BR. SEÁN SAMMON, SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE MARIST BROTHERS On October
3rd the full assembly of the 20th General Chapter of the Marist Brothers
elected Brother Sean Sammon as the 12th Superior General of the Institute.
Brother Luis Garcia Sobrado, age 56, was elected Vicar General; Br.
Luis, a native of Spain, spent years in Africa before his election as
a councilor general in 1993.
Brother Seán was born on November 26, 1947 in Manhattan. His Irish
father and English mother had migrated to the United States. He studied
at St. Agnes High School and later at the juniorate in Esopus. He made
his novitiate in Tyngsboro and pronounced his first vows in 1967. He
graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie in 1970. He taught at
St. Agnes High School in New York City while pursuing studies at the
New School for Social Research where he earned a Master's degree in
1973. He received a doctorate in clinical psychology from Fordham in
1982. In 1978 he was invited to be a member of the staff at the House
of Affirmation in Massachusetts and in 1982 was named its International
Clinical Director, a position he held until 1987. He has published ten
books and a great number of articles along with audio tapes on topics
of psychology and religious life. In 1987 he was named provincial of
the Poughkeepsie Province. During his term he was elected president
of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men Religious of the United
States. Since 1993 he has been Vicar
General of the Marist Brothers.
From BR. JOHN McDONNELL ('59): Ciao Bello! A voice from the
past, Tyngsboro '58 to be precise. Thanks for getting out the web site
for our Chapter (www.champagnat.org). I am at the 20th General Chapter
in Rome as a delegate representing the Esopus Province, along with Esopus
Provincial Leo Shea and Provincial-Elect Robert Clark (takes office
on November 11th at our Provincial Chapter). The Poughkeepsie Province
is represented by Donnell Neary (Provincial), Donald Bisson (delegate),
and Sean Sammon (Vicar General). There are four Yanks here serving as
translators: Brothers Gerry Brereton, John Allen, Sumner Herrick, and
This is a fascinating experience; we have 117 brothers from 46 countries,
representing brothers in 76 countries - the latest being Cuba. The smaller
we get - 4,660 FMS now worldwide - the more we continue, by God's grace
and the courage of some brothers, spread! For several weeks twelve
lay men and women took part in the General Chapter. The times, they
are a-changing! Steve Murphy, principal of Stepinac High School in White
Plains, was to represent the USA, but the New York tragedy prevented
him from attending. The ghosts of men from the Chapter of '67-'68 walk
these halls. I stand on the shoulders of giants!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW!
The EIGHTH ANNUAL MARIST INSTITUTE OF SPIRITUALITY will be
held at Marist College in Poughkeepsie from Thursday 11 July to Sunday
14 July 2002. The theme chosen is Responding to the Will of God. "If
today you hear God's voice, harden not your hearts." More information
will be in future issues. Gene and Pat Zirkel (email@example.com)
DECEASED: Brother Lawrence Joseph Poirier ('22) died September
6th at Coral Reef Nursing Center in Miami after having gone in and out
of hospitals several times since July 25th. Brother Lawrence had celebrated
his 94th birthday on September 2nd. He was well known as the pioneer
in the development of guidance departments in Marist schools in this
country and for his involvement over a sixty-year period in guidance
for the Catholic secondary schools of the Archdiocese of New York.
Brother Lawrence wrote to Marists All on two occasions. In November
of 1988 he said: "Congratulations and gratitude for what you and your
associates have done in creating Marists All. A great idea! Although
I do not know many of those who write to the newsletter, I enjoy learning
how they continue the Marist tradition in their own way." And in November
of '92 he wrote: "May Jesus and Mary bless ALL Marists, and may this
note find all well and with peace of mind." May all deceased Marists
rest in peace. (click here for eulogy
by Brother Charles Marcellin)
From BROTHER CLINTON PERERA to Maurice Bibeau: 14th September,
Dear Maurice: Just a little note to say how deeply grieved and distressed
I am at the shocking tragedy that befell America last Tuesday. Our students
observed three minutes of silence in their assembly on the following
day and prayed for the victims of this atrocious and inhuman incident.
We feel sad at the fact that so many innocent lives were destroyed,
people who had absolutely nothing to do in policy making. We are aware
of the fact that America goes out of her way to help the whole world,
and we know that it is due to the untiring efforts of an American Brother
- Brother Tom Kelly - that this school is what it is today. We have
received and still receive so much help for the enlistment of our school.
