ISSUE # 94
November 2008


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click on  correspondent or topic to go to that item  

 
Correspondents

William Byrne  '52

Roger R Fernandez  '54

Patrick Gallagher  '53

David Kammer  '42

Br. John Klein  '66

Jim "Ray" Morrissey  '50

Gus Nolan  '48

Joseph Pagano  '54

Br. Michael Sheerin  '74

Anne Sheridan  '55h

 

 

 

 


  Topics

Marist Vocation work

grandchildren at Marist College

remembering Marist College after 50 years

memories of Tyngsboro

John Reynolds

Clem Martin

In Memoriam

Br Luke Driscoll

Br Vincent Damian

René St. George

Thomas P Mullen

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Photo album - recent postings

Related websites

 

 

From BR. MIKE SHEERIN (’74):  With “collaboration” a “buzz” word these days, I am happy to write about a collaborative effort which bore initial good fruit. I am presently beginning my second year as a “recycled” vocation director for the USA Province, a post I held once before from 1994-2000 for the former Esopus Province. A few months ago Br. Rene Roy emailed me about a high school senior with a possible Marist vocation. Rene found out about this young man through John Reynolds. After an email or two with the senior, Rene asked him if he could forward his name to me, the vocation director. The senior agreed, and I began to electronically communicate with him. The mode of operations of any vocation director is to first try to assess an inquirer’s seriousness, then move to phone calls, and finally personal visits if all goes well. The young man about whom I am speaking, Sam, in many ways is a typical eighteen year-old and at the same time atypical. One minute he can talk about high school scouting experiences and the senior prom, and the next, about the spirituality of Thomas Merton or Teresa of Avila. His interest in religious life is real, as real as any eighteen year-old young man can be. When I asked him about joining our new initial process called “Accompaniment” (“Contact Program’s” successor), he expressed strong interest. He has read Water From The Rock about Marist Spirituality, and we have discussed it over the phone.

I mentioned collaboration earlier, and I am grateful to John Reynolds for his collaborative vigilance of Sam and his recommending him to us.  Who knows where Sam will end up? But for these moments in his young life, he is being exposed to a charism that might become one of the best gifts he has ever received. Hasn’t this been true for so many of us? Sam sensed the Marist charism in John Reynolds at Powers Catholic High School in Flint, and at John’s prompting has thrown himself into Marist’s wide net.

I am quite impressed with Sam and have not even met him face to face. I will travel to meet him this year at John Carroll University where he is matriculating. To you, John, on behalf of us all, I thank you for noticing Sam and being his first “vocation director.” I hope I will be as vigilant.  Indeed, it is a collaborative Marist effort. If any of our Marists All readers know of a young man and sense he might benefit from initially talking about the possibility of Marist religious life for himself, please feel free to let me know. Many thanks. (26 First Avenue, Pelham, NY 10803; 914-751-9735; bromikes@gmail.com)

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From JIM “Ray” MORRISSEY (’50):  Over Labor Day weekend one of our grandsons entered the freshman class at Marist, the third generation. This event triggered my reflection concerning the influence of the Marist community in my life and that of our family.

My young world was dramatically changed in the spring of 1947 when Br. Aidan entered my geometry class at Cardinal Hayes High School and told us of a better world with the Brothers starting at the fabled estate called Esopus.  Events followed that shaped my entire life: such as going to college and studying mathematics which led to a life-long teaching/administrative career; meeting my future wife Jean through her good friend Sheila Casey, sister to Br. Frank Casey; three sons attending Marist College and later marrying three ladies from Marist. 

One of our sons, J.R., majored in fashion design at Marist and is now a member of that Board and has had interns from the college work with him in Manhattan.   In June of this year, Jean and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary attended by our five children, their spouses, and ten grandchildren.  I do believe that Br. Aidan with his tassel-twirling cincture was responsible for this grand Marist life.  (oakledge47@aol.com)

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From ROGER R. FERNANDEZ): In everybody’s life, there are memorable points whose luster neither years nor distance will ever erode nor erase. One of those precious moments was, for me, this year’s fiftieth reunion of the 1958 graduation class at Marist College. Such occasion, on a diamond-pure sun-glittering day, was much more than just “a nice reunion event”: it truly became an uplifting and inspiring experience.

