Brother Michel Bettigole, O.S.F., a member of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn for 55 years, died Sept. 2 at Coney Island Hospital after a long illness. He was 77.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Saturday, Sept. 9 at Our Lady of Angels Church, Bay Ridge.
A native of Astoria, he attended St. Joseph’s School, St. Francis Prep, Williamsburg, and Hunter College, Manhattan, where he earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
He received the Franciscan Habit in January 1962 and made his final profession in 1968.
He taught at St. Anthony of Padua, Greenpoint; Our Lady of Angels, Bay Ridge; St. Anthony’s H.S., Smithtown, L.I.; and Bishop Ford H.S., Park Slope.
From 1974 to 1978, he was academic dean at St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows. In 1980, he returned to Bishop Ford as principal and served in that post until 1988.
He was then named the first program director at The Prayer Channel.
In 1994, Brother Michel was named principal at Cardinal Gibbons H.S., Raleigh, N.C. There, he was instrumental in guiding the growth of the student body from 330 to 1,050 students, and he also oversaw the construction of a new high school building.
The editor of three books, Brother Michel has been honored by the National Catholic Education Association and the Lewis Foundation in North Carolina.
He was a member of the board of trustees of C.H.I.P.S., a soup kitchen and women’s shelter in Park Slope, and served as a member of the Diocesan Council for Religious.
He resided at Our Lady of Angels Friary in Bay Ridge until last year when illness required a move to SS. Joachim and Anne Nursing Home in Coney Island.
“Brother Michel led our school during the time when we were at our largest and most successful,” said Joe Campanaro, a former teacher at Bishop Ford and long-time friend of Brother Michel.
“His devotion to the good of the students whom he loved and respected was his trademark. He will be missed by all those knew him.”
Burial was in the Brothers’ communal plot in Holy Rood Cemetery, Westbury.