ISSUE # 59

December 2000


"Fourteen years ago this month, specifically on December 15, 1986, Gus Nolan sent Christmas greetings to those of the wider Marist family with whom he had been in touch, mainly through their attendance at the annual GMC picnic, which at that time was held at a state park in the mid-Hudson Valley. In his letter of greeting Gus also drew attention to a proposal that was being circulated, a proposal "to mail a newsletter to every Marist house in the U.S. and to every U.S. address where there is a Marist at heart" ... the newsletter to feature news and "several short biographical accounts, one about a Marist Brother and another about a brother who is not canonically attached."

The first issue of that newsletter, which became known as Marists All, was published in May of 1987. It was four pages in length. The cost and chore of printing and mailing was handled by the Greater Marist Community of the Poughkeepsie area.

Now we have big news.

There will be an expansion of Marists All.

Richard (Linus) Foy and Gus Nolan are working to prepare a website that will carry the current issue of Marists All and much more. Eventually at the site there may be "breaking news." There will be special tributes to many of our friends, including the deceased. There may be some less known historical items. There will be lists of names and addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, unless someone asks us to withhold his. There will be some past issues of the newsletter. There will be an index of the authors of all articles that have appeared in past issues of the newsletter. The website will be available only to those who know of its location, i.e. those with whom we share it. You have it at: The site is up and running in simple form now, already! Take a look.

We expect to utilize e-mail to alert our people about the appearance on the website of each new issue of Marists All. Printed copies of each issue of the newsletter will continue to be mailed to those who have no access to the website ... and to anyone else who would like to receive a hard copy by postal mail."

Other details about the new website will be available as we proceed, regularly via e-mail, periodically by way of the newsletter, any time at the site. We don't want to drown ourselves in what we are doing, and we don't want to snow you under with an avalanche of what we plan.

FROM MAURICE LACHANCE ('59): The piece on Francisco Narganes in the last issue of Marists All was especially touching. I was at Marist College when Chico came to us from Cuba. Our paths crossed again at a school function in the Lawrence area in the 70's. We saw each other from time to time over the years. The circumstances surrounding his untimely death were especially disturbing to me as the car crash occurred on the same stretch of Route 110 on which Brother Victor Tertullian was killed back in February of 1963. At the time I was in the midst of my first teaching assignment at St. Joseph's in Lowell, having been "plucked" from the last semester of my senior year at Marist to finish up the school year as a replacement for Brother Ken Marino who was on his way to Rome. I will never forget my first mentors: Brothers Giles Lemieux, Walter O'Clare, Henry Firmin, Fabian Jerome, Louis Paquet, and Rudy Ouellette. They, along with Brother Victor, made life quite interesting and entertaining! Thanks again for the memories. Now you have my e-mail address .(92 Zion Hill Road, Salem NH 03079-1512; 603-898-7231;

FROM JOHN VECCHIONE ('63): This past summer two incidents reawakened my interest in the Marist family. I was in Newburgh, New York, for a wedding, and I explained to my wife Lynne that I always wanted to visit the cemetery at Esopus where I had spent my first year in the juniorate. As we drove into the property, I found that it looked almost the same as in 1959.

Then in September we were on vacation in New England, and we visited Marblehead, Mass. Back in '64 I had been to Marblehead on an outing from Tyngsboro. At the time, I was on crutches because of a sprained ankle playing basketball. I had slept in the infirmary for two nights, and then was told by the Master of Novices, a certain Brother David, to get back into my regular schedule. That meant climbing four flights of stairs. On the outing day I put a sock on my foot and got onto the bus; at our destination I negotiated a two-mile hike on the crutches to the tip of a peninsula where we had our picnic lunch. On our recent trip there, sure enough, I recognized the magnificent houses and the little park where we novices and postulants had had lunch back in 1964.

After leaving in 1964, I continued my education at Iona College, graduating in 1967 with a BS in Mathematics. I met my wife Lynne during college and we were married in 1971. Both Lynne and I finished our Master's degrees, she in Management and I in Computer Science. Our son Kevin was born in 1981. He is now in his second year at Rennsalear Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, majoring in Computer Science. Lynne and I have been parishioners of Immaculate Conception Church in Irvington, New York, since 1974. Both of us have served on the school board and on the parish council.