I was deeply touched and profoundly moved to meet some of the men with whom I had prayed, studied, worked and played for four years during my scholasticate at Marist. Except for Kenneth Mannix, whom I saw at the New York Harbor last year at the return of a cruise through New England, I had my first encounter since our graduation with Brothers Richard Shea, Joseph Maura, and Daniel Grogan, and with John Carroll, William Maher, and Robert Toole. I was overcome with joy and truly honored when Br. Richard and Kenneth joined me, my wife Lucille, and our two guests Wally and Corinn at our table for the tasty and delicious dinner at the Student Center Cabaret.

College President Dennis Murray presented each one of us, the celebrants, with a watch that bears the inscription “Marist College, Poughkeepsie,” and the big Marist “M,” which in turn, is crowned with the motto, Orare et Laborare. Also engraved under that inscription appears “1958.” For its part, the Alumni Office provided us with a copy of “our” yearbook. I enjoy reviewing it frequently nowadays, not only because I assisted Brothers John Regis and Jude Robert in its production, but especially, because it rekindles so many memories.  And that was not all there was to overwhelm us with emotion and feelings. Robert Toole brought to this unforgettable gathering an 11x8 picture of our class taken in front of the basement of the old library building. He showed it around. A few days later, I received from him a copy in the mail. It is, to be sure, a most relished souvenir that I fondly plan to frame and display on a wall in my office.

Many people had warned me that I would not recognize the place. Sure enough: at first, I did not know where I was. As my guest Wally drove through the campus I was in awe at the breathtaking beautified reconfiguration of the grounds.  Some thoughts roamed through my mind…. Here I read, more than half a century ago, Milton’s “Paradise Lost” in Dr. Schroeder’s literature class. Half way between then and now, I visited Portugal’s Sintra, which Lord Byron described as “Glorious Eden… that contains beauties of every description natural and artificial…” On that sunny Saturday of October 4, 2008, as I entered and toured Marist College, I thought of it as a heavenly abode of wisdom that overlooks the Hudson River and can capture the idyllic love of nature and provide a pleasant environ to satisfy the need of learning.

Then I saw a building I well remember: Our Lady Seat of Wisdom chapel. I entered to pray at the pew I used when I was a scholastic there. That pew was removed and replaced by the organ, which was moved a few feet left from its original place. I did not dare to play the organ as I did then during some breaks. I knelt at a pew between the organ and the altar and did my praying before visiting its surroundings. I liked in particular the statue of St. Marcellin Champagnat and his small monument with students on the chapel grounds.  An observation came to my mind… “When I first was here, I had two names: ‘Benedict Marcellin.’ Now, fifty years later, when I return to visit and celebrate, there is a Pope, ‘Benedict,’ and a saint ‘Marcellin,’ and I am neither….” For those of you who remember me, I continue to be “Benedicite.”  (rlfincas@sbcglobal.net)

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From JOSEPH PAGANO (‘59):      When I left the novitiate, I worked for a year and then enrolled at Iona College from which I was graduated in ‘63.  I taught a couple of years at Iona Prep, then ended up taking a position as a French teacher in the Ogdensburg school district where I taught until my retirement in ‘98.  I got my masters at Potsdam State University.      

I have to say that when I left the novitiate I fell completely away from my religion. But  “The Hound of Heaven" wouldn't let me be. When we got married, Lynne kept going to church and taking the children.  I knew I had to get back to God!

Now I'm quite active in our small country church, St. Raphael, where I'm a trustee, a lector, a Eucharistic minister and many times a parish council member. I'm also a member of our recently formed K. of C. council. So I've come full circle and cannot live without my faith, much of which I attribute to St. Agnes and St. Joe's. 

A funny thing about Lynne and myself is that we're both from the metropolitan area (she's from Yonkers), but we met up here in northern New York. We happened to meet at a wedding of her friend. She was a student at SUNY Potsdam, and I was teaching up here.

