Letters to the Editor

Influence of the Brothers

Dear Editor: I was away during the summer and am only now catching up with the Aug. 29 editorial concerning religious brothers and their enormous contributions to the lives of so many in their various ministries.

It was my privilege to have Xaverian Brothers at the former St. Michael’s Diocesan H.S. on 43rd Street and Fourth Ave., and Franciscan Brothers at the old St. Francis College on Butler Street.

Reading the editorial, I found myself caught up in memories. At St. Michael’s, I will never forget Brother Claude, who remains a legend for those of us who had him in class. He was demanding, but always fair and pushed us to fulfill our God-given potential. Yes, that sometimes meant his throwing a piece of chalk at one or another of us to wake us up, but by the end of class everyone understood what he was teaching and why it took concentration.

At St. Francis, one of my closest friends was Brother Anselm, the librarian. When I had to write research papers, I would sit with him and within minutes he would make a quick tour of the library and bring back to me an armload full of books, which he guaranteed would assist me, and he was always correct.

Is it small wonder then that I joined the faculty of Xaverian H.S. and after 35 years of teaching still find my own faith enriched by the brothers’ dedication to the Gospel message, to the enrichment of community, and to service.

These characteristics have shaped the charisms, which I’ve witnessed again and again during the years especially as the brothers have committed their lives to young people, as their teachers, coaches, mentors, and many other roles.

While there are fewer brothers these days, their grand heritage continues in memory, and those who still minister uphold the same traditions. May we continue to pray that the Lord will increase their numbers who will be an example to us of commitment by their dedicated lives.

John J. McCormick

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