Lynne retired in 1997 from NYNEX after 28 years. Six months later she went back as a consultant. She plans to retire again when Kevin finishes school. I am currently the VP of Information Services with EM Industries, a subsidiary of Merck Germany.(78 Clinton Avenue, Dobbs Ferry NY 10522; 914-674-0857;

FROM MIKE O'NEILL ('67): Great job in bringing together this community of special people. Soon I will contribute and catch everyone up on my dramatic changes over the last two years. P.S. I have moved this month and my new address is(12 Edgewood, Avon CT 06001; 860-409-9074;

DECEASED Brother Henry Joseph Ruiz('26) died in Miami on October 22nd at the age of 90. A native of Spain, Henry came to the United States province in 1928 from the international scholasticate in Grugliasco, Italy. In July of 1936 he returned to Europe for his second novitiate and family visit, and there was trapped by the Spanish Civil War. He finally succeeded in returning to the States in August of 1940. Thereafter he taught at St. Ann's, the Mount, and Dubois, where he was director of the community. In 1958 Brother Henry joined the American Brothers in the Philippine mission. As that mission became a District and then a Province, he served as provincial treasurer for a good number of years. In 1995 Henry retired and returned to the United States, where he took up residence with the retired Brothers in Miami. Brother Henry was born Teodosio Ruiz on March 23, 1910. He entered the juniorate in April of 1921; he took the habit on April 15th of 1926 at the international novitiate near Turin and first received the religious name of Mario German (hence his long-standing nickname of "Mario.")

MEMORIAL SERVICE The memorial service in Esopus on November 5th drew around 80 people. Br. Leo Shea, provincial, gave a fine welcoming talk, Father Jeffrey Johnston ('75) celebrated Mass and gave the homily, and participants said the rosary on their way to the cemetery, where a short service was held in rather raw weather. On each grave was a beautiful white flower, and flowers were provided for those who wished to remember and honor a special Brother. Later the community hosted a luncheon filling ten tables of eight.

In his homily Father Johnston said in part: "Because of those Brothers whom we've gathered to remember and celebrate today, we have reason to boast … to boast of the incredible, untold good which the Lord has accomplished in and through these men. Their influence has been felt in so many ways as they practiced the 'little virtues' of simplicity and humility. Their greatest influence was their presence, their listening ear and kind word. They tried to help us and many others realize how much Jesus Christ has loved us, and how much we should, in return, love the divine Savior. As I walked through the cemetery last weekend, I found myself automatically smiling as I recalled this one or that one. No doubt you have done the same. Perhaps this one was one of our first teachers, maybe the one who first got us thinking about 'the monks.' Maybe that one was a 'group mate' in formation. There's one of the old guys who told the stories and passed on the Marist tradition. Here is someone with whom we lived and worked during the school year or one summer vacation. So many connections, so many memories, so much for which we have to give thanks. We have to celebrate their lives and their place in ours. In remembering these simple, holy, sometimes quirky men, we make them real once again."

Barney Sheridan has written: "I have gone to the cemetery in Esopus a number of times out of my own debts. To make it a communal event was so much more meaningful. We all share a common spirituality, and it was such a pleasure to celebrate it together. Leo Shea seemed to put all into perspective both spiritually and socially in his brief remarks. I thought the idea of carnations at each grave and a carnation given to each attendee for placing on a grave was sensitive; that opened the door for each person to ritualize his/her own feelings and emotions. As I walked to the cemetery, I presumed that I would honor one of the Brothers who had been a gift to me. Instead, I ended up doing what was urged on us -- with the flower provided either to honor a Brother or to reconcile with a Brother. Much to my surprise, I did the latter. It was a spiritual event. Everyone was so happy that day celebrating our common spiritual heritage that this service has to be the institution of an annual tradition."