The other night while I lay thinking, I started to remember things about the novitiate. I remember having to pick potatoes in the field and actually enjoying it. Some other things I thought of:          

Br. Peter checking on us to see if we were talking

Peeling potatoes

Climbing a mountain

Skating on the frozen lake

Hanging on for dear life on the back of the truck when Br. Peter drove

Opening the summer camp in not-so-summery weather

Helping build the road

Visiting the quarry: the real one

Swimming in the quarry

Eating our meals in silence while someone read aloud

Drinking boiled coffee and getting used to it

Walking in circles after dinner

Ice skating in the meadow

The beautiful colors in the fall

Sorting the laundry

Salve Regina in the morning

Having to go to the bathroom every morning during meditation

Replacing the ropes in the windows with chains

Being asked to wash the windows on the top floor but too afraid
 
Helping in the kitchen and dining room
 
Playing all the different sports and pool
 
Helping Br. Mark in the barn one morning
 
Making the markers for the football field

But probably the best thing was being close to our Lord every day with mass and prayers and meditation.

The most difficult thing was coming to the realization that being a Brother was not for me and having the feeling of guilt.

Sorry that I rambled on so much, but I couldn't resist the flood of memories.  Que Dieu vous benisse! (630 County Route 4, Ogdensburg, NY 13669; 315-393-7103; joelynne@localnet.com)

From DAVID KAMMER (’42):  I just finished reading the interview of Gus Nolan by the archivist at the library of Marist College on the site
  <http://library.marist.edu/archives/oral history.html>    Thanks, Gus.  Great contribution to all of our causes!  I can't wait to read the interviews with Rich Foy, Richard LaPietra, and Joe Bel. 

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In Memoriam: Br. Luke Driscoll FMS

From The Newsletter of the Marist Brothers of the Province of the United States of America (Br. Hank Hammer (’75), editor):  Luke’s recent wake and funeral mass were celebrations of the life of a wonderful man and Marist Brother.  Testimonies at the wake and eulogies at the funeral mass described a man who had a profound effect on the lives of so many people with whom he came in contact. 

Luke retired to the Champagnat Hall  community (at Mt. St. Michael) where he lived until his death on September 9, 2008.

Unlike most Marist Brothers who received two religious names, Luke was one of the few to receive only one.  As a result, many knew him as “J.P. Luke” or “Just Plain Luke.”  Anyone who came in contact with Luke knows that there was nothing plain about him.  He was an extraordinary man who had the ability to influence the lives and hearts of so many people.

Luke loved his immediate and extended families and all his “cousins.”  He loved his Marist Brothers as much and was a wonderful example of what it meant to be a brother with a small “b.”

The conversations about Luke will continue for a long time, for he will be missed by so many.  While there are many appropriate Scripture passages that one could quote when thinking of Luke, it’s so wonderfully Irish and so wonderfully Luke to think also of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”  Rest in peace, Luke! 

click here for J P's assignments as a Marist Brother

From WILLIAM BYRNE (’52):  In 1948, I roamed the halls of Cardinal Hayes High School with, among others, Regis Philbin and the controversial Father Louis Gigante.  Like all of the other 2000 students there in those days, I brag on how we were close classmates.  Untrue of course, but it makes good copy.  In those days, diocesan priests made up most of the faculty, with a smattering of Xaverian, Irish Christian, LaSalle and Marist Brothers.  The Marists were in charge of the math department and late report card retrieval. (Does anyone know what became of the Fifth Avenue mansion the monks occupied?)  It was at Hayes that I first came in contact with the Marist monks, both for poor math grades and poor report card maintenance.   Afraid as I was of Brother Vincent Dominic, then department chair and report card warden, I remember being intrigued by the talk and tassel-twirling routine Brother Aidan Francis gave us.  I was quickly corralled into the Marist Juniorate at Esopus in my junior year.  Regis and Lou would have to do without their “good buddy.”

At the juniorate, all of us teen Marist aspirants came under the influence of Brother Luke, “J.P.” as he came to be known.  For me, and similarly for others, I’m sure, he was the “father figure” that replaced my own recently departed father and the “”big brother” that some of us left at home.  The genuine interest he took in each of us went a long way to helping us on the Marist way.  I can say with my own certainty that had it not been for him, who knows how I might have turned out?

