History of the Marist Brothers in the United States
Chapter IV - The Transition Period, 1931-1953

Brother Henry Charles (1931-1937) was the first of four provincials who governed the United States Province during the Transition Period. He adopted new policies in an attempt to guide the Province out of the depression and to further the plan of consolidation. Previous administrations had initiated plans to accomplish similar results, but it was during this period that the work was brought to fruition. The proposed goals continued to be the concentration of brothers in high schools rather than grammar schools, and the building of permanent and spacious training centers. Brother Paul Stratonic (1937-1942) and Brother Louis Omer (1942-1948), the sixth and seventh provincials, adopted these policies to help the Province emerge successfully from the depression and the trying period of World War II. Lastly, Brother Thomas Austin (1948-1953), during the last five years of this period, tied all the loose ends and brought about consolidation of the Province. Following his appointment as Assistant General for the three North American Provinces in March 1953, he was able to watch the Province enter a new era of prosperity.

Although these four administrators withdrew brothers frown seven schools during these twenty-two years, it was during the Transition Period that the number of brothers doubled from two hundred and eleven to four hundred and twenty-one. It was therefore possible for the Provincials to open and accept ten more promising schools in the United States.

The increase of students and teachers in the province and especially in the New York area inspired the inauguration of two inter-Marist school competitions. They were the Marist Forensics Association Tournaments (1950), and the Marist Basketball Invitational Tournaments (1951).

Towards the end of this period, three of the four Marist communities that crowded St. Ann's Hermitage in Poughkeepsie were settled elsewhere. St. Ann's Juniorate was transferred to Esopus, New York, in 1942; St. Ann's Novitiate moved to Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, in 1949; and the Provincial House was established at Esopus, New York in 1952. As a result of the transfer of the three communities, the Province was able to initiate a twenty year building program for Marist College. Marist Normal School (Scholasticate) had been renamed Marian College, when it received its provisional charter from the University of the State of New York in 1946.(1.)

In addition, a graduate house of studies was opened near Catholic University, Washington, D. C. Thus another dream of the early pioneers became a reality. Each house of studios was thus firmly established and each one had expanded sufficiently to accommodate the brothers and students.

One reason why this was possible was the use of brothers in the construction of several buildings. In fact one of the characteristics of this period was the type and amount of work which the brothers accomplished during their summers and leisure hours. No longer did they build frame extensions to existing buildings; they erected concrete and brick buildings in Poughkeepsie, Esopus and Lawrence. Again for other constructions such as the gymnasium building at Marian College, and the classroom-gymnasium building at Mount St. Michael, construction companies were engaged. But once the shell of the buildings were completed, the brothers finished the paneling, painting, plumbing and electrical work. The application of the brothers to manual work recalled the spirit which characterized the founding brothers in France and reduced expenses considerably.

This period witnessed the departure of the first American Marist missionaries. Following the meeting of Marist members of the Fourteenth General Chapter (1946), held in Grugliasco, Italy, the American Provincial Consultors decided that they would accede to the wishes of the Chapter and established a mission territory in the Philippine Islands. Between 1948 and 1953 fourteen brothers volunteered to staff high schools on the Island of Mindanao.(2.) Several other brothers were loaned to other provinces to teach in schools in Brazil, Rhodesia, New Caledonia, Canada and in Mexico.

Interest in summer camps was also revived during this period. Brothers had been withdrawn from summer camp work in 1930,following the decision to close St. Ann's Camp. To meet wartime emergency in the early forties brothers were sent to various diocesan camps upon the requests from the Archbishop of New York and various pastors. Then in 1949 a camp was purchased at Center Ossipee, New Hampshire. It was named Camp Marist for Boys. A second camp was donated to the Province by Monsignor Aloysius Dineen of Holy Innocents Parish in New York City in 1950. This latter site, Camp Sunset in Plattekill, New York, was adapted for the use of student brothers at nearby Marian College, and for those in training in Esopus, New York.

Thirty-three brothers died during the Transition Period. Many of them were Frenchmen who had taught in this country from thirty to forty years.