In our small way we will stand by you with our prayers. God bless you.(Sargodha
Catholic School, ChakNo. 47, N.B. Sargodha, Pakistan; firstname.lastname@example.org)
From AL PERRONE ('61): Receiving Marists All for years has
led to fellowships that have brought back many memories of persons,
places and events. About three years ago I read a letter from Brother
Rene Roy who at the time was working in Rwanda teaching Christianity
and the English language. We started to correspond by snail mail and
then by e-mail (much better!). Now Rene is back in the USA working in
Through the e-mail list on the M.A. site I also learned of Bill Reger
and Bob O'Handley - classmates in Poughkeepsie. Today I found Ed Towsley's
new e-mail address (Ed, I'll write you later). This past Friday I had
the privilege of meeting Brother Rene and Bill at the Wheeling airport
for an extended lunch (Bill, thanks for picking up the tab - my turn
Corresponding with Brother Rene, I met via e-mail two remarkable persons
who learned more than the English language from Brother Rene in Rwanda.
They have a terrific story to tell and I'm helping them share their
story over the Internet. I invite you to learn more about these persons
and their stories by going to httm://www.geocities.com/n4501d/jkinyoni.html.
Marists, thank you for your attention and contributions to Marists All.
CU on the 'net.(11185 Howells Rd., Semmes AL 36575; 334-645-2476; email@example.com;
From DICK (Patrick Michael) McANENEY ('50): Last fall Janet
and I bought our firstcomputer, and one of the first things I did was
to hit the Marist College web site. That led me to get in touch with
Richard LaPietra, then to travel to Poughkeepsie this past spring. Richard
and Mo Bibeau gave Janet and me a tour of the college. I was absolutely
amazed at what we saw - even overwhelmed, astonished, stunned, astounded!
Mo treated us to lunch at Applebee's, and Richard cooked up an Italian
dinner that was absolutely delicious. Great Northern hospitality!
Richard and I go back a long way. We both graduated from the Mount
in 1949. He was Joe LaPietra then, the manager of our track team. As
I recall he issued me my very first jock strap! As an aside, I was on
the two mile relay team that set a record in the national AAU indoor
meet at Madison Square Garden in 1949 and won the two mile relay at
the Seton Hall relays later that year. Joe and I joined the Marist Brothers
after graduating. In Tyngsboro I showed him how to wield an axe and
how to use a two-man crosscut saw; I survived!
After the novitiate I spent a year in Poughkeepsie at Marian College,
and then was assigned to teach history to freshmen and sophomores at
St. Ann's Academy, 1952 to 1954. I was transferred to St. Helena's High
School in 1954 and, lo and behold, Br. Richard Andrew was there starting
an illustrious teaching career. That year I taught history again and
coached the freshman basketball team to a respectable 18-7 record and
third place in our division. I left the Brothers after that year and
decided to join the Air Force. I heard that Brother Richard went on
to earn higher degrees, but I pretty much lost contact with him, until
many years later, 1975, I earned my BA from Marist College. Richard's
was one of the signatures on my sheepskin!
After basic training in Geneva, New York, I did further training in
electronics and radar in Biloxi, Mississippi. Then I was assigned to
a radar site on Apple Orchard Mountain, about 20 miles from Bedford,
Virginia. One of my buddies suggested that we go to the Bedford Little
Theater for the sole purpose of meeting girls. Too tempting to refuse.
I ended up helping to direct the next play. For the ensuing party I
got a date, but I found out later from one of the members of the cast
that Janet was sorry that I had not asked her to be my date. After several
interruptions from military alerts, I finally got the date with the
girl who had broken two dates in favor of me. I proposed after that
one date; she put me off until St. Valentine's Day, 1957. Janet's family
was not excited about their Methodist daughter marrying a Yankee Catholic
from Brooklyn, but they told her that they trusted her judgment. We
got married in Holy Name of Mary Church in Bedford on July 6, 1957.
It was the first time Janet's family had ever been in a Catholic Church.
A year and three weeks later Tim was born. I spent the rest of my enlistment
on Apple Orchard, moving up to the position of crew chief on a radar
repair crew. As an aside, during my last two years in Bedford, whenever
I was not working day shift, I was a substitute teacher at Montvale
High in Bedford County. The principal liked me as a sub, because I actually
taught the students!