FROM MARTY CURTIN ('65): I am glad to have taken the opportunity to participate in the Commemoration of the Deceased Marist Brothers in Esopus on November 5th. It was a fitting tribute to the Brothers who have died. All the graves and the names of so many familiar people brought back many memories, and caused pause for reflection. There was a time when I didn't know more than one or two.

My wife and I were happy to visit with my uncle, Brother Bernard Curtin, whom we had not seen for about a year. We had not expected that he would be able to make the trip to Esopus. I was also glad to see some of my former classmates and teachers, folks I hadn't seen in quite a while. And I was pleased to be able to say hello to you, Gus, and to thank you while I can. Our daughter's death has taught us to be more open to the moment, more willing to take opportunities when we have them.(206 North Knight Ave., Endwell NY 13760; 607-785-2253;

FROM BOB HOLM ('60): I would like very much to be included in future e-mails. Mine is: I have a suggestion for the newsletter. It would be to reserve a half page for a "teletype section." Simple, one line "bullet points" of greetings and quick updates that might include something like a job change or transfer, a quick news bite or other item. I continue to await and enjoy the interesting narratives with the profiles and experiences, but I think a "brevity section" might encourage those contributors who may be intimidated by the standard style and content, or perhaps who simply can't find the time to put it all down. It might flesh out some quiet corners of the Marist world and enlarge our family even more. In any form, however, you are simply the best, and I hope the newsletter continues as long as there's paper, ink, and now electricity. I wish all a Happy Thanksgiving; we have much to be grateful for. P.S. Prayers for Br. Leonard Voegtle who has been convalescing and engaged in a pretty tough health issue. He's certainly one of our big guns whom we need back on his feet. (245 Cook Street, Huntington Station NY 11746; 516-673-8419)


+ Father Richard LaMorte has returned to Marist College as Campus Minister for Liturgical Services. Father LaMorte first came to the college in 1976 as Catholic Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry, and in 1981 he became Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Since leaving Marist in 1985, he has served as pastor at three Dutchess County parishes.

+ Robert Lopez ('59) recently completed a three-year endeavor of writing a 1300 page textbook entitled "Advanced Engineering Mathematics."

+ Following a national search, John Ritschdorff ('65) was selected as Assistant Academic Vice President and Dean of Academic Programs at Marist College. John received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from New York University after earning his B.A. in math from Marist in 1968.

+ Joe Strang ('53) asks us to note his e-address,, incorrectly printed by us in September. Joe also shared the following: "Recently I interviewed for a position training teachers on using a software. When I said that I had taught with the Marist Brothers, the president mentioned that his brother is an OMI in Lowell. The interview went smoothly!"




Br Denis Caverley 55th Br Raymond Albert
Br Gregory dela Noy Br John Alexis
Br Vincent J Doughty Br Ramon Bereicua
Br Declan C Murray 60th Br Chanel Lambert
Br Albert Phillipp Br Rafael Martin
Br Luke Reddington Br Alphonse Matuga
Br Louis Richard Br Godfrey Robertson
Br Robert Ryan 65th Br Bernard Curtin
Br Julio Vitores Br Francis Hughes
Br Vincent Xavier 70th Br Valerian Doiron
  Br M Oswald Ouelette

FROM PAT McMAHON ('60): Thank you for sending me Marists All. I enjoy reading about all the people with whom I was in training and how successful their lives have been. The Marist Brothers' training must have done a lot right. I have kept all the back issues of the newsletter with the thought of contacting some of the people whom I knew well. Alas, I have not yet done so, except for being in touch with Brother John Herrmann the past two years.

This past August I found that I had a brain tumor and was operated on for its removal on August 16th. The good news is that it was not malignant and that the crisis occasioned my reconnecting with the Brothers. I was not allowed by the doctor who did the surgery (14 hours and 12 pints of blood) to live alone as I have been doing for the past fifteen years after my divorce. Therefore, Brother John offered me to stay with the Brothers at Manhasset, and I accepted. I enjoyed my stay there, living with Brother Victor, Brother Alphonse Matuga, and Brother Ken Robert; it helped me to heal. I am at my house now. It is good to be back, but difficult to be doing everything for myself and having to rely on friends to help me as I am not allowed to drive yet. Yet, my illness has taught me that it is good to accept help from others. I enjoyed being at the picnic at the Mount this past September. It was nice to see those I knew from the past. I'll try to write again later. (Route 214, Stoney Road, Laneville NY 12450)


