ISSUE # 88

May 2007
61 Golf View Drive, Little Egg Harbor, NJ 08087; 609-294-2148;
24 Prestwick Court, Poughkeepsie NY 12603; 845 454 1393;
65 Muirfield Court, Poughkeepsie NY 12603; 845 454 6116;
476 La Playa, Edgewater, FL 32141; 386-426-6349;

1013 Hollywood Avenue, Des Plaines IL 60016; 847-824-1073; 

click on email address to send email 
click on  correspondent or topic to go to that item  


George Bagnell '57
Joan Brady
John Brady '57

William Buckley  '60
Pat Fazzari  '55
Br Charles Filiatrault  '55

Rich Foy  '45
Jim Gargan  '59
Br Hank Hammer  '75

Br Joachim Heng  '62
Br John Herrmann  '59
David Kammer '42
Br Frank Klug  '44

Manny Lopez  '68
John Miller  '57
Gus Nolan  '48
John O'Connell  '58

John Scileppi  '68
Bill Shannon  '58
Rich Shaw  '58
Frank Sutton  '59

John Willcox  '57
Gene Zirkel  '53
Patricia Zirkel





 Marist Family Laity Service Committee

MaristsAll 20 years

Thirteenth Annual Family
Spirituality Weekend

Br. Joachim Heng  '63
John Heng  61

Esopus Gathering

Photo Album in MaristsAll Website

Plaudits for MaristsAll

Links to the Marist World

Future communications

Investing in MaristsAll

In Memoriam
Br. Simeon Ouellet  '45
Br. Matthew Snowden  '48
Br Bernard Ruth  '58
Donald "Ted" Gray

Archive Excerpts
Br Paul Ambrose
Judy Kammer
Martin Lang  '47
Don Edwards  '57
Br  Patrick Magee  '43
Don Schmidt  '53




Twenty years ago a publication was born.   With an address list seemingly kept together with duct tape, mail arrived to members of the Marist Family, Near and Far:  “This note is coming to you from David Kammer.  I hope the note will soon become a newsletter, quarterly perhaps.  Most of us appreciate the province newsletters, whether we hear about the content indirectly, or get a copy through friends in community, or are fortunate enough to be on a province mailing list.  I feel that we would be equally happy about a wider ranging newsletter….  We would like to mail a newsletter to every Marist community in the U.S. and to every U.S. address where there is a Marist at heart.”

Our readers today, still bound by a Marist Spirit - sometimes palpable, other times elusive - share a unique relationship.   Four times a year more than five hundred men and women either sit before their computers to read the latest issue or scramble to tear open the printed copy delivered once again through regular mail.  Whether currently a Little Brother of Mary who has recreated his life of vows, or was once called to that life years ago and subsequently listened to a Voice that allowed a change of direction, or was connected to the Marist Brothers in some special way, the reader shares a bond of commitment to the Marist way of life in the Roman Catholic tradition.  

 Readers hail from every continent and every walk of life.  They read in earnest the varied mini biographies, anecdotes, memories, and yes, obituaries written by and about people they have known or may not know.  One is filled with awe after reading through each issue about how providentially we are connected in such a strangely wonderful way.

My first impulse in attempting to celebrate this unique publication was to reprint many of the most stimulating earlier contributions.  And to a lesser extent, we will do that.  But through a website kept alive by the dedication of Richard Foy, previous issues await the next reader to peruse those contributions by chronology or by author.  Redundancy is not our mission! (Editor)


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From DAVID KAMMER (’42):  “There are really no ex-Marists.”  Recently in perusing past issues of Marists All I found that quote attributed to Mike O’Shea by Rich Jambor in our #43, February 1998 issue.  I really believe that short line holds the root of the creation and duration of Marists All.  Within it is the Marist Spirit that we shared in and that was fostered by multiple common experiences in Christian fraternal living.  That Marist Spirit has affected the depth of where we are today.  In an amazing way all becomes vivid again when together we have occasion to sing “Salve Regina.” 

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From GUS NOLAN (’48): It seems fitting that this May 2007 issue of Marists All contain a number of historical notes since it marks the twentieth anniversary of the first issue. In December ‘86, at a gathering of the Poughkeepsie GMC, David Kammer proposed to those present the idea of a newsletter that would be wider ranging than the one coming from the Marist Provinces. “We propose to share news about all of us that we may rejoice with one another and be concerned about the distressed."  What a venture Marists All has been! 

This is the 88th issue, most of which have been ten pages in length - with no paid advertising. Over the years more than 430 individuals have contributed written pieces to it, and 225 have contributed financially at least once, and many, more than once. Written contributions have come from a wide range of individuals, including Marist Brothers, former Brothers, friends of the Marist world, and wives and families of deceased members. The overwhelming response in these accounts is the tremendous effect the “Spirit of Champagnat” had on everyone.  The dedication of so many to education and to service of those in need is impressive.

