19, 1920 - September 8, 2003
for BROTHER STEPHEN URBAN MINOGUE
by Brother Philip Robert Ouellette:
As I stand before
you this morning, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to listen
to everyone's thoughts and feelings concerning our Brother Stephen.
What an inspiring sharing that would be. That not being possible, I
feel privileged in attempting to put together a sketch of a very holy,
gentle, lovable and wise man of God.
When we were young
Brothers in formation we had to study the lives of our first Brothers.
The book we used was entitled: Our Models In Religion. Some stories
were inspiring, some were humorous, some showed the human side of the
Brother and all were meant to encourage us in our vocation to be Brothers.
These days as I have reflected on the life of our Brother Stephen, I
could not help but feel that his life belongs in that book. He truly
has been a model for us; all of us, family, friends, co-workers, students
When Steve visited
our Provinces as General Councillor in the early 1980s with Brother
Charles Howard, at the end of the visit they gave us each a card with
a personalized message paraphrasing St. Paul's letter to the Philippians.
In part it read:
God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for
you all,....thankful for your partnership in the Gospel from the first
day. And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring
it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to
feel this about you all because I hold you in my heart for you are
partakers with me in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel. For
God is my witness how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ
Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more
with knowledge and all discernment to the Glory and Praise of God."
reflect and capture Steve's own feelings towards his Brothers and loved
ones, friends and co-workers. Steve had a big heart and he carried all
of us in it. It was a heart full of love. He had learned early on in
life that God is love and where love exists, there is God. And wherever
Steve was, God was present. Steve was truly one of those people we admire
who sparkle with the graciousness and love of God.
STEVE GAVE US ALL A GLIMPSE OF GOD
Steve left home
early in life - in fact it was 1934 when he entered the Juniorate in
Poughkeepsie. Through all those early formative years of long separation
from his family, he never lost his attachment love and devotion for
his parents and siblings. That love, care and concern grew and spread
to all his nephews, nieces, grand-nephews and grand-nieces. He took
a keen interest in all of their lives. What wonderful stories they can
tell of the joy, fun, the warmth and inspiration that was his gift to
STEVE GAVE THEM ALL A GLIMPSE OF GOD!
Friends of Steve,
and he had many, and co-workers speak of the warmth of his personality,
his sense of humor, the depth of his prayer life, the attention he gave
each person he happened to be with. When Steve engaged in a conversation
with someone, you knew that his attention and focus would be totally
on that person. Often young Brothers spoke of how much they looked forward
to meeting him after hearing stories from those who had him as teacher
and director in the Juniorate. At gatherings he was sought out because
of his joyful and upbeat spirit. This attitude was particularly attractive
and appreciated by our more staid and serious European Brothers during
his many visits to their communities as a General Councillor. He helped
loosen them up a bit with his candor, wit and his singing.
Over the years,
Steve developed and cultivated a ministry of retreats to several Sisters
Congregations. His gentleness and prayerfulness, his gift for spiritual
direction, his talent for listening and his inspiring conferences, all
were appreciated and sought after by many. Those retreat connections
led to deep spiritual friendships which often elicited some kidding
from the Brothers which Steve accepted with great humor and quick repartee.
Steve will be sorely missed by his friends and co-workers.
HE TRULY GAVE THEM ALL A GLIMPSE OF GOD.
As for his students,
one needed only to watch Steve surrounded by them to realize how much
he loved and cared for them. From his first students at St Ann's and
the Mount in the 1940s to the young men studying in the Esopus Juniorate
in the late 40s, the 50s and 60s to the students at Marist Bayonne in
the early 70s and more recently with his students here at Archbishop
Molloy, one could easily attribute to him a saying of Father Champagnat:
"I cannot see a young person without wanting to tell him how much
God loves him." Just as Steve knew how much he was loved by
God, so also did he show that love for his students.
These last few year,
despite the incredible generation gap, Steve as always was able to adjust
his thinking to the young person in front of him because he was truly
open minded and an excellent listener. Even though there might have
been times he did not approve of someone's behavior, he was able to
challenge while at the same time fully accepting the person. His warmth,
gentleness, wit, his spirit of joy, concern, his love, all reflected
God's love for the young.
STEVE MOST CERTAINLY GAVE HIS STUDENTS A GLIMPSE OF GOD.