In August of 1959 I received my honorable discharge; they didn't catch
me! I was offered a teaching position in Bedford at a salary of $1900
a year, upped to $3200. However, I accepted a position as junior electrical
engineer with a government contract manufacturer in Falls Church, Virginia.
With that company I had various assignments and administrative duties.
Janet joined me in Falls Church, and after nine months Tom was born.
About that time I was given a chance to try out as a pitcher for a semi-pro
team in Winchester, Virginia, but the timing wasn't right.
In December 1963 Julie was born. I'll tell you more about her later.
About that same time Janet got her very first driver's license, and
I bought her a '57 Chevy hardtop; wish we had that one back. Soon after
that Janet joined the Catholic Church.
After my tenure with several other companies, in April of 1968 I joined
Union Carbide's welding equipment manufacturing plant in Florence, S.C.
where I stayed for 27 years. In 1995 the company told me that my job
was being eliminated. They made me an offer I could not refuse. I was
ready for retirement anyhow. Janet retired from working with the State
of South Carolina eight months later. We have thoroughly enjoyed retirement.
We took a two week tour of the United Kingdom, visited Ireland (kissed
the Blarney Stone, visited the Dublin Harley-Davidson dealer), went
to Wales and Scotland (stayed in Room #666, an omen?). Thence to England.
Then a tragedy! Just before Christmas, 1999, our dear Julie suddenly
got sick. We rushed her to the hospital where they did all they could
for her, to no avail. She went straight to Heaven after lingering for
a few days. We had her with us for over 36 years, taking care of her
Julie backed into this world (breech birth) on December 9, 1963. She
was very small; we had to leave her in the hospital until she got up
to five pounds. We were referred to a doctor who specialized in baby's
hearts and to another who was the country's foremost expert in Downs
Syndrome. The heart specialist told us that Julie had a very large hole
between all four chambers of her heart, and that we would not be able
to get a surgeon willing to operate on her, because of her Downs (he
hinted that it would be better if she just died - I resisted the urge
to beat the shit out of him!) A fellow I worked with had a child with
Downs; he helped me quite a bit to understand the problem - a life saver
for both Janet and me. We got very active with the Association for Retarded
Two years later we moved to Lancaster, S. C., and brought Julie to
the doctor for a routine check-up. Miracle #1, her heart tested normal!
Apparently it had healed itself! We tried to organize a group of parents
who had retarded children, but many parents refuse to admit a problem.
SAD! On moving to Florence, however, we got a lot of help from people
with problems similar to ours. We enrolled Julie in a special school,
and when she was about ten years, she slowly began to walk! Eventually
she learned to feed herself from a bowl and to go to the bathroom. Our
pastor suggested that he give Julie her First Communion. He celebrated
Mass in our den, attended by many of our friends, and Julie received
Communion in her own plastic cup, in the form of wine. Our two boys
were extremely helpful over the years; we were able to have them baby
sit every once in a while. A couple of times, we took Julie to a K of
C party, and I danced with her. She followed better than some girls!
Julie stayed with us at home the whole time and gave us a lot of love.
Around September, 1999, we noticed that she started limping when she
walked. We took her to an orthopedic specialist. Through X-rays he found
that she had no hip socket in her right hip, thus impossible for her
to walk! But
Back to that emergency room just before Christmas of 1999: the doctors
found that Julie had a massive internal infection. We held out hope
for several days, but at the doctor's suggestion and after she had received
the Last Rites, we gave permission to turn off the ventilator. It was
the hardest thing I've ever done! There is no doubt that she went straight
to Heaven! Our older son wrote a song that he sang at Julie's funeral
Mass. Friends told us that there was not a dry eye in the Church after
the song. (1227 Manorway Dr., Florence SC 29501; firstname.lastname@example.org)
From PAT GALLAGHER ('53): Here is part of my contribution to
the Marist CollegeHeritage Project. In what follows I limit myself to
the general scene during my time living at the Marist property in Poughkeepsie.
Perhaps at another time I will share my memories of working at construction
on "the projects."
At the north end of the property was the Hermitage, an architectural
monstrosity; at one time it had been the Brothers' provincial house.