25th Br. Jerry Dowsky  40th Br Michael Brady
    Br Donald Kelly
35th Br Vito Aresto Br Joseph McAlister
Br Joseph Herrera Br James McKnight
Br John Klein    
Br James Redunski 45th Br Felix Anthony
Br Sean Sammon Br Brendan Brennan
Br Richard Sharpe Br Thomas Coyne
Br Robert Warren Br Stephen Kappes
    Br Vincent Moriarty

FROM CHARLIE (James Martin) SCOTT ('50): I missed the 50th reunion of my class of '50 back in June. Partly my fault, partly circumstances. Two years ago, before any planning for the reunion, I committed myself to teaching summer courses at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, as our end of a faculty exchange between the University of Wisconsin English Department and an Institut at Giessen. So, off I went on May 24th, returning to Madison on July 17th. Each of my courses (one in English Phonology, the other in Linguistic Stylistics) met once a week in a four-hour session. Unfortunately, the Stylistics course met on Friday mornings, thus knocking out any possibility of flying to New York for a long weekend. I have heard, however, from Dick Branigan that the reunion was a wonderful gathering of many members of two classes. Dick, in fact, sent me a good account of the event by email directly from Poughkeepsie to Giessen, for which I thank him. Thanks very much also for the appended greetings from Brendan Haggerty, Tom Murphy, Bob Reddington, and Bill Lavigne. It would have been a real joy to see everyone once again.

This year has been an eventful one for me. In May at the end of the spring semester I retired after 37 years on the English Department faculty at Wisconsin. Over the years there was seldom a dull moment. I leave it all behind, with gratitude for my good fortune in being at a world-class university in one of America's best places to live. The department gave me a wonderful sendoff on May 13th, after which I had a week to finish grading papers and exams, retire officially on May 21st, and leave for Germany on May 24th. I wasn't gone a week when Anne emailed me to say that two of my colleagues had died.

Though I am no longer teaching, I am continuing as director of our special project with Japanese teachers of English. This is the tenth year of the project, and it will be my final one. Our annual meeting was in Tokyo last February, which gave me the opportunity to visit my former "students," Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. I was invited to lunch with them and their daughter Princess Nori at the Imperial Palace on February 10th. Needless to say, this was a special treat for me. When I returned to Madison, I wrote an account of this meeting, intended mainly for my four kids, plus other interested friends (if any are interested, just ask and you shall receive). One of the things I did not mention in this account was the coincidental connection between my thirty-five-year acquaintance with Emperor Akihito and my first encounter with him in the form of a refectory reading about him when I was in the Juniorate in Esopus. The book is Windows for the Crown Prince, written by his earliest English language tutor, Mrs. Elizabeth Gray Vining. Perhaps some Marists All readers who were at Esopus at that time (1947 or 1948) will remember this as one of our readings at mealtime. In 1965 Crown Prince Akihito lent me his copy of the book so that I could reread it, whereupon I wrote to Mrs. Vining and received from her a very gracious letter. Who wudda thunk it way back then!

Anne will retire from her position as ticket office manager of the Madison Civic Center next July, which will free us to do some traveling. Mean-time, I have not been lacking for things to do: the house in Madison and the lake cabin in the North Woods both require lots of attention, inside and outside; committees at St. Paul's Catholic Center on campus and St. Raphael Cathedral downtown; writing projects; and the usual schedule of concerts, plays, lectures, football and basketball games. Almost everyone else who has retired has pretty much the same story: busier than ever … where has the day gone? Special greetings and all best wishes to my classmates. Many, many thanks for Marists All.(4737 Lafayette Drive, Madison WI 53705; 608-233-3995;