One of the greatest accidental benefits has been the re-uniting of old friends who had lost contact with one another for a number of reasons:  different vocational paths, educational pursuits, job opportunities, family commitments - just to mention a few.  The reunions have been the occasion of genuine joy in meeting again and in offering all kinds of help and support in times of need. The newsletter has also brought updates and news on things in the Marist world and on the happenings in the lives of the more than five hundred recipients of each issue.

But none of this would have happened were it not for the dedication of David and Judy Kammer who edited each issue in the early years.  They then drove from Harwinton, CT to Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY to get printed copies, bring them home, stuff and  “kabonk” them (stamp the return address), and mail each with a first class stamp. A laborious and dedicated operation - reduced greatly by other helpful hands and now by e-mail. The creation of a Marists All web site by Richard Foy in December 2000 was a great technological step forward. Enhancements later by John Noone have made it possible to get to earlier issues and various kinds of data.

Each issue brings a fresh account of something new in the lives of so many. One example might be the wonderful experience a small group of us had each week during February and March this year, meeting to discuss a current religious or theological issue. Meeting in the winter home of Richard and Barbara LaPietra in Florida, Marty Lang and I and sometimes joined by - Kevin and Donna Carolan. Ray and Jean Morrissey, David and Judy Kammer, Anne Lang and Liz - we discussed for over an hour such topics as: Science and Religion, Understanding the Gospels (selections of Mark and John), The Question of Miracles, and the meaning of  “The Will of God.”  I think we all profited by the meetings and hope to renew this effort in winter 2008. The inter-connectedness of Marists All was surely the bond that brought this group together, for which I am especially grateful.

I hope and pray that Vince Poisella will be able to maintain his energies to mirror the great work of David Kammer as he serves as “Editor-in-chief” of Marists All.

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Thirteenth Annual Marist Family Spirituality Weekend


From JOHN SCILEPPI (’68):  There is still time to let us know if you are willing and able to join us at Marist College from July 13 through July 15, 2007 for our Marist Family Spirituality Weekend. To register for the weekend, send a $25 deposit to Maurice Bibeau at 2 Van Wert Place, Hyde Park, NY 12538.  For additional information, contact me at  Thank you.

From GENE ZIRKEL (‘53):  On Friday, July 13th, 2007, preceding the annual get-together at Marist College, there will be a “Day of Prayer” starting at 11:00 am.  Anyone interested in joining us should kindly contact Pat or Gene Zirkel as soon as possible at  or  or  at (631) 669 0273 .  

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Links with the Marist World

 (Other than the Internet links below, please mark your calendars for September 8, 2007, for the annual “link” with the Greater Marist Community to be held at Mt. St. Michael Academy in the Bronx.  Share the joy and excitement of reconnecting, and catch up with those with whom you have shared so much in the past at the annual picnic. Ed.)  - for those who want to know about the Marists and Marist Spirituality (Christine Colomban, web master at - the Marist Brothers International website - the new U.S. Marist Brothers website - Esopus retreat house

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The Phenomenon of the Esopus Gathering

 From JOHN O’CONNELL (’58):  Just returned home to Maine after our fifth annual OB/bWAT "Gathering" in Esopus, as usual renewed/refreshed and amazed about what being together with each other once again means to us Marist Brothers/brothers -something transcendent about it all, for sure. To think that our OB/bWAT network has grown to include now about 165 of us (so far...still looking!) who were in training together sometime during those '54-62 years, including thirty-three others who have gone on before us.  It all began rather humbly with eleven of us coming together at various times during 2003 to spend time with Bill Reffelt during the last several months of his life (RIP, September '03). 

 This year, seven in “our group” were there: George Bagnell, Pat Fazzari, Vin Poisella, Bill Shannon, Richie Shaw, Russ Therriault, and myself.  Six of us traveled over to the Poughkeepsie train station to welcome illustrious NYC physician, Dr. Pat Fazzari.  Richie Shaw had opted for the small-b brotherhood at the end of postulant year, so he and Pat hadn't been with each other in just about 50 years.  Neat, eh?

For the first time we had representation from two groups ahead of us, once- outstanding student-athlete, Ray Landry ('56). The big-B Brothers from this group just celebrated their 50th Jubilee.  Congratulations to Brendan Brennan, Tom Coyne, Felix Elardo, Steve Kappes, and Vincent Moriarity.  And we had Tom Hourican (’60) from two groups behind us.

Pat O'Neil ('57) was a "first timer" this April, connecting with his group's "regulars" John Brady and John Wilcox, and two-timer Leo Byron, all of us missing Don Edwards, RIP last September, who graced us, literally, with his presence at our '05 & '06 Gatherings and shared his struggle with prostate cancer; just as our '58 group missed Bernie Ortuoste, with us for the first three Gatherings, but who also went on before us last year, RIP in July.

Frank Sutton ('59) was able to get down from Vermont for a couple of days and connected with Bill Dougherty, Jim Gargan, and Br. John Herrmann. Br. Don Nugent was able to get away enough to join us a couple of times, and we sure remember his partner in running the Esopus retreat/summer camp operations, Br. Joe Di Benedetto, who also went on before us last year, RIP in March.

