January 19, 1920 - September 8, 2003

 

EULOGY for BROTHER STEPHEN URBAN MINOGUE

delivered 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 and Brothers.

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:

"I thank 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."

These sentiments 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 them.
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.

Our Constitutions 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 of them.

HE TRULY GAVE US ALL A GLIMPSE OF GOD.


IN MEMORIAM

Brother Stephen 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 others.

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, 2003- http://www.champagnat.org/)