Brother Paul Ambrose Fontaine had it turned into sleeping quarters for
the student Brothers on campus. Our numbers ran to about 145. There
were rooms everywhere, and there was no way you could ever give someone
directions for all the turnings and staircases. It did not take long
for anyone to realize the fire hazards in the place, since it was entirely
made of wood. Around that time, if I remember correctly, there was a
disastrous fire in a Catholic grammar school. Brother Paul had difficulty
getting a company to insure our place. Eventually I think it was Lloyd's
of London that had us and Betty Grable's legs! One of the conditions
was that we had to have a night watchman prowling the corridors at night.
So it was, for a couple of years up to the time of my graduation in
1957. Of course, there is a story about how that building eventually
did burn down after the Brothers moved out.
On the ground floor of the Hermitage was the dining room, a long rather
narrow room with eight tables down each side. It was a hectic place
during meal times, but no one starved. One feature of the job assignments
was if you were to work in the kitchen helping the Brothers who were
assigned full-time to cooking, you would tend to the "knights of the
road" who would congregate awaiting a meal outside the back door on
the north side of the building. I think we had a pile of tin plates
and the knights received generous portions of whatever we had and what
was left over, unless through some type of legerdemain the cooks were
to transform some of the leftovers into something for another meal.
The knights, hoboes as we still called them at that time, did some work
for their meals at times. It was thought that they lived in the "hobo
jungle" a collection of shacks down by the railroad tracks at the south
end of the property. We really had little chance or reason to go any
where near that area.
Northwest of the Hermitage were the barns and pig pens, and later a
long, narrow chicken coop by the cliff overlooking the river. Eggs came
in regularly in huge numbers; they were trucked down to the Brothers'
schools in the city. In the monastic tradition we tried to support ourselves.
I wonder if, given a cost-benefit analysis, we made money on that; yet
we thought we were! Occasionally a pig would get loose from the pens.
This entailed a squad of Brothers going after the creature, manhandling
the reluctant sow or boar, and loading it onto a truck to be taken to
In the latter half of the 50's our life revolved around the Hermitage
with its dorms and dining room, the Marian building with its classrooms
and study halls, and the chapel. And, of course, there was construction
work all over the place. The old wooden frame Marian building was situated
about thirty feet west of Greystone. It contained two classrooms, two
labs, showers, and a changing area. After dinner we congregated in the
main room just outside two administration offices. The old library was
on the top floor of Greystone. I used to love to spend time reading
and even studying there. It was great to find a corner, smell the old
books, and read for hours. Many pleasant memories of that and of having
all my English major classes in the basement with Brother Kieran Thomas
and Mr. Sommers.
The chapel has quite a history. At one time the seven windows were
likened to huge 6' x 20' slides or transparencies depicting the Blessed
Mother and the apostles. A number of Brothers were selected to pose
for the pictures; garbed in robes and beards they traveled from the
college to the studio for the pictures. Would you believe that they
had a flat tire somewhere in Poughkeepsie, and the apostles had to fix
Aside from classes and project work, I undertook my own project of
working with the trees on the property. I got several thousand seedlings
from the government and planted them on the south end of the property.
I placed names on a whole batch of the mature trees, mainly around Marian:
green tags with white lettering. Close to thirty years later there were
still some of those trees with some of those tags. I confess to taking
one of the tags for a souvenir. I've retained the love of trees to this
day, and I continue to work with them, plant them and care for them.
After meals and before study periods in the evenings we would walk
down to the cemetery where the older brothers were buried, a number
of whom were my grammar school teachers at old St. Ann's Academy. We
would pause, maybe walk around the rows, and then walk back.
Another tradition was saying the Rosary walking the roads, a long line
of 145 student Brothers. In really hot weather we would sit in the grove
to the east of Greystone to say the Rosary. Occasionally we would say
the office there, too.
Like every other student at the college, I was taught by Dr. Schroeder,
the only layman on the campus for my first two years. He was a marvelous
man and a good teacher. Once he invited all the Brothers to take a hike
up to his house. In addition to giving us directions, he posted at key
intersections signs with large letters "JMJ" and arrows to make sure
we reached our destination.
Apple season: one day every fall the Brothers were allowed to pick
up all the apples that had fallen to the ground after the orchards had
been stripped. We could eat the apples but because of the insecticides
said Paul Ambrose: "Wipe today so that you don't have to wipe tomorrow!"
Apple day was a massive undertaking. The student Brothers were detailed
to picking, trans-porting, coring, packaging, and then carrying the
finished product packed in plastic bags and metal cans to a freezer.
It was really a day off from studies, and in the fall it was a marvelous
break. Of course, the main benefit was that we had all sorts of apple
products all winter long.