FROM BR. EMIL DENWORTH ('64): As I read Marists All, I am struck by the number of people who went to juniorate and/or novitiate from St. Agnes High School. Yet as I check the Alumni records, the names of these people are nowhere to be found. We would like to add those names to our mailing list. Much more than a move from 44th Street has taken place, and we would like to share these events with you. If any of you attended St. Agnes at any time, would you please send your name to us in care of Robert Williams(555 West End Avenue, New York NY 10024; 212-873-9100; fax: 212-873-9292)

FROM BR. FERNAND DENIS DOSTIE ('54): I am one of the Canadians who did college work in Poughkeepsie. I arrived there shortly after making first vows in August of 1955. At Marian (Marist) College the method used to teach me the English language can best be described as total submersion. That has made for long lasting results, even though, on one of my rare visits to the States, Jimmy Maher asked me, "What happened to the English we taught you?" You see, when I was in Malawi, regular contact with old colonial government officials and a daily dose of BBC World News must be blamed for some change in my English and its pronunciation. Little did I know that my chameleon-like ability to adapt was having an effect on my spoken language to such an extent.

Upon returning to Canada in 1958, I taught for three years at a military camp near Québec City and loved every minute of it. The Canadian Army Officers could not do enough to help us out in our mission. During my first year teaching in the English language section of the school, I had two divisions and 24 kids in my class. Three years later there were only nine pupils struggling to gain an education. The drop in attendance was due to military transfers rather than my teaching, or so I hope. The Brothers withdrew from the military camp, and I was then posted to teach English as a second language at the Juniorate in Lévis. The community was very good, but teaching was a constant battle. Québec was then going through "The Quiet Revolution" and English was neither on the political menu nor that of the kids. This last appointment helped me make up my mind to go to Africa in 1962. I worked in Malawi until April of 1994, date of the advent of a multiparty society following the publication of a Pastoral Letter written by the Catholic Bishops exposing the abuse of the Government. The letter was read in all churches on the same day. From that moment forward, the tongues of the people were loosened and Christians as well as non-Christians joined hands. The Government had to give in.

I lived through a once in a lifetime experience of Colonial Government, witnessed and supported the independence struggle and achievement, and finally suffered through far too many years of dictatorship under "His Excellency the Life President of Malawi, Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda, Founder and Saviour of the Malawi Nation." It fell on me to be a school administrator through good and bad times for most of my time in Malawi. In 1969, I was given a break of six years as Regional Superior of the District of Malawi which is now part of the Southern Africa province. On my way to a sabbatical in 1994 I was requested to drop in at the General House for a chat. It was suggested to me that I return to Rome, after a holiday with the family, to work with the Secretary General. Being an obedient servant, for better or for worse, I said yes. As luck would have it, in 1997 Br. Seán Sammon asked me to work with him. Blessings come in many different ways in life. I'm expected to be in Rome until the end of the General Chapter in 2001. I now belong to the Southern Africa province where I expect to return in the early part of 2002. I send greetings to all my friends and acquaintances in the Marist family.(Piazzale M. Champagnat, 2; C.P. 10250; 00144 Roma, Italia;

FROM BILL (William Maura) DESCHENE ('53): Besides two oak desks made by Brother Peter Anthony, I hold among some of my most cherished relics a knitted green vest sweater given to me by "Mickey" a.k.a. Brother Michael Bernard. It was made by an admirer of the retirees at Leeds Terrace over twenty years ago. The lady made a sweater for each of the Brothers who lived there. I suspect that this was the one given to Brother Philip John before he died, so it could be a double relic. It's an excellent sleeveless sweater, a one size fits all job that keeps you warm without hemming you in.

Mickey was one of the first Marist Brothers I ever met. As younger Brothers, he and Brother Louis Frederick were lifeguards at St. Ann's Camp on Riverside Drive in Methuen where I used to go as a little kid. That had to be in the early forties because I went on "Boys" days, and accompanied by my young (and pretty) Aunt Peggy on "Girls" days, too. I'm not sure the Brothers were on duty on Girls days, but I remember Mickey looking cool in his dark glasses and Brother Louis looking very much "in charge" with his pith helmet and rimless glasses.

