17, 1913 - November 24, 2002)
1950, a young boy overslept and was late for the New York City wide
entrance exam for St. Ann's Academy. Brother Gene Michel inquired why
the boy was sitting on a bench outside the examination room. A senior
Stanner student explained the situation to Brother Gene. "Give
him the exam and let him be clocked separately," ordered Brother
Gene. That momentary but generous decision, by Brother Gene, changed
the boy's life. A year later, under the tutelage of Brother Stephen
Urban, the boy left St. Ann's Academy and entered the Marist Brother's
postulate at Esopus, NY and in 1954 took his vows as a Marist Brother.
Joseph Teston recalls many such instances where Brother Gene changed
the life of students under his care. From his first teaching assignment
at Mount St. Michael Academy in 1933 to his retirement from Aquinas
High School, Brother Gene's ever present smile and joyful enthusiasm
touch and made a difference in the lives of the many young people under
his care. His educational tenure in Boy's Catholic, St. Agnes, St Ann's
Academy, Central Catholic, Cardinal Hayes, St. Joseph's Academy, Aquinas
High School, Marist High School and Roselle Catholic reads as an honor
list to the wide spread influence and contribution of Brother Gene's
special qualities as a classroom teacher and to his integrity, compassion
and professionalism. His 69 years in the classroom with so many young
people was Gene's formula for keeping young both physically and in spirit.
Joseph remembers Brother Gene's love for the Marist missions and how
he organized and skillfully moderated bingo games to financially support
the League. To the hundreds of Marist Brothers who shared their lives
with Gene, his personal charm, generosity and graciousness made him
"one of them".
gives you a perspective into a person's life. Brother Gene liked to
recite a poem that he had translated:
daylight descends outside my window.
I have closed my door against the chilling cold.
Songbirds no longer inhabit the woods
And I dream- a little sad, perhaps..
Of the woodland trails of April.
The flowers have long since gone. It is Autumn.
November fills me with tenderness and with pain.
Once again the birch, the poplars, the oak trees
Are playing out the game of dying.
For me. How many times? How many more times?
And then it will be my turn
To act out that final scene.
Then, Lord, let serene peacefulness envelope me
As the ground, the grain of seed:
All corruption today.
New Life tomorrow!
November 24, 2002, after a life of service, dedication and generosity,
Brother Gene was enveloped in serene peacefulness as he was called home
to live a new life with his God and Lord.
Joseph reminds us that Brother Gene was GOD'S GIFT TO ALL OF