During the 1954 Marian Year the old gym, just south of the classroom
building, was filled with exhibits, each representing a Marian shrine
of the various nationalities at the college. There were the Spanish,
Canadians, Filipinos, Germans, and Chinese. Brother Cyril Robert, the
librarian and head of the Marian library, had this exhibit. I believe
there were busloads of people coming up to visit in that era of faith.
One visitor was Cardinal Ting, exiled from China; of course, the Chinese
brothers were particularly proud to have him there. Some of the exhibits
had water features, like Lourdes or Fatima, with holy water that people
were bottling and crossing themselves with
taken from the bathroom
faucet just off the gym floor!
There are many, many more memories, and each one is for me a treasure.
I feel that the Marist experience as a Brother and my days at Marian,
now Marist, provided me with values and a direction that have lasted
a lifetime. Now at 65 I look back with the fondest memories and ahead
with hope and faith.(Box 60, Indian Valley VA 24105; 540-789-4056; email@example.com)
From BILL DESCHENE ('53): "In Defense of a Redneck Brother"
When I was a freshman in high school, I went with my father to see a
Central Catholic basketball game. Central had no gym as yet, so the
game was played in the Lawrence Armory, a medieval looking building
with turrets and parapets and small windows. This building was later
replaced by an ugly box of bricks with no windows at all; it was used
to hide the goings on of the telephone company.
Basketball in Massachusetts in those days was a slow deliberate game,
almost cerebral in the execution of set plays, resulting in very low
scoring games. Thus with one second left in the game, Central led Punchard,
as Andover High School was called back then, by a score of 31 30.
Punchard's six foot seven inch center missed a desperation shot and
the hometown fans went wild. But wait! The referee had blown his whistle.
The Punchard player had been fouled "in the act," and was going to the
line for two free throws. Arrgh!! The booing from the crowd was deafening,
and showed no signs of desisting as the Punchard player approached the
line. Suddenly, a tall man in a Marist habit strode to mid court. His
salt and pepper hair was worn crew cut style, and his facial features
were chiseled and stern. The habit he wore did not conceal the fact
that he had a body that would be the envy of a Marine Corps Drill Sergeant.
He raised his hands, and the crowd quieted down. "We are going to give
this young man the courtesy that the good sportsmanship of the people
of Lawrence requires," he said. "I don't want to hear a pin drop while
he takes his shots."
There were many adults, like my Dad, in the stands, and perhaps the
entire student body, but there wasn't a sound when the big guy prepared
to take his first shot. He missed. A few people forgot their instructions
and started to cheer. But soon everyone fell into a nervous silence.
Definitely psyched out now, the shooter missed the shot that would have
sent the game into overtime. Central won! The noise of the erupting
crowd thrilled by that dramatic ending is etched deeply in the part
of my memory that remembers good things.
The man who quieted the crowd that night was Brother Leo Vincent, the
no-nonsense coach of the team. That he was greatly admired was attested
to by the fact that many of the student body, including moi, had crew
cuts. Good old Joe the Barber, who had cut my hair since I was a screaming
tot, was replaced by Jacques, who from his small shop on Boardway, gave
the flattest of all flattops in town.
During my sophomore year, Brother Leo became the no-nonsense principal
of the school. The discipline that only his students and players received
was now extended to all of us. His coaching duties were ably replaced
by Brother Timothy Gerard, who did not even come close to looking like
a Marine. His style of basketball was also different a fast-break,
all court press style that was more intuitive than cerebral, resulting
in higher scores. It was also very successful. Brother Tim, the non-marine
elicited the same dedication from his players as did his predecessor.
Early in my Junior year, Brother Claude, another non-marine type, was
attempting to conduct a pep rally in the new gym, but the natives were
restless. He waited patiently as was his wont, but word must have gotten
to the Principal's Office that there was trouble afoot. Clearing the
wall that separated the hallway from the gym stands, Brother Leo, with
moves that would have awed a swat team, dropped to the stands and was
immediately on the stage facing the stunned natives.
Then came the 'pin drop' speech again, and all was quiet at the front.
I felt bad for Brother Claude, my chain-smoking track coach and English
teacher. He elicited as much effort from us cinder pounders as any other
coach did from their charges. I am forever in his debt for introducing
me to the Rubyat, my all time favorite poem.
Later that year I did something that earned me a stint in detention.