Don is assisted now by two lay volunteers, one of whom (talk about full cycle) is Pat McMahon's son.  Pat ('60) had spent five years on the Esopus property '56-61 and had passed on several years ago.

Jim Friel ('52), who taught with Dom "Mike" Apostoli, Vinnie Hall, and me, along with Br. George Fontana, at Central in Lawrence during our first year out in  '62-63, and who was the last one of us to have had any contact with Vinnie Hall  (RIP, February '01), has been with us now for four Gatherings in a row, as has Jerry Byrne (’60).

It is difficult to capture for everyone the spirit of these Gatherings of "old men/geezers" or of doing justice to the richness of our many conversations and discussions.

Our 6th annual Esopus Gathering will once again be the end of the week following Easter Sunday, March 23rd, 2008.  Join us whenever you can from Wednesday PM through Sunday AM, March 26th-30th, the Good Lord willing...and if it works for Br. Don! Come be with us, as we once were.

An addendum:  Our long-distance travelers got home safely.  Russ Therriault left Sunday afternoon out of La Guardia despite a cancelled flight, a re-booking, and some hours of layover in Atlanta, before getting into Pensacola and home twelve hours later.  Richie Shaw did some family visiting for a day or so and got out of Islip and back to San Diego without a hitch.  (

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Plaudits for Marists All from the Esopus Gatherers

John “Oke” O’Connell (’58):  The impetus for our annual “gathering” in Esopus of “Big B” and “small b” brothers began in 2003, and the huge internet connection between and among those of us with training roots in the ’54 -‘62 years in Esopus, Tyngsboro, and Poughkeepsie is traceable back to the vision of us as Marists All, whether serving others “in” or “out”.  Thanks for twenty years of persistently maintaining the interrelatedness of us all, Marist B/brothers once and for always.

Pat Fazzari (’58):  The “Marist continuum” is a force we are just beginning to appreciate; it informs us more than we know.

Frank Sutton (’59):  I look forward to receiving Marists All and am impressed by the good that the brothers (Brothers) continue to do.  The association I had with the Marists had been extremely positive, and the means of “keeping in touch” spreads the news.

Leo Byron  (’57) (  Marist years, great years, building years that have lasted to this day.  The Esopus gatherings are joyful meetings of old friends that keep that special something feeling alive and warm.

John Wilcox (’57):  It is as if we were all back in 1956-61.  Marist is so much a part of who I am, and I can tell that this is true for everyone else here.  You can never leave.

Rich Shaw (’58):  Twenty years of Marists All!  Seems like one year and a hundred years at the same time.  Thanks to all for the Marist Spirit, which for me is the source of strength and joy and ability to deal with all the challenges of life.

Br. John Herrmann (’59):  The time spent together has been the greatest.  Thank you for all of the sharing, but in particular, the caring; you all will never be forgotten.

Jerry Byrne (’60):  I found Marists All by pure happenstance in 2001 while trying to connect with an old friend from my Marist training years.  I received an email from Dave Kammer saying I might be interested in Marists All.  Wow!  A whole sense of history was opened to me.  I found old friends from years past and now look forward to each new issue.  What a wonderful thing we have in Marists All.

George Bagnell (’58):  Getting together after 45 to 50 years is a beautiful, exhilarating experience that has helped me to reconnect with my brothers, giving me a fantastic experience of loving and caring camaraderie.

Bill Shannon (’58):  Every issue of Marists All returns me to a very meaningful segment of my life, a period during which I was fortunate enough to make a deep and meaningful connection to a caring and dedicated group of men.  Each time I receive a new issue it reconnects me to people I lived and worked with.  It is wonderful to see how many of these people are still reaching out to others in so many different ways.  Thank you for this spiritual tonic that you provide to all of us. 

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From BR. JOACHIM HENG  ’62:  I promised to write a short story about myself. I must say that writing is not one of my strong points, yet here is a brief account of my story since I was in Poughkeepsie.

After making my first vows in Tyngsboro in August of 1963 with a group of 16 young Brothers, I went to Marist College, Poughkeepsie, for three years and was granted a BA degree.  My major field was physics.  Vatican II was in session, so we learned a lot of new ideas.  My three years at Marist College were very enriching and helpful.  After my college studies, I returned to Malaysia and taught in Catholic High School, Petaling Jaya (near Kuala Lumpur) for ten years. I had a six-month break in 1973 to attend the Centre Champagnat course in Rome; there were five or six American Marists: Luke Driscoll and Kevin Moran are names I still remember vaguely.  From 1977 to1979 I was in Hong Kong teaching in St. Francis Xavier School; I also helped out in the novitiate.

In mid-1979 I was elected and appointed the provincial.  I carried this heavy duty for ten years until the end of 1989. No doubt, it was with the help of God and Mary that I got through the job. But I never really got out of provincial administrative work, for I continue to be in the Provincial Council until now.

In 1994 I went to teach in Catholic High School, Sibu, Sarawak, East Malaysia. In 1996 I was appointed principal of the school and headed that school for ten years. At the end of 2005, due to my poor health, I retired from the job.

