A Cup of Joe... with Manuel Filipe
St. Michael's: Thirty-four years is a long time. Don't you ever get tired of your work?
Manuel Filipe: Well, each day before 7:30 am, I go to the schedule and there are always surprises. It's never routine. That's what makes my job challenging and not boring. My friends sometimes say, "Why are you so worried about the College? It's just bricks and mortar." But I love this place. I love coming to work. It gives me incentive to always do my best.
SM: Would you share some of your fondest moments at SMC?
MF: I've got too many. I've worked with so many good people over all these years. But one of the moments that really stands out was seeing my son graduate from the College in 2006. It was a dream, and I have it in my heart. Meeting the wonderful Basilians is another, like Fr. John Kelly and Fr. Harold Gardiner. All positions used to be filled by them. It saddens me to see that they are now such a small part of the College. They're the ones who built the path that makes it possible for us to work and study here. In the 1970s, I was a new immigrant from Portugal. The Basilian Fathers gave me work. They were welcoming to people; they cared about us. This College has been good to me. I feel at home here. This is my second family.
SM: What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
MF: A lot of people don't know that I run marathons. I run six days a week. I've run the Mississauga Marathon. As a matter of fact, I've run a marathon to raise money for the College. I haven't officially run a race in my homeland yet, but one of my goals is to run the Lisbon Half Marathon and come first in my age group.
SM: If you weren't working at St. Michael's, what would you be doing?
MF: If I had had the opportunityI had dreams when I was a kid of be- coming a doctor. I would want to be out there helping people.
SM: Of all the tasks you do, which is your favourite?
MF: It's probably working the locks. I like to challenge my brain with trying to assemble the springs and pieces when they fall apart. If you're not very precise, you can run into a lot of trouble.
SM: And finally, how do you take your coffee?
MF: Decaf. I get the jitters. My favourite coffee is the one I buy at the Portuguese bakery, where I take milk and sugar.