I can't recall what it was, but here I was standing quietly in Room
22 with the other detainees. Detention wasn't long, only an hour, from
two to three. However, despite my love of Central's sports, I considered
the idea of school in general as something cruel and incomprehensible
that society did to kids. Any extra time there was stressful. It was
Brother Godfrey's turn to supervise detention, and although he was very
tall and from Georgia, he was not the marine type either, and he let
us out a quarter to three fifteen whole minutes early. For this, his
sins, if any, are forgiven I'm sure.
The next day I was called to the Principal's office. The conversation
went like this:
Brother Leo: Weren't you supposed to be in detention yesterday?
Me: I was there.
Brother Leo: You weren't there when I checked at three.
Me: Br. Godfrey dismissed us early.
Brother Leo: Detention is from two to three.
Me: (Something like, but, he, but
Brother Leo: YOU! Get yourself to Room 22 before - - - (something
like me ending up somewhere in the middle of next week)
Brother Leo: And stay there till I dismiss you.
I had the craziest urge to defy, resist, not to obey, run, but the instinct
to 'choose life' took over and I went off to Room 22.
I let my hair grow long after that. When I did get it cut, it was back
to Joe the Barber, even though that meant wearing a hat for three weeks
while my head healed itself. I didn't dislike Brother Leo, and I knew
he was trying to make "men" out of us, but I preferred the gentler approach
of my parents. They seemed to appreciate any effort I made to grow up.
By keeping their expectations low, they got more surprises than disappointments.
Years later I met Brother Leo when Declan, Ed Jennings and I went to
Florida during Christmas vacation. It was the early seventies. We stayed
at Pace High School in Opa Locka. The school is adjacent to the campus
of Biscayne College. Brother Leo was playing tennis on the college courts.
It was the 'crack o dawn' and I was on my way to find Miami Beach. Wally,
as he was known by many, had to be in his late sixties or early seventies.
He was in excellent shape a model for GI-Joe even then. As I watched
him play, the childish urge to defy him surfaced. "Dare tell me I can't
go to the beach," I thought.
Observing his perfect form move from side to side, and back and forth,
I remembered how proud I felt the night he quieted the crowd in the
Armory. Though my feelings were ambivalent when he tamed the beasts
at Brother Claude's rally, we did quiet down. And to my chagrin, I recalled
the times I had treated people in a no-nonsense way myself. I'll bet
I even used his phrasing on occasion. A picture of Wally the rebel formed
in my mind. "He wasn't going to ease into old age via the medication
route," I thought. "His fine condition must make the pill pushers sick."
After the set, Wally came over and we talked about the old days at
Central, and his guidance courses and classes. Yes, he did hear from
his old players from time to time, including Rene Roy's brother, St.
Theresa's own Pete Roy. Then it was time for another set for Wally and
time for me to be off to the beach on foot walking upright as is
peculiar to humans (and marines), not in a car with knees sticking up
and smelling of fossil fuel.(P.O. Box 156, Burlington (Biting Bug capital
of) Maine, 04417)
From JAMES (Luke Michael) MADDEN ('52): I'm sure St Helena's
holds many fond memories for those who had the privilege of teaching
there. For me, it will always be a nostalgic place where I was nurtured
by many special people. Often when alone, memories of St. Helena's,
some vivid others fuzzy, interrupt my reveries.
The Bronx of the late 1930's was a much more livable borough, at least
for the families on Virginia Avenue. Parkchester was just a thought
in the minds of the Metropolitan Life executives. The vast property
destined to become Parkchester was owned by the Catholic Protectory,
which cared for boys. My Dad took me there to see the pigs when I was
very young. I have a picture of me and the local kids at a picnic. The
acreage was so large that we look like we are in a field upstate. Then
sometime in 1939 or 40, I remember huge steel girders rising. Soon the
skin of bricks crept up around the girders and the vast open space became
a city of stores and homes for many new residents, some of whom would
become my classmates. Parkchester brought on the need for a new parish
and its boundary would include my home on Virginia Avenue. Our original
church and my first grade had been St. Anthony's. It no longer exists,
displaced by the Cross Bronx Expressway.