I spent two years in community life with him at Molloy and honestly found that strange.  How do you rub elbows with someone who was a hero and mentor to you?  How do you pretend that he was “just another monk” when in reality he meant infinitely more to you?  I tried to express my gratitude in a short note to him when I found out he wasn’t feeling well in his last years.  I have this idea, garnered from reading too much fiction or seeing too many “Notebook” type movies, that someone will find that note as they go through his remaining artifacts and return it to me:  a comforting fiction, but ultimately an unnecessary one.  I’m sure he knows now how much I, and others, appreciated him; how grateful we are for his interest in us and his efforts on our behalf.  We also know he will never stop interceding for us, his “old boys.” <davbakou@yahoo.com>

From PATRICK GALLAGHER (’53): Brother Luke Driscoll died just short of 92 years of age, and for 58 years, to a varying degree he has been a part of my life, a friend as he was to so many others, and the exemplar of a humble man, a saintly man, an extraordinary teacher, and a remarkable Marist Brother.

I first met him when I was 14, in my sophomore year of high school when I entered the Esopus Juniorate. With the few faculty and their multiple preparations, I was lucky enough to have him as my teacher for Latin, French and English during those two years. He was a fantastic teacher, so very well organized epitomizing the qualities that I wanted to develop as I moved closer to teaching as my profession. In those juniorate days, he also stood before us as a great hockey player and an imperturbable referee in basketball games. Most importantly, he was a very real Marist Brother.

I never taught alongside him, but in the intervening years, especially after I formally left the Order, I saw little of him but heard of the variety of commitments to various apostolates. About twelve years ago, Mary and I visited Ed Cashin in Augusta and also stopped in to see Luke, who while in "retirement" was still very active with hospital work.

Then about a year later, like Msgr. Bill Sears, while driving up the east coast, he stopped in and stayed with us for three enjoyable days while we had the b-n-b in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. In long conversations we sensed the dimensions of this wonderful person.

We had a custom of asking our visitors to select a tree from the property that would be their tree and that they were to come back and see it again. Others had chosen the tall oaks or the massive tulip trees. Luke selected a gnarled old dogwood in the middle of a field. It had been right close to an old farmhouse that we had to tear down. I grasped the significance of his choice: nothing of the towering offerings, but the comparatively tiny dogwood, with its beautiful white flowers. Every time I came by with the riding mower to cut the grass I thought of Luke; I sent him pictures of his tree in bloom. And it was a very fitting image of Luke, for it stood out so much from its taller neighbors; it flowered so beautifully, and it endured. He was a valued speaker at the Marist weekends at the college every July, talking of a deep yet practical spirituality. I, and legions of others, will miss him. (gpatrickgallagher11@verizon.net)

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From ANNE SHERIDAN (wife of FRANCIS X. SHERIDAN (’55):  When I think of Luke, the word “leprechaun” always comes to mind. His broad smile, twinkling blue eyes, and wonderful Irish sense of humor are engraved in my heart.

I learned recently  -- at Luke’s wake, actually – that he was known for the vast number of “cousins” he had.  Apparently, he referred to all the women with whom he worked or associated with in any way as his “cousins”!

 I once told Luke that he was truly “blest among women,” because we would always seek him out, elbowing each other to sit next to him.  For that reason, I suggest that he be remembered as Luke Driscoll, FMS/BAW. (fxsheridan@hotmail.com)

From GUS NOLAN (‘48):  The death of Bro. Luke Driscoll touched the hearts of many Marists and the extended families of Marists.  The family of a former Marist, Clem Martin, was particularly moved by the occasion.  Bro Luke was always close to the Martin family. Let me give you a little background.

Clem Martin came to Esopus in the fall of ‘46 from the Bronx where he attended Mt. St. Michael and had Br. Luke as a teacher.  Clem (as Br. Luke Anselm) went through training, was graduated from Marian (Marist) having majored in Spanish, and taught at St. Ann's Academy, Christopher Columbus High School, and Brownsville (TX). I lost close contact with him for a few years during which time he left the Brothers and married. Next time I saw him – this time with his wife Socorro and their four children Ali, Mani, Clem, and Sam -- was at Cold Spring for one of the early GMC picnics.  We were in close contact for the next few years, but Clem was suffering from diabetes and passed away in July 1988 and was buried on July 26 of that year. A group of us who had visited him in his ailing years formed a contingent of Marists, including Richard LaPietra and Br. Stephen, to sing at Clem Martin's funeral Mass. It was a beautiful farewell to a wonderful husband, father, a very talented teacher, a gifted and competitive athlete, and a very great friend of so many.