I've always admired those Brothers whose talents were manifested in what we call the Trades. In my mind Mickey belongs in the Pantheon of Brothers so gifted -- Berkey, Frank Xavier, Sarge, Mary Sylvain, Theophile, Frederick Charles, and many others who could build, make, repair, or assemble -- whose work benefited the communities where they lived. In my experience, I connect Mickey with the work he did at Camp Marist.

I came to appreciate Mickey during my single season at Central and the years he spent at Leeds Terrace, where I replaced Danny Demers as cook once a month. Danny would leave a lot of little cans of vegetables on the counter for me to use, while Mickey would bring in lots of great stuff from his garden. Being a gardener myself there was no choice; Mickey and I became great friends. Mickey was part of an amazing cycle that took place at Leeds. Old Mike would feed the squirrels as he smoked his one cigarette after each meal. The squirrels would eat Minn's prize tulips, and Mickey would capture the squirrels in his "Have-a-Heart" trap and drown them in a burlap bag. This went on without comment throughout the year.

I corresponded with Mickey for a while after he left Leeds Terrace. I once asked him for the indian head bonnet that he had at Camp Marist. We often shared our mutual interest in things indian. Mickey sadly told me that the bonnet had been destroyed through misuse, but if it hadn't, he would have given it to me. That was as good as him giving it to me. Mickey would conclude his correspondence with the phrase, "Enfin, une bonne and heureuse annee, et le paradis a la fin de vos jours." And I would whisper, "Le meme pour vous, Mickey."

Mickey gave me four mint plants from his garden. They became zillions of mint plants at our former home in Methuen. Some of them have recently been transplanted at our new home in Burlington, Maine. That new home is in the middle of nowhere and on the way to nowhere. No ski lodges, no resort areas, lots of biting bugs. It promises to be very cold (our fall fruit loop scenery was recently covered with four inches of milk). No stores, and very few people to sell anything to -- just lots of woods. You wouldn't like it …but we do … Enfin, une bonne et heureuse annee, et le paradis aujourdhui et a la fin de vos jours.(Paradise - er, I mean: P.O. Box 156, Burlington ME 04417)

FROM TOM NOLAN ('64): Once before I wrote briefly, but I decided that I had to write more substantially after a get-together with some "old" Marist friends from my group last July. Mike Nash with his wife Teresa, Jim Norton, Jim Carger, and I met with Alex Senes at his house for an impromptu reunion. It was great seeing the guys and sharing old stories. I still have the most hair! Alex's wife Estela served a wonderful meal. We laughed a lot and had some very meaningful exchanges about our lives, past and present. The Marist influence in our lives seemed clear to all of us; we found that it has played itself out in different ways with each of us - the creativity and beauty of God's grace! It was wonderful to see and feel it. We all seem to love the work we do as we move in faith through the ups and downs of our lives. We would love to have a regular yearly reunion with the guys in our group and with any other monks whose paths we have crossed. Incidentally, a few months earlier I saw Bob Falisey and his lovely wife at Alex's home. Had a wonderful time.

I was in the group of 1964 and left the brothers in 1972 from St. Helena's. So many memories from there: Willie Deschene (my man in the kitchen and one-on-one in the gym at nights), John Nolan, Declan, Charles Marcellin, Jack Ryan, "Sarge," Lamassa, Delaney, Jennings, Andrews.

Back to Marist College: The Singing Brothers, Volunteer in Appalachia with Mike Nash in '67, Vista Volunteer in '68 with Pat Collins, Mike Nash, and Jack Lehman, sleeping in an old railroad station, kids jumping all over us in the pool during the day. These memories I cherish. The experiences have brought me much joy and meaning.

Today I work as an individual/family therapist and have my own prac-tice in New Jersey and Westchester. My son Tom is a junior at Ithaca College, and my daughter Jaclyn is a junior at the local high school in River Edge, New Jersey. Their mother Maggie and I are very proud of their achievements, but more importantly we are proud of the people they are turning out to be!

Music has always been a part of my life and has brought much meaning to me. It has given me great joy as well as helped me over the many "humps" in my life. I began playing and singing in a small bar in the Bronx. Alex Senes and I played and sang together for about fifteen years. We've played in many different situations, even many "Marist weddings!" What an honor!

