concelebrated by 30 priests and 2 Archbishops.
Beatrix D’Souza, her eldest neice, delivered the eulogy at the end of the service. Many relatives, friends, teachers and past pupils attended the service.
Cecilia Xavier’s remains were interred in her husband’s grave at Quibble Island Cemetery, R. A. Puram. The family can be reached at 6/2C, Lynn Pereira Street, San Thome. Phone 24615633.