6, 1919 - September 13, 1987)
Aldeo Pinard entered our Marist Brotherhood from Hevey School in Manchester,
New Hampshire. He was invested into the Institute at St. Ann's in Poughkeepsie,
New York in 1936, completed his Scholasticate in 1939, and made his
vow of stability in 1957. Brother Augustine served as principal of Our
Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie, New York and Central Catholic
High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was also Dean of Discipline
at Mount Saint Michael Academy in Bronx, New York and a teacher for
many years. "Pop" died in Lawrence, Massachusetts after a
long battle with cancer.
Thomas Petitte delivered the eulogy at St. Anne Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts.
the past several years the Marist Brothers, family members, and friends
of the Brothers have often gathered here in St. Anne's Church to celebrate
the rebirth of one of our Brothers into eternal life and to support
one another in the natural human grief that accompanies the pain of
earthly separation and the reality of death. Sometimes death comes suddenly
and surprisingly as a thief in the night. Sometimes it has lingered
and seemed to be a natural companion to the final years of old age.
Then at other times it has been viewed as a tardy friend, whose coming
is hoped for in order to release one from a life that has become overly
burdensome for a frail, pain-wracked body. No matter what our Brother's
stage of life or age when death visits him, those who are left gather
in the community room or stand talking in the hallways about the experience
of heaven that the deceased Brother must now be enjoying.
as we attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible, we Christians arrive
at some strange ideas and even stranger analogies. Throughout the centuries
some of the greatest religious thinkers have struggled with and attempted
to explain the issue of death and heaven. St. Augustine, when writing
of our journey back to our heavenly homeland, gave the analogy of two
horses carrying their masters to a banquet at the king's table. On the
journey, these horses discussed what they thought would be a marvelous
menu at the king's banquet... They finally agreed that the most perfect
meal for their masters would be chopped hay and toasted oats! Their
horse appetites could not imagine anything better.
St. Augustine's talking horses, our earthly values, the things we consider
important, find their expression in our ideas of heaven. For many of
us our worldly values, mostly centered upon ourselves and our sense-
satisfaction, determine what so often are distorted views of heaven.
If we like to golf as Brother Augustine did, then heaven will mean never
waiting to tee off, but unending matches with exciting shots and holes-in-one.
If we like classical music as Brother Augustine did, then Beethoven
and friends will be there to perform for us. And, of course, there will
never be any lines in which to wait, appointments to keep, or meetings
to attend, all of which Brother Augustine disliked. He used to say meetings
are places where you keep minutes and waste hours.
often sugary, self-centered ideas of heaven do not match God's revealed
word in scripture. The essence of heaven, as Paul writes in his first
letter to the Corinthians, is among "the things that no eye has
seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God
has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor. 2:9).
we cannot imagine what awaits us, just as a child in the mother's womb
cannot imagine the life that awaits it outside its confinement, yet
from scripture and the sublime moments of joy we have experienced on
earth we can gather some ideas of our life with God that we call the
Kingdom of Heaven.
we strip away all our earthly imagination about heaven as an objective
place where we will be eternally happy without any more suffering, and
turn to scripture, we find heaven as relationship. We relate to God
in joy, peace, and complete fulfillment. We think of heaven and see
God as the goal of all our earthly striving. He alone is the complete
reason for our existence. The idea of heaven therefore stresses the
fullness of our awareness that God is not only the beginning and end
of all reality, but that He is in fact our God! We were created out
of God's Trinitarian community of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to share
intimately in the very life of God. He who is love wants us to enter
into that ongoing life of the Trinity's love. This awareness of a personal,
loving God guided the life of Brother
He seemed to be driven by an inner force, a burning passionate desire
to know and lovingly serve God in the deepest intimacy possible. A gentleness
and caring about this man permeated his life and touched all of us who
knew him. He was not only content to be unseen and out of the limelight,
but often spent much of his time trying to be unobtrusive and lost in
the crowd. Whenever a community or provincial election approached, the
Brothers would threaten to vote for him and Brother Augustine, unsure
of whether we were serious or not, would become flustered and begin
to list the reasons why he was not the right man for the job. He never
sought positions of leadership but was always willing to do any job
for the community or school, even if that meant being the moderator
of the girl cheerleaders.
