22, 1882 - June 3, 1962)
Brother Joseph L R Belanger, 7 November 2002, taken from multiple sources
Leo taught many of us physics, so he is known to us personally. His
major accomplishments were to raise the educational standards for the
Brothers and establish Marist Training School, which evolved into Marist
Brouillette household was a simple but devout family in St. Stanislas,
P.Q., Canada. There a son was born on 22 April 1882. His parents, Eugene
and Madame (Page) Brouillette christened him George and also added the
name Joseph, as was given to all Catholic Canadian boys at that time.
Little George became interested in the Marist Brothers and entered their
Juniorate at Iberville on 15 March 1893. There he received the best
possible educational grounding and showed himself an outstanding student
and exemplary Junior. Thus, he was admitted to the Novitiate in St-Hyacinthe
and received the Holy Habit on 8 December 1897. As was the custom then,
he took the Vow of Obedience the following year and made Perpetual Profession
on 23 August 1903.
first assignment after the Novitiate, usual at that time, was to manual
work; he was appointed cook at Levis. The following year he went to
teach at St. Agnes in New York City, but he returned to Canada after
that one year to teach in St-Romuald, suburb of Quebec City, from 1900-1902.
He spent six more years in Canada, four in Montreal and two in Ibervi1le.
Notre-Dame-du-St-Rosaire in Iberville was an elite school. Its students
won science awards at the Chicago World's Fair in 1892, and the Gold
Medal at the Paris Exposition in 1900. Presumably the Brothers assigned
to the school were the best, and, in fact, besides Bro. Leo, we note
that BB. Zepheriny and Aloysius-Mary also taught there. Leo returned
to New York in 1908 to teach once again at St. Agnes for two years and
then four at St. Paul as Director/Principal. During the Summer of 1911
he and Bro. Aloysius Mary set up an intercom system linking all the
buildings on the property in Poughkeepsie. It will serve for thirty
years, until a public phone system is installed in March 1942. In 1913
the Brothers built a dam on the northwestern end of the property to
create a waterfall which drops 17 feet and turns a waterwheel to generate
electricity which, in a few years, supplies all the Brothers' needs,
including pumping water for all the buildings and gardens. Leo and Aloysius
again lead this project.
Leo's outstanding administrative abilities were confirmed at St. Paul's
in New York City from 1910-1914, and in 1914 he was named Director/Principal
of the thriving École Hévey in Manchester NH, where in
1911 the Pastor had built a new "showcase" school for 800
students, complete with yards and rooftop garden. Bro. Leo's four years
there completed, he taught at the Scholasticate for one year before
returning to New York City in 1919 as Director/Principal of St. Ann's
Academy. This, though, was to be short-lived. The war years, and even
more so, the post-war years in the turbulent Twenties were very difficult.
Thus it was that the General Administration called upon Bro. Leo to
lead the United States Province for the unique mandate of9 years, 1921-1930.
new Provincial was known as a solid Marist and committed educator. During
his terms he worked with indefatigable zeal at the reorganization of
the secular and religious studies in the Province. He set a movement
afoot towards greater cultural and professional depth. Almost immediately
he went to Germany to purchase a considerable amount of equipment for
physics, chemistry, and biology for the Scholasticate and Juniorate.
In February 1923 Albany provisionally accredited our Houses of Formation
as Junior and Senior high schools. Permanent accreditation was given
in June 1925. In 1923 also Bro. Leo decides that the Juniors must complete
Second Year of high school before admission to the Novitiate; he will
raise this to completion of Third Year in 1928. St. Joseph's bi-lingual
Juniorate is opened in Tyngsboro MA in 1924 and will be the significant
factor in the increase of Brothers from 173 to 211 during Bro. Leo's
mandate. In 1926 Mount Saint Michael Academy is opened in the Bronx
and Bro. Florentius is appointed Director/Principal.
one of Bro. Leo's most noteworthy educational achievements was the founding
of Marist Normal School in Poughkeepsie in 1928 under Fordham University
auspices. It was provisionally accredited in 1929 and granted a permanent
charter in 1930. As Provincial, Bro. Leo was legally President of the
new 2-year college and the Provincial Council members were the Board
of Trustees. They ordered major renovations to Greystone, adding a third
story a.'1d the tower and stairs to accommodate labs, library and dormitory.
Marist Normal School became the 4-year Marian College in 1946, renamed
Marist College in 1960.
his lengthy term as Provincial, Bro. Leo stays on to teach for a year
at St. Ann's Juniorate, then directs St. Joseph's in Haverhill MA for
a year before replacing the ailing Bro. Florentius as Director/Principal
of Mt. St. Michael Academy for one year. In Fall 1933 he returns to
Poughkeepsie to teach in the Novitiate before becoming Director General
of the property from 1934-1940. He looked forward eagerly to the 1940
nominations when he knew he would go back to his favorite spot, the
Juniorate, to teach his favorite subject, physics. Providence had other
designs, though, and after only two years in Tyngsboro he returned to
Poughkeepsie for another term as Director General. However, he managed
to extricate himself after only two years and go to Marist Prep in Esopus
for 15 years. There he continued to teach physics, build up an excellent
physics laboratory, and play with his various electrical devices.
Marist Brothers honored Bro. Leo in a special way in 1947 on the occasion
of his Golden Jubilee, and again in 1957 on his Diamond Jubilee. In
1959 he left Esopus to retire fully in Tyngsboro. He died there on 3
June 1962, full of age, and wisdom and grace before God and men, a modest,
simple, humble "Little Brother of Mary" with an incalculable
religious and educational legacy. "Come you whom my Father has
blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the
foundation of the world." [Mt 25:34]