The initial St. Helena's building was a former beer garden. During
the week I attended second grade there. On the weekend the rather small
building was transformed into a church by the generous efforts of parishioners
like my Dad. Later in the history of St. Helena's, it would take many
more volunteers to keep the new church building functioning but my parents
never wavered from volunteering. The crisp clean fall air would herald
in the Bazaar. It was preceded by a grand parade through the streets
of Parkchester. Once again my Dad played a prominent part. He and my
Mom worked all week at the Bazaar. And Dad rode in a 1920's Reo, dressed
in top hat and tails; luckily I have a picture of that taken along Unionport
Monsignor Scanlon will always live in my memory as that inspiring pastor
who strode down the main isle of this majestic church during the end
of mass while leading his congregation in song. The other early priests
were Fathers O'Reilly, O'Shea, Hargrove and Mackinnie. I believe it
was Father Hargrove who became a chaplain during the war. The dedicated
nuns were Sparkill Dominicans headed by Sister Parissima. When I reached
the seventh grade three Marist Brothers came to instruct the boys: Brothers
Conan Vincent, Edmund Jude and Paul Stokes
Eighth grade was special. We were bussed to a new annex, St Joseph's
School for The Deaf. We had the top floor of the huge building on the
west side of the boulevard. Brother Conan instructed us to step lightly
when ascending the stairs, as the deaf students were sensitive to vibrational
noise. This was well taken; you can imagine how 13-year-old boys can
sound like a herd of stampeding cattle. I was lucky to have instructors
to teach me respect for others.
My father never stopped working for St Helena's, often working at the
annex as well as at the church. A former classmate's father, Mr. Parker,
often joined him. Mr. Parker volunteered his services because his other
son, Robert Parker, was then a Marist Brother.
Everyone knows the rest of the story concerning St. Helena's, but few
know or maybe can't appreciate the dedication of the early parishioners,
priests, sisters and brothers who built this parish.24 Hickory Rd, Bayville
NY 11709; firstname.lastname@example.org; 516-628-1661)
From GENE ZIRKEL ('53): I was blessed with a wonderful Marist
summer, attending the Spirituality Institute in Poughkeepsie and later
working in the kitchen in Esopus during the camp run by the Brothers
for retarded adults. I am very impressed at the camp. Many teenagers
gave up a week of their summer vacation to help. I know from my experiences
at the Handicapped Encounter Christ Cursillo weekends that the handicapped
can be very difficult. The kids were beautiful, walking their charges
hand in hand, calming them down when they were disturbed, taking them
swimming, seeing that they ate. Another group of teens worked in the
scullery washing dishes for 200 people three times a day. These teens
from Molloy, St Francis, Mary Louis Academy, etc. were an inspiration.
It is great that the Brothers provide this opportunity for them to serve.
While in Esopus I visited the new graves of Lenny, Adolph, and Pat Tyrell,
and of course the graves of all my other friends from the past. I ask
all of these saints to pray for me.
For my Marist autumn Pat and I look forward to the Mount Picnic and
to an October meeting in Framingham, Massachusetts, where the "religious
and laity leadership from each of the Marist Family branches will explore
collaboration on Marist laity development." (6 Bracatelli Court, West
Islip NY 11795; 631-669-0273; email@example.com)
From PAT KEILTY ('65): When I wrote last, I wasn't sure where
we would be settling in Florida. It turns out that the moving van took
us to Manatee County in the sunshine state, where Anne and I are teaching
at Lakewood Ranch in Bradenton. Anne is teaching seventh grade English
at Braden River Middle School, and I'm teaching algebra and geometry
at Lakewood Ranch High School. We are living with Jake the Corgi in
a two-bedroom apartment near our schools, but we are having a house
build in Sarasota, due to be ready next March
with a pool, of course.
Our daughters, Justine and Erin, are still mending slowly from their
life-threatening car accident last June, but thank God, they will be
okay. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.(8140 Nature's Way
Apt 14; Bradenton FL 34202; 941-907-0237; firstname.lastname@example.org)
From DAN (Daniel Augustine) HANLEY ('57): I received the paper
copy of Marists All and immediately I went to the M.A. web site. I'm
working at Elgin Air Force Base on a database for the E- 3 Airborne
Warning and Control Aircraft (AWACS). We also work with NATO and the
French. I'm trying to get to develop a web-based instruction in radar
for the E-3 Electronic Combat Officers. So I've been studying Dreamweaver,
Photoshop, and Flash. It is a lot of fun. I came upon the attached picture
of Father Staves taken around 1957. Apparently he needed a rest after
hearing all of our confessions.(2731 Semoran Dr., Pensacola FL 32503;