And for us Marists,
there is so much we can say about Steve, but first and foremost -- he
was truly, our Brother. Steve was a combination of the Active and the
Contemplative. He was full of energy.....dynamic in the classroom....energetic
on the ballfield....a master at directing Minstrels ....full of fun
at a gathering...regaling us with his harmonica or a rendition of "Granada"
and other melodies....active on student retreats and Encounters....traveled
the Marist World with enthusiasm ....and always he was young at heart.
In 1988 while he
was Superior of the Generalate in Rome, I watched him dashing up the
stairs two steps at a time. He was busy about God's work. His service
to the Institute spanned the Marist globe. He was Director of the Marist
Second Novitiate in Switzerland from 1961 - 1967 which was attended
by Brothers from around the world. He is fondly remembered by the participants
for his spiritual counseling. As a result Steve has friends wherever
there are Marists today.
For eight years
he was Councillor General to Brother Basilio Rueda, traveling extensively
and visiting most Provinces where French and English are spoken. This
was probably one of Steve's most daunting assignments.
In 1985, Steve returned
to the States determined to slow the pace of his life, only to be asked
two years later to return to Rome as Superior of the Generalate community....a
community composed of Brothers from many countries. What a challenge!
As always, when asked to accept a new assignment, Steve considered it
in the light of his Vow of Obedience and as expected, said "yes".
There was a single
mindedness about Steve....to love God and make him known and loved.
It was his desire and hope to deepen his relationship with the Lord
and to help others accomplish the same. That was the contemplative side
of Steve. He never hesitated to talk about spiritual matters. Prayer,
meditation, spiritual reading were all second nature to him. No matter
what community he lived in, he was comfortable sharing his faith life,
his spiritual insights, his intimacy with the Lord.
Steve loved to prepare
conferences, to direct retreats and to give spiritual direction. It
was his opportunity to share his own beliefs and spiritual values. And
his own example of prayerfulness was an inspiration to others.
Those who lived
with Steve know how much solace he found in quiet time before the Blessed
Sacrament....even at times in the middle of the night. But that was
personal and his humility would keep him from talking about it.
remind us that "Mary is our model in prayer". We cannot talk
about Steve's faith life without talking about his devotion to Mary,
a love affair with Our Good Mother. A true son of Champagnat, he found
much joy and consolation in praying to her and honoring her. One of
the Juniors of the late 1940s recalls how in his first year in the Prep,
Steve came to class the first day and the first thing he did was give
a lesson on the Blessed Virgin and the importance for future Marists
to have devotion to Mary. A profound impression was made that day.
TO HIS MARIST CONFRERES, STEVE GAVE US A GLIMPSE OF GOD.
It is clear that
Steve's relationship with God and Mary, was a great source of strength
and peace during his last illness. There is no question to those who
were with Steve during his sufferings that he had experiences of God.
The Brothers and family members who accompanied him during these last
weeks were inspired and uplifted by his patience, faith, trust and prayerful
acceptance of his sufferings. Steve never complained nor felt sorry
for himself. Rather , he thought of others. He accepted all that came,
the good days and the bad, offering it all for others, namely, his family,
the brothers, faculty and students and all those he had been associated
with throughout his life.
Steve passed away
on September 8th the feast of the Birthday of Mary and is being laid
to rest today, the 12th, the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, a feast
of special significance to the Marist Brothers who were named after
Our Lady. It was also on this date in 1934 that Steve first joined the
Marist Brothers in Poughkeepsie, NY. Our Lady has certainly looked down
fondly and blessed her "faithful servant."
There are many people
who sparkle with the graciousness and love of God and Steve was one
HE TRULY GAVE US
ALL A GLIMPSE OF GOD.
Urban Minogue (to the left, in the picture) died in New York September
8 at 83 years of age. He was a member of the Province of the United
States. Following intense dedication in the educational and pastoral
field, he directed in Fribourg, Switzerland, the Second Novitiate from
1961 at 1967. He was General Councillor, during Brother Basilio Rueda's
second term of office, from 1976 at 1985. From 1988 to 1990 he was Superior
of the community of the General Administration in Rome. He was always
a model of fidelity, dedication and sensitivity in his treatment of
Brother Sixtus Victor
Liuzzo (to the right, in the picture) died in New York July 14 at 84
years of age. He was responsible for the transformation of the centre
at Manziana, Italy, being administrator there from 1989 to 1995. He
is remembered for his dedication and dynamism.
(Reprinted from: Fratelli Maristi Marist Bulletin 96 - October 15,