spirit of humility, dedication, and service endeared him to the Brothers
and to a tremendous number of students. We often joked with him about
being a "smart man" and a "saint" With a smile that
said he knew better, Brother Augustine would tell of his early childhood
whenas- according to him, "I was always in trouble." He told
us of being a youngster in Manchester and belonging to a very close-knit
and religious French- Canadian family. He often got in irouble for throwing
stones at St. Patrick's Irish Church. Since the parishioners didn't
speak French, he knew they couldn't be Catholics. He had a specially
mischievous twinkle in his eye when he told how his mother sent him
to St. Joseph's Juniorate in Tyngsboro so "the Brothers could straighten
me out.~' From those early days that seemed so wild came a respected,
much loved educator, friend, and Religious Brother whom many of us fondly
an educator and administrator, Brother Augustine brought an unsurpassed
sense of professionalism and dedication. His love of mathematics was
exceeded only by his love for his students and for young people in general.
Those young men who were fortunate to have been in his class always
spoke of how clearly he presented his material, the interest he had
in each student, and the extraordinarily loud snap of his fingers that
would inevitably sound the call to prepare for prayer. His concern for
his students went beyond academics and reached the very core of their
being. Upper- most in his mind was their spiritual welfare and so, regardless
of what prayer was said over the public address system at the end of
the school day, Brother Augustine's class would always stand and say
the Act of Contrition before leaving for the day.
Augustine knew the difference between being a friend and just an acquaintance.
His close friendship with Dr. Gene Connelly and his family was one of
his most valued possessions; he treasured his visits when they opened
their hearts and home to welcome him as one of the. family. A man who
intellectually could be at home with college presidents, professionals,
and researchers went out of his way to gather poor children from the
neighborhood surrounding Central Catholic to teach them string art and
how to paint peach stones for play jewelry. It was not unusual for a
Brother to answer the door bell and have a small child ask if Brother
Gus could come out and play. Once again Brother Gus saw the beauty in
simple things and used them to present spiritual values. All the children
in the neighborhood gathered daily in October and May to pray the rosary
with their beloved Brother Gus. Our Lady was his dearest and most valuable
many of us here he was both friend and Religious Brother. I arrived
in Lawrence as a young administrator sixteen years ago with absolutely
no experience in administration. Brother Augustine, along with Brother
Marcel and Brother Vincent, was a source of advice and encouragement
to me. His support during many trying times helped to make a difficult
job bearable. His sensitivity to the needs of the poor and suffering
was intense and sincere. He could not watch the reports of suffering
children in Ethiopia on television nor read of the increasing problem
of homeless families in America without tears in his eyes and an unsettling
heaviness in his heart. For years he supported an orphan child in India
and bought Thanksgiving turkeys for local poor families from his own
small monthly stipend.
will miss Brother's concern, his kindness, his laughter at my French-Canadian
jokes, the sight of him walking in the driveway fingering his worn rosary
beads, or with computer manuals under his arm, a crushed blue cloth
hat on his head, struggling to go to the school's computer room in spite
of his weakened condition.
one of his many visits to Pop in the hospital, Gene Connelly gave him
a collection of quotes that he thought Pop would enjoy reading. Pop
was touched deeply by the words of a Negro spiritual and put them to
music. On Gene's next visit, Pop sang the following for him:
home, goin' home,
I'm a-goin' home,
like, some still day
I'm just goin' home.
there 'spectin' me,
Father's there waitin' too,
of folks gather there,
All the friends I knew.
this evening may our Mother Mary and her loving Son welcome you home.