Since January 2006, I have been in Melaka, Malaysia; I now help out in the local parish, and I am still on the Provincial Council.  Note: Melaka, or Malacca, is a historical city. It was one of the first cities in the Far East visited and occupied by Europeans. The Portuguese came here in 1511, and St. Francis Xavier first visited Malacca in 1545.

My brother, Br. John Heng (’61), has been a missionary in Zambia for many years.  His email address is or  I do not have the postal or email address of John Lek.  He works on the mainland of China, but he does not communicate with us, and we are told not to communicate with him.  I am sure you know the reason.  I hope my story and the above information are of some use to you.  Once again, many thanks for sending me the Marists All.  (#251 Jolan Gajah Bernag, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia,

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From PATRICIA ZIRKEL: The Marist Family consists of five branches: four vowed congregations and the laity associated with each of these groups. These laity groups strive to live the spirituality and participate in the mission of each of the Marist congregations. Recently there has been an effort among the different lay groups to open channels of communication, explore common interests, and examine how the groups might help one another in the future. Called the Marist Family Laity Service Committee, the committee consists of Ann Brown, Christine Colomban, Kathryn Jenkins, Angela Laesch, Claire Leonard, Elizabeth Roszkowski, Bob Spruce, Gene Zirkel and Patricia Zirkel.

The purpose of the committee is to foster communication and collaboration through the sharing of resources and ideas among all Marist laity groups. This sharing will facilitate a greater understanding and living of Marist spirituality and further the work of Mary. Among the tasks of the new committee are a website, the formulating of a Marist spirituality for laity, and the planning of a third National Laity Conference.

 For more information, and to see pictures of the group, go to, and select “Marist Family Laity Service Committee.” (472 Village Oaks Lane, Babylon, NY 11702; 631-669-0273;

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From JOHN BRADY (’57):  Since I haven’t written in a while, I thought I’d share some thoughts and updates.  I finally retired in June of ’06 after some 45 years as an active educator, the last thirty-two years as a guidance director/counselor.  I worked on the high school level, then middle school for fifteen years and finally with fourth and fifth graders for the last three years.  Apprehensive at first about working with such young students, I can say that I came to absolutely love it.

Since retiring I’ve been really busy.  Don’t know how I had time to work.  My wife Joan and I have had a great time traveling and catching up on projects that require both of our effort full-time.  We traveled to Ireland last September, visited Joan’s mom in California in October (she’s ninety-two and living on her own), and went to Florida in February and again to California in March.  We’re planning a trip to Italy for September.  It’s so nice after all the years of schedules and job responsibilities to be able to plan ahead to do things and not be bound by calendar restrictions.  It’s also a blessing to be able to do all these things while we both enjoy good health.

 Our son John, who has Down syndrome, has been in a group home now since September of 2001.  He is in a really good situation and like his brother Matt, has moved out and is on his own.  What a relief knowing that he is well cared for, is happy, and has his own life.  This is what you hope for as a parent with all of your children.

I had the pleasure over the weekend of April 13-14 to join the OB/bWAT gathering in Esopus.  It’s a great experience.  The atmosphere of trust and support and encouragement that exists at the gathering is an example of Marist spirit in action.  Our Marist background formed each of us, and our lives have exhibited that spirit in so many different ways, no matter what path we took.  As we shared and socialized, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the goodness and spirituality of everyone and their concern for each other.  That is the real ongoing motivation for OB/bWAT.

A word about Marists All:  what a service to everyone who receives it and reads it.  It helps to bind us together.  It reinforces our Marist Spirit.  It allows each of us to see what others have and are experiencing.  What a gift!  (

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From JOAN BRADY:  After listening to “the quiet man” grouse about how his letter to Marists All (and his life) wasn’t very dramatic, I asked if I could add a wifely post-script (or as he called it—my “two-cents worth”) to Marists All.  For the past thirty-four years I have lived with a man whose strength lies not in saying who he is but in being who he is—a man who has, over the years, quietly and greatly influenced kids and teachers, family and friends—and doesn’t even realize his impact.  He is a man of integrity and is Marist-driven -- and I believe I’ve become a Marist, too! 

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From JOHN (David Joseph) MILLER (‘57): WHAT A CHRIST FILLED DAY it was when I discovered Marists All. In the early 60’s, when I returned to Wheeling, WV from Marist College, I immediately felt a void in my life. I really didn’t want to leave, but it was apparent to some that I was lacking many academic qualifications that were needed at that time-- my emphasis of study in high school was business education and when my calling was made known, it was felt I would be as asset to the Order. How I ended up with a major in biology is still a mystery and by now has been forgotten.

 Even though I returned to where Marist Brothers were teaching, I was determined to pursue my education and continue my calling to ministry as a lay member of the Church.  It would not be until March of 2006, with the help of the Internet, that I made contact with the vocation director of the Order who made me aware of Marists All and the contact information that was available. It was then that almost fifty years of absence turned into a renewal with those I loved and had been praying for on a daily basis.

