1937 – 1976
Fr. John Francis was born in Malaysia and his parents gave him very good Christian
upbringing. He was a long standing Warden and Vice Rector of St. Patrick’s College (1965-1972)
Deputy Principal of Teachers’ Training College of Cololambagam and held the position of
General Manager of Catholic Schools of the North before he was appointed as Rector of St.
Henry’s College in 1972.
Fr. Francis was a man with multi talents and he also had a wealth of experience and
steered St. Henry’s towards its earlier pristine, whatever the faculty that was whether education,
cultural activities or sports . The religious culture and discipline were integrated harmoniously.
His sharp sixth senise practicality and the knowledge of student psychology enabled him to
identify students in difficulties. Many a mischievous and boi
sanity and moulded into good shape. He knew every student by his name, parentage, I.Q ability
fy students in difficulties. Many a mischievous and boisterous kind, were brought back into
Fr. Francis was the only old boy to adorn the throne of St. Henry’sas its Rector,
He had read for his London Matriculation from St. Henry’s College. It appears that this fond
linkage remained with him ever since, that was why when he became the Rector ofSt. Henry’s he
reinvigorated both the Colombo and Ilavalai OBAs into life and the old boys became aligned to
the Alma Mater.
In sports, it defines greatness Fr. Francis knew this far too well and he truly realized the
need for national presence of St. Henry’s soccer ability. He used that medium to the hilt,
energizing the dormant talents of young footballers to the dizzy heights of invincibility and
putting St. Henry’s permanently on the map of Sri Lanka by winning the runner up Singer Shield
(Soccer) Trophy in 1974 and in 1975 wining the coveted Singer Shield which surely is the
quintessence of his all time resolve in Primus interpares (first among the equals) and second to
none, without hurting anyone.