 The family grew and went to various colleges and moved away from Rockland County.  Young Clem Martin came from Chicago for Br. Luke Driscoll's wake and funeral. On that occasion he learned of Marists All and has written to me. I asked for an update of the family.  The oldest, Ali, lives in North Carolina, has two children, and teaches fourth grade.  Mani is a guidance counselor in Holliston, MA, also with two children.  Clem graduated from Holy Cross and is now principal of St. Frances of Rome in Chicago, and Sam graduated from West Point, did his military duty, and is now living in Quincy, MA with his wife, a lawyer. He and Clem must be in excellent health as they ran in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC this past October.

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In Memoriam:  Brother Vincent Damian FMS

From BR. JOHN KLEIN:  Last evening Br. Vincent Damian passed away at Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, NY. Since this past July he had undergone several hospitalizations, a brief stay at Clark Rehab, and most recently lived with the Champagnat Hall community. These have been difficult days for him and now we believe and know that he is at peace with the God he truly loved.

His years as Secretary in the Provincial Office, his leadership as Principal at both Roselle Catholic and Marist High School, and his years of service on the Provincial Council speak volumes of his dedication, talent, faith and his love for his Brothers.  Whatever he did, he did with sensitivity and class.  We will always remember his role in preparing the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Marist Brothers in the United States in 1986.

Br. Vincent Damian was a good and decent man, a wonderful Marist Brother who embodied the charism of Father Champagnat. In so many ways he helped shape the life of the Marist Brothers in the U.S. during the past five decades, and we will always be in his debt.

In Memoriam:  Rene M. St. George

Rene M. St. George, a former Marist Brother, 82, a resident of the Pleasant View Nursing Home in Concord, NH, died November 6, 2008, following a period of failing health. He held positions as principal of Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, MA, principal of St. Joseph's High School in Lowell, MA, and assistant principal of Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, WV. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Catholic Charities. 

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In Memoriam:  Thomas P. Mullen

From THE MIAMI HERALD, SEPTEMBER 6, 2008, BY ELINOR J. BRECHE AND CAROL MARBIN MILLER:  Thomas P. Mullen, the one-time Marist Brother and social worker who founded the Passageway Program -- a Miami halfway house for mentally ill offenders -- has died unexpectedly at 64.  Mullen was revered in South Florida mental-health circles and beyond for his dedication to a widely reviled population: defendants found not guilty by reason of insanity who had been released into the community from psychiatric hospitals or treatment centers, most with a paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis.  To his endeavor, Mullen brought the social conscience of a 1960s activist. Influenced by the pacifist Catholic Worker movement of the mid-20th century, he nonetheless wore the cynicism and irony of a man accustomed to battling prejudice and bureaucracy. A Marist College graduate and member of the religious order that founded it, he earned a master's degree in social work at Barry University and taught at Columbus High School. (ebrecher@MiamiHerald.com)

click here for obituary on Thomas P Mullen

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(Thanks to those who have recently sent contributions to Marists All:  Tom Murphy (Binsky)’51, Dennis Hartnett ’63, Richard Foy ‘45, Joe Hores ‘49, and Paul Maloney ‘59.  Also, we have chosen to send paper copies of Marists All by postal mail to our friends whose e-mail addresses have not been updated in our database.  As a result the number of our postal mailings has increased notably ... and the cost of mailing becomes somewhat of a problem.  Please send your updated e-mail address to Rob Schmid or to one of the other of the Marists All team.  Thank you.  Editor)

Now a note from the web site editor, Rich Foy I experimented this issue with placing some photos to help you identify the persons, either writers or subjects.  They are not perfect, but they are a start.  Perhaps you can send us a better photo of yourself when you write something for publication.  We can scan it here and return the photo.  Or else  computer savvy writers may send us a *.jpg.  I would prefer a current photo.  No sense sending one from the '60s or '70s.  Readers remember what you looked like in your teens and twenties; they want to find out how well or ill you've aged.

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