Immediately, I started reading back issues of Marists All and with the help of David Kammer (a West Virginian, I might add) learned of a guy named  “Oke” and his endeavor to locate as many Brothers/brothers as possible. I would learn that this person was John O’Connell, a member of the class of ‘58 at Tyngsboro. My first e-mail to John was met with an immediate response, and my name was listed with the others who had been found. My next endeavor was to make contact, via e-mail, with as many from the group of ’57 as possible. I received less response than I had hoped, but the end result today is almost daily contact with David Kammer, Oke, Lawrence Whartenby, and Don Mulcare.

If you refer to past issues of our newsletter, you will find articles I was encouraged to write about my personal life and faith journey:  life events and struggles, leaving the Catholic Church, serving God’s children as a United Methodist pastor, and my starvation of being without the Body and Blood of Christ on a daily basis.  In one of the last issues of our newsletter, I was happy to report that after the elimination of some unnecessary  “red tape,” I had returned HOME and I am now involved in lay ministry for my parish. There is no hesitation in exclaiming that my return to the Catholic Church was the plan of God from the very beginning, but fostered in large part by the influence of Marists All, OB/bWAT, and the B/brothers who encouraged me in my effort.

However, another CHRIST FILLED DAY resulted through the efforts of OB/bWAT and Marists All. As a result of much e-mail, last August I received a note from Larry Whartenby that his son and family lived in Pittsburgh. He and Lois were planning to come there in December for the birth of yet another grandchild. It was then that plans were made that we would meet, God willing, on December 30, at a designated location for our own personal reunion. That DAY finally arrived and after a drive of only about one hour, Larry and I embraced in the lobby of the Embassy Suites Hotel: TALK ABOUT A WARM EXCHANGE OF THE MARIST SPIRIT!

As I hold in my hands Issue #87 of Marists All, I extend prayers and personal gratitude to David Kammer, Vin Poisella. Richard Foy, Gus Nolan, and now Rob Schmidt, for their combined twenty years of reuniting us as “B/b’s” through our publication. I also want to express the same prayers and gratitude to John O’Connell (Oke) for all that he does to keep us up to date with the latest happenings in our lives.

 Whether we are  “big B or small b B/brothers,” there is no doubt that God and our Mother Mary are proud of the unity and Marist Spirit that have continued to flourish since the beginning with St. Marcellin Champagnat through the efforts of Marists All and OB/bWAT.   LAUDETOR JESUS CHRISTUS! ET MARIA MATER EJUS! (

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From MANNY LOPEZ (’63):  After reading this last issue of Marists All, I am inspired to write a few lines in commemoration of its twentieth anniversary.  In the past few years I’ve been led to think upon my Marist roots and how it all came to be.  When I look back, I think of only one thing:  in the tender years of my youth God chose to call this young man of Puerto Rican descent to become a Marist Brother.  To me it was a chance of a lifetime.  You hear God’s voice and you choose to respond, no matter the outcome; but it was too bad I didn’t continue.  I would have had a host of memories of the young kids I taught or tutored, and I would have seen them grow and become young men and women of substance.  At this time, when mortality beckons, I am in a mad rush to make up for the mistakes of my youth.  But one thing has become clear.  For at least six years of my life, my experiences were worthwhile and so was my life.  Everything else pales in comparison.  So, in honor of our twenty years together and in honor of Marists All, I say “ad multos annos,” and may the love of God and His Blessed Mother shine on us all! (1453 Shore Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11214-6329, 718-373-3482,

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From WILLIAM BUCKLEY (’80):  I highly recommend that any of us who have the chance to visit the area surrounding Lyons in France should consider a stop at Notre Dame de l'Hermitage.  Even if you have only part of a day, it's worth the time, if only to visit the chapel where you'll find the reliquary with the remains of Father Champagnat and the tomb of Brother François.  The Brothers at the Hermitage are exceptionally welcoming and most happy to receive you.

With the help of Michael Flanigan, who is on the staff of the Generalate in Rome, I was able to reserve a room at the Hermitage for the three days that straddle the New Year holiday.  I had presumed the Brothers would provide me a comfortable room with meals in the retreatants' part of the house, but to my surprise and good fortune I lived in the residence with the Brothers, took all my meals with them, and became part of the community of thirteen Brothers.  This even included the festivities for New Year's Eve.  Their hospitality was extraordinary, and I could not have been more at ease.  I think all of us would be very impressed by their love for the Founder and would find his spirit very alive in the house.  One of the Brothers was most willing and happy to take me on a driving tour to LaValla and Marlhes and several of the sites that we all know from stories of Father Champagnat.  When it was time to take leave for Paris, they asked me "when are you coming back?"    This can be the perfect retreat, even if you have time only to stop for an hour or two at the visitors' center and to pray in the chapel.  (432 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016; 212-725-9630;