At the end of this period, Brother Thomas Austin was appointed Assistant General. He was succeeded by Brother Linus William in April 1953. Brother Linus found it possible to open new provincial schools, and add to the staff of several others. Larger graduating classes from Marian College enabled the new Provincial to do this.

BROTHER HENRY CHARLES, 1931-1937

The Transition Period of the American Province opened with the appointment of Brother Henry Charles as fifth provincial. Upon acceptance of the new post, he undertook the task of leading the Province through difficult times during the depression. Economic difficulties were responsible in part for the altering of the work of the brothers whom he was to direct. During Brother Henrys six year tenure his policies helped to solve the serious financial problems of the Province, and ensure a secure future for Marist work.

Brother Henry (Charles Henri Gregoire) was born on September 11, 1892. He was reared and educated in the city of St. John, P.Q., Canada. He entered the Institute in 1906 at the juniorate in Poughkeepsie. Two year later, on July 26, 1908, he was invested with the Marist cassock with the first group to be received in the United States.

Following his scholasticate training, he was assigned to St. Boniface College in Manitoba, Canada; to St. Ignatius and St. Agnes Grammar Schools in New York City; and to Marist School for Boys in Savannah, Georgia. In St. Ignatius he served as head of the boys' department from 1915 until 1920. Previous to his assignment as provincial, Brother Henry was appointed to the directorships of Marist School for Boys in Savannah (1922-1925); of Ecole Hevey, Manchester, New Hampshire (1926-1929) and of St. Ann's Academy in New York City (1929-1931).(3.)

In 1931 he was responsible for the appointment of eighty-nine brothers to grammar school classes and thirty-nine to high school work. Twenty-two years later, at the and of this period (1953) there were only twenty brothers assigned to grammar schools, and over two hundred assigned to high schools, as administrators, or teachers. This shift of personnel was stimulated mainly by economic circumstances, which forced the brothers who were poorly remunerated, to withdraw from grammar schools and take up better paid high school work.

It was early in Brother Henry's administration that monetary concerns became critical. The majority of the pastors in the parochial school of the Province asked for reduction in the brothers' salaries. At two of the parish schools, where brothers had taught for forty-two years and twenty-seven years respectively, the burden of conducting two separate departments forced the pastors to adopt co-education under the Sisters or discontinue the high school. The first withdrawal of brothers was from St. Jean Baptiste School in New York City in 1934. Two years later the brother left St. Peter's Grammar and High School in Poughkeepsie. In the two New York City academies rates had to be lowered in order to retain the students.(4.) Expenses for maintaining the training centers grew more burdensome.(5.) The idea to send brothers to establish a mission in the Philippines was abandoned, because provincial finances could not sustain the expenses involved in mission work.

In order to relocate these brothers, Brother Henry and his council accepted requests for high school teachers. They were sent to Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1933 at the request of Archbishop John J. Swint; to Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1935; and to the Tyngsboro Juniorate in Massachusetts.

Commitments were also made to send teachers to grammar schools where future high school classes were envisioned. The first of these was St. Peter's School in Haverstraw, New York. Four brothers were assigned here to staff the higher grades in 1931. Father Maher, the pastor, and Brother Provincial had agreed that the brothers would teach later in a proposed high school. Unfortunately, the untimely death of the pastor forestalled the beginning of this project. The succeeding pastors found that the construction of a high school was not feasible. Therefore, since 1931 four brothers have been reassigned annually to teach in the grammar grades.

A similar situation was accepted in Lowell, Massachusetts, where students of St. Jeanne D'Arc and St. Louis de France parishes could be encouraged to attend nearby St. Joseph High School under the direction of the Marist Brothers. The first staff of three brothers arrived at St. Jeanne D'Arc in 1936. Due to the slow recovery of the parish finances, the Pastor of St. Louis was unable to obtain the services of the brothers. Nevertheless, within a few years, St. Joseph High Schools enrollment had grown sufficiently to ensure success.