The brothers will always have a special meaning for me. I was originally attracted to the Marists at Molloy because of their openness and simplicity and their "down-to-earth" attitude with me. I began my journey in knowing God there, and I discovered that "people" are what's important for me in my life. I will forever be grateful.(176 Bogert Road, River Edge NJ 07661;

FROM MARIE NOEL: The Marist Brothers have a beautiful spirit; I have enjoyed reading about that spirit in each issue of Marists All, which I have been receiving even after my husband's death. His name: Willie Noel, Brother Hugh Arthur.(8560 West Foster Avenue, #503, Norridge IL 60706)

FROM JEROME DALY ('62): Thanks for making Marists All such a success. I have found many an old friend through this publication. I'll send a longer letter later.(306-1750 Augusta Ave., Burnaby, Canada, V5A-2V6)

FROM BR. RENE ROY ('60): As I left Rwanda on July 28, 1999, I thought that on sabbatical I would fully recover from my enormous fatigue. Time for reflection helped me to appreciate the gift of being in Rwanda, loving the people and being loved by them. I did recover, indeed I was "reborn" on my sabbatical. The work I was sent to Rwanda to do, help with reconciliation and thus with rebuilding the country, continues nearly in full swing, despite my present position as Principal of Bishop Donahue High School in McMechen, WV. Frequent contact with 31 of my students now on full scholarship at La Roche College in Pittsburgh (seven in Canada) keeps me busy. It unwraps new dimensions of the gift and energizes me to keep on trying to do more.

Looking back, I could easily say I did enough while there in Rwanda. I taught English and religion, moderated the Vocation Club, several members of which are in formation in various congregations, including the Marist Brothers, moved and reorganized the student library, organized the Red Cross Club to clean up the infirmary and become more involved in the care of the sick.

I made countless friends from one end of Rwanda to the next. I begged and received much material and financial aid for the school, thus helping to replace what was destroyed or stolen during the genocide. I moderated a Reconciliation Group of which two offsprings exist in Kigali, begun by the same student who began the King David Club, in honor of Rene David Roy! I was involved in a water project to supply more water for the school. And finally there is the project of getting scholarships for deserving students of our school. That is a monumental project that only grace and my stubbornness brought to completion. The students at La Roche call themselves "Abaroyi" i.e. Roy's Boys. So the mark of Roy's love is on the hearts of multitudes of Rwandese. Indeed, one could say, enough. But for "Royi" there is never enough.

Thus, there is a further water project afoot, this time a septic system and the reconditioning of the showers and sinks. Powers Catholic High School in Flint, Michigan, and three Rotary Clubs are working on this. We are establishing a Marist Rwanda Fund to help students in Rwanda pay their tuition at our school in Byimana where I taught. I am working on a plan to help raise lots of money to enhance the Pacem in Terris Foundation (which brought the 31 students to La Roche) or to expand it to include other universities, and thus open up more places for the dozens of students who write daily asking for scholarships.

Former Contact Member and faithful friend, Tom Bennett, is helping me get nominated to Oprah Winfrey's "Angel Network" where national coverage could open the doors to Ali Babba's Cave! Last January I entered the "Body for Life Challenge" ( which offers $100,000 to its 12 annual champions. I made the finals, but I expect to be cut. I'm going to enter again this January and if you've seen MEN OF HONOR, you'll understand when I say I'll be champion. I will donate half to Bishop Donohue High and half to the Rwandan College Scholarship Fund. I will truly be putting my body on the line for my beloved Rwandese. I encourage others to follow me getting back into shape.

Clearly then, my work for Rwanda will never end. Yes, like St. Theresa I will even spend my heaven doing good on earth. Peace and love to all this Advent and Christmas. And blessings on the New Year. This is "Royi" and this is THE RWANDA FILE.(4509 Eoff Street, Wheeling WV 26003; 304-233-8334;

EDITORS' NOTE: May our friends and their families have an uplifting Christmas season. More than that, may we realize how blessed we are in all seasons. What a mystery! To be free and yet to be lovingly influenced by the touch of the Incarnation.