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In Memoriam

From BR. HANK HAMMER (’75):  Br. Matthew Snowden (’48) died on Sunday, April 22.  Matty was born on January 3, 1929, and entered the Marist Brothers Novitiate in 1947.  He professed first vows in 1948 and completed the scholasticate in 1953. His first teaching assignment was at St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset followed by assignments at Central Catholic High School in Wheeling and Mt. St. Michael Academy before going to second novitiate in 1964. After second novitiate, Matty studied at the Alexian Brothers School of Nursing in Chicago.  As a nurse, Matty ministered at the Marist Brothers infirmary in Tyngsboro and St. Clare’s Hospital in New York City.  Matty retired to Champagnat Hall in 1997. At his funeral on April 25 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in the Bronx, Brother Nicholas Caffrey remembered Matty as a man who had a spirit of doing things for other people.  Nick commented that the whole idea of becoming a nurse was his way of offering help to other people.  (

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From JOHN O’CONNELL (’58):  With a heavy heart, I need to inform you that Br. Bernie Ruth, from our ’58  “group,” has gone on before us.  Br. Bernie was from Landshut, Germany, joining us for college in Poughkeepsie in 1959.  Thanks to Br. Vinnie Benedict, I was able to connect with Bernie just last spring.  He had been struggling with diabetes down in Miami, having just had both his legs amputated, but he was his usual up-beat self.  I can’t picture him without a smile on his face.  Can anybody?

From GENE ZIRKEL:  Brother Bernie has gone to heaven. I never think of Bernie as a “holy” man. But good, yes. Always smiling. Always glad to see people. And good people go to heaven.  Bernie lived in community. At times it is wonderful, as most families are. At times it is not so wonderful, as most families experience. In the more than thirty years I knew him, I never heard him complain about anyone he lived with. That’s goodness!

St. Bernie lost both feet to diabetes. He remained upbeat about his recovery, his prostheses, his healing, and his rehab. He did speak often about how good the Brothers were in helping him.

He loved a party. Now he celebrates with Jesus, the Cana party-thrower, who brought seven large jugs of good wine to the celebration. Now they dance together.

I don’t know if you have ever been at a Jewish wedding. We have been privileged to watch the male guests dance, to watch them hoist the bridegroom seated upon his chair up in the air, and to watch them dance wildly around the room with him. I cannot picture Jesus standing by in a corner while this was going on. No, I see him as one of the strong young men holding the chair on high, laughing, dancing exuberantly. St. Bernie can dance once again, and I picture Jesus inviting him to join in the fun.

From JIM GARGAN (’59): I remember how our brother Bernie Ruth always got a kick out of the English idiom, "Hurry up down!"   It’s funny how things stay with you.  When we were new scholastics, he also liked to kibbitz with us and pretended that he was from Brooklyn.  Some of us fell for it. (

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From BR. CHARLES FILIATRAULT (’55):  Br. Simeon Ouellet (’45), formerly known as Br. Simeon Arthur, died suddenly at our 136th Street community in Miami on the night of Saturday, February 17thSimeon was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on September 4, 1928 and received the Marist habit on July 26, 1945. After obtaining a BA degree at the then Marian College in Poughkeepsie, Simeon was assigned to teach at St. Joseph High School in Lowell, Massachusetts. His assignment in Lowell was followed by assignments to St. Ann’s Academy and St. Helena High School.  Other assignments included the tailor shop in Esopus, Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, Cardinal Hayes High School, Marist High School in Chicago, Mt. St. Michael Academy, Kobe, Japan, and Christopher Columbus High School in Miami.  After many years of faithful ministry, Simeon retired to the 136th Street community in Miami where he became an active member of St. John Neumann parish. He was well known to many parishioners in his role as Eucharistic minister.  (

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From DAVID KAMMER (’42):  Donald "Ted" Gray ('63) died in Brownsville, Texas, on Wednesday, April 18th at the age of 62 after a battle with stomach cancer.  Ted left the Marist Brothers from St. Joseph's Academy after teaching there for five years.  He taught emotionally disturbed children in Austin, Texas, for one year and then returned to St. Joseph's to be teacher, athletic director, and coach.  In 1977 Ted took employment as a federal probation/parole officer from which he retired at age 57 in 2001. Ted and his wife Rosario have one daughter, Katrina, a graduate of St. Joseph's.  The Gray home is at 85 Westchester Circle, Brownsville, Texas, 78521-4055.

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From FRANK KLUG:  The following letter appeared in the Brownsville Herald concerning Ted Gray: (

          I am compelled to write how my hero and former coach, Ted Gray, had a major influence on my life. Coach Gray had a profound effect on my life; he introduced the concept of strength conditioning to me at a very early age.  During the early 1970’s weight training was not a very popular concept, as there were many myths: for one, you would become muscle-bound, weights would slow you down, and you would be labeled dumb. Coach Gray was an innovator and way ahead of his time. He introduced the concept that strength conditioning would ultimately create a greater athlete.