Elsewhere the Provincial Administration met with greater success. A High School, started by the principal, Brother Florentius, of St. Anne's Grammar School in Lawrence met with immediate success. The new school, Central Catholic, was a provincial undertaking to educate the boys from the various parishes of the city. Measures had to be taken to secure property for a sizeable school. Temporary buildings were rented to accommodate the first group of fifty-five students. The following September (1936) six brothers were withdrawn from St. Anne Granmar School and five others were added to the new Central Catholic High School faculty. Today, twenty-five years later, there are thirty-one brothers and four lay teacher-s teaching almost a thousand boys in this school.(6.)

The training of the young candidates for the Marist life was also strengthened. For instance a high school department replaced the grammar grades at the Tyngsboro Juniorate. From 1934 until 1949 this preparatory offered a three years high school course. The students completed their fourth year at the Novitiate in Poughkeepsie during their postulancy.(7.) This training was temporarily suspended because of a fire that gutted and destroyed part of the dormitory at this juniorate in December 1933. Brother Henry transferred the first group (freshmen) to the Poughkeepsie juniorate, and sent the other students home until the repairs were completed one year later.

To assist young brothers in preparing for their religious and professional duties, the Great Exercises of St. Ignatius were initiated in 1932. These thirty-day retreats were held every two or three years during the summer before the brothers made their final vows.(8.) One year later negotiations were begun to offer a full college course of studies at Marist Training School in Poughkeepsie. Unfortunately it took thirteen years to achieve this goals.(9.) Lastly for the first time brothers were allowed to attend any university to take courses.

Professional advancement was also made by the brothers in the field of graduate studies. No longer did the Bachelor's degree suffice. After the brothers had finished their undergraduate work at Fordham University they often continued their studies towards a Masters degree or doctorate. After the closing of St. Ann's Camp in 1931, more brothers were released from camp work, and sent either to study at the universities or to special projects at the training centers.

During Brother Henry's administration, the Thirteenth General Chapter was convoked at Grugliasco, Italy. Brother Henry, and Brother Leo, his predecessor as the elected delegate, represented the American brothers in 1932. Among the first results of the Chapter were the re-election of Very Rev. Brother Diogene as Superior General, and of Rev. Brother Francis Borgia as the Assistant General for the North American provinces. One of the policies which was adopted was to award diplomas of affiliation to the benefactors of the congregation. Since that time twenty-three American men and women have been affiliated to the Institute.(10.)

Between this Chapter and the following one (1946) the work of the brothers in Europe was seriously interrupted. Over two hundred brothers became the victims of war due to religious persecutions in Germany, Italy, and Spain.(11.) The ravages of the Spanish Civil War, the Sino-Japanese War,and World War II took many brothers' lives and destroyed millions of dollars of property. By 1938 the number of German brothers (340) was reduced to 240 because of Nazi persecutions. In Spain, 192 brothers were martyred by the Communists during this country's tragic civil war. Elsewhere the Japanese had already bombed a Marist school in Chungking, China, in 1930; others suffered the same fate later. Brothers in Mexico were still persecuted. However in the United States and in Canada the Institute fared well.(12.)

At the end of Brother Henry's tenure as provincial, he could count an increase of sixteen brothers in the Province; six brothers had died during this administration. Among the dead was Brother Felix Eugene, a former visitor for the North American mission (1901-1903) and its first provincial (1903-1905) . Others who died were the aged Brother Cesidius, the founder (1933)s 1"h'. William Murray, a Poughkeepsie attorney and benefactor (1933) and Rev. Fr. DeJordy, chaplain at the Tyngsboro Juniorate (1936)

In December, 1936 Brother Henry was replaced by Brother Paul Stratonic as provincial. He remained on the Provincial Council for the next twenty-one years (1937-195 8), assisting four provincials in the formation of policies. For a few months, December 1936 until March 1937" Brother Henry served as director of St. Anne School in Lawrence, Massachusetts. After the death of Brother Leo Adolph in March, Brother Henry was assigned to replace this brother as Master of Novices. Ten years later a serious fall