I will never forget the first day I saw Coach Gray. He was a giant of a man, I being a seventh-grader at the time.  I was told by my peers that he was the head football coach of the Mighty Bloodhounds. It took me months to build up enough courage to approach him and ask if I could play football. At the time I weighed 105 pounds. His response was that I needed to lift weights. Coach invited me to the field house, and my life has never been the same.  Who would think that this seventh-grader would one day become a national champion, set state records and open a gym in Brownsville? As a direct result of Coach Gray’s teachings, my life and the lives of many young men and women l have trained have been changed dramatically.

To Coach Gray, thank you!  I will never forget the impact you had on my life.  It was very difficult to say goodbye, but I know you are in a better place. Your memory will remain with me forever. (Tito Mata Jr., Brownsville)

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Marists All Website: all/

Those of our readers who access Marists All through our website have already perused past issues or the list of past writers.  They have sought contact information for those on our mailing list or have read an obituary or eulogy from a recently deceased member of our group.  Others of our readers may not have access to cyberspace or have merely relied on the printed copies sent to their home addresses four times a year.  Rich Foy, our web master, has expanded a section of that website under the menu category “Photo Album.”  This section contains group photos of Marist Brothers over the years, including the investiture photo of the group of ’57, the group celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.  In a correspondence from David Kammer to John O’Connell, David wrote:  “This is the 50th anniversary of the group!  Can that be?  Six of those in the picture are officially celebrating their Golden Jubilee this year as Marists:  Nick Caffrey, George Fontana, Kevin Handibode, Pat Hogan, Bill Lambert, and Fabian Mayor.  And of course, Ron Pochintesta, John Ruel, and Captain Tim Dooley made it all the way. (And more recently, Bernard Ruth) Congratulations to all.  Owen Lafferty and Charley Collins became priests.  I’m sure all the others have some claim to fame!  Too bad we don’t know about all of that.”(Ed.)  (Webmeister's note:  To get to the photo album, open the MaristsAll website, , click on the left hand drop-down menu item called "Home". Then click on "Photo Album" and then "Group Photos" )

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From RICH FOY (’45):  I would like to share with you a heartening experience. I was recently asked to be honorary coach of the Marist College women’s team, which at this point is 20-4 and 14-0 in the league.  Two of their losses were to Duke and Maryland when each team was ranked #1 in the country.  The honorary coach has important duties.  First of all, he/she must be well dressed.  I managed to scrounge out gray slacks, blue blazer and gray turtleneck – the latter being my expression of rebellion, as the coach instructed me to wear shirt and tie.  Second duty is to sit on the bench and hand the coach a clipboard at each time out.  Sitting on the bench was easy, although I was in full view of the 2200 fans present.  For the first four timeouts I grabbed the board and moved near the coach, who didn’t want the clipboard.  For the fifth time I figured he didn’t want it; he called for it, and one of the regular coaches got it for him.  Drat!

Another highlight of being honorary coach is you get to go into the locker room to hear the coaches’ instructions before, at half time, and after the game.  For those of you with overly keen imaginations, the ‘locker room’ is a small anteroom off the main women’s lockers.  It was just big enough to fit the thirteen players, four coaches, manager, and trainer…and me.  It was fun to hear the coaches using jargon that wasn’t in vogue when I was on the Marist varsity in 1947-1950.  I was worried that if the women lost, I would be exiled from the McCann Center for a year.  After the game I was told that the only honorary coaches who coached a loss were Dennis and Marilyn Murray.  So I would have been in good company.

If the women win one of their last four games, they win the league and are guaranteed a trip to either the NCAA tournament or the NIT.  (The rest is history: they made the NCAA tournament to the Sweet Sixteen… Ed.)

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From the MaristsAll Archives

There is a treasure hidden within the history of the eighty-seven issues preceding this special anniversary.  Whether you read this makeshift tome from beginning to end, or scan isolated contributions, or read all the entries from a single person, you will find yourself entranced by the content, the tone, and the Marist Spirit underlying the words.  Here are a few I picked out, from those among us and those who have gone before us.  Go to our website and spend a rainy day going back to those we once knew in a time and place that are so very special. (Ed.)

From MARTY LANG ('47): All these years I have received my copy of the Marist newsletter for which I am very grateful. I read it, line for line, with interest, but slowly the new, unfamiliar names replace the old ones, and the friends of old are found more often in the necrology than in the new foundations begun since we left. The idea of the newsletter is great, a tender thread that could continue to hold us in the bond of caring. Losing contact is still painful, and I guess as long as that is the case, the bonds are still there. (August 1987, #2)

From BR. PAUL AMBROSE: Thanks for the copy of the publication on Marists and former Marists. I believe it is not only a very worthwhile idea but also one that will be productive for good to present and previous Marists.  I do not care for any title that will pretend to say who is Marist now or previously. It is a matter of the heart more than of any physical or legal bond. (December 1987, #3)

From JUDY KAMMER: For some time I have wanted to say how I have enjoyed the GMC picnics at the Mount. I have attended many of them, meeting many fine men and women. I have been particularly impressed how most have continued in service-oriented fields.  Especially deserving of great admiration are some who have been lovingly heroic in caring for elderly, incapacitated parents in their homes over extended periods of time. I remember their stories, those of Marty Lang and Jack Duggan and Bob Reynolds and those of their wives.

And I also want to say that there is something special about the many fine Marist Brothers I have met. Over the past 25 years it has been my good fortune to experience Marist simplicity, charity, and warm hospitality in all my Marist encounters. I will never forget Jude Driscoll and Berky and Minn and Joe Abe and the retired monks who were in Tyngsboro and Cold Spring in earlier years. I have been welcomed by the Brothers in Poughkeepsie, in Esopus, in Lawrence, in Bayonne, in Chicago, in Wheeling, in Augusta, as well as in Spain, in Belgium, at the Generalate in Rome, and especially at the Hermitage in France. I am sure that I could speak for the feminine element associated with the Greater Marist Community in saying that we are grateful to the Brothers for their pleasant acceptance of us and for their genuine kindness toward us.(February 1994, #26)

From DONALD (Chris Matthew) EDWARDS ('57): I was surprised at my reaction to the first newsletters. Talk about mixed emotions; sort of like dealing with a lifetime of unfinished business! Really enlightening to realize that I spent twelve years of my life with so many wonderful people, and yet I hardly knew them. Then their voices popped up off the print in the newsletter. It was neat finding out what had happened to so many wonderful guys over the years. So many have done so well! (February 1988, #4)

From BR. PATRICK EUGENE MAGEE ('43): You have done a wonderful service for the Brothers through the well-published Marists All.  I have enjoyed reading it from cover to cover.  Every time it arrives I duplicate sufficient copies so that each member of the community has his own copy for quiet and leisurely reading. I have been impressed by the good accomplished by so many in the spirit of Champagnat. The story written by Brother Bob McGovern from the Philippines was most informative and praiseworthy. (May 1997, #39)

From DON (Damian Eugene) SCHMIDT (’53): The years have passed and copy after copy of Marists All has arrived and been read from cover to cover. Guilt has mounted for not having written to contribute to this wonderful vehicle of God’s grace. To hear what God has wrought through each person who has written is truly awe-inspiring. As I write, I am attending the Marist Institute of Spirituality at Marist College for the first time. To see and hear former colleagues - confreres – is a very special treat. I also had the privilege of attending the canonization of St. Marcellin Champagnat in Rome last year. Both occasions impressed upon me the importance of that thread of Marist Spirit that binds us all together. Even though the years have separated us, a single encounter brings floods of memories of our shared past and reconnects.

A visit to the Esopus cemetery has given me a chance to renew contact with old teachers, companions, and, yes, even a student. I marvel at the memories that ensue walking down each row of headstones. Thoughts and fond memories of saintly men who were so instrumental in my formation and have aided me in my four decades of teaching, spring forth, along with prayers of gratitude for exemplifying the true Marist Spirit of doing good quietly. (September 2000, #56)

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Thank you!

We owe much to our “investors” who have contributed funding for our continued publication. Over the years, when the coffers became dangerously low, checks would appear, as if by an angel, and funds for one or two more issues would become possible.  After our appeal last issue, the following stepped forward.  We owe them a deep gratitude for their help:  Jerry Byrne, Ron Diss, Rich Foy, John-Paul Frank, Pat Gallagher, Sr. Mary Groves, Brendan Haggerty, Marty Harte, Dennis Hartnett, Richard Holena, Pat Keilty, John King, Art Lavigne, Joe Mastropolo, Br. John McDonnell, Paul Maloney, John Reynolds, Rob Schmid, Steve Sheridan, Greg Skrzypek, Robert Toole.) Notes from some of these contributors follow:

From MARTY (Patrick Martin) HARTE (’48): Thanks for your generous efforts and for that of the team in keeping us aware of our roots, friends, and “family-spirited” brotherhood.  I’m so proud to be part of this Marist family.  Keep the presses rolling.  I’m sure we all look forward to each issue, uplifting as each one is.  God bless you and the “family” who do so much to keep us united in one spirit.

From ARTIE LAVIGNE and ANNE MARIE:  Thank you to all involved in this very special twenty years of connections.

From SR. MARY GROVES, O.P.:  Thank you so much for continuing to send me the Marists All newsletter.  I look forward to reading each issue.  In fact, I pass it along to some of my Dominican Sisters who also worked with the Marist Brothers, mainly at Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie. 

From BR. JOHN MCDONNELL:  Thank you for the faithful production of Marists All these many years.  May Our Lord’s peace be yours!

For future issues, please continue to send your written contributions to Vince Poisella at the email address or mailing address listed in the heading.  Also, from this point on, those who wish to send a monetary contribution should do so by sending it directly to Gus Nolan, payable to him, with a note on the check that the contribution is for Marists All. He will now be taking over these responsibilities from David Kammer. It is with a grateful heart that we accept your assistance in continuing this work in manifesting our Marist Spirit.  (Ed.)

Saint Marcellin Champagnat:  pray for us! 

Mary, our Good Mother:  pray for us!

Let us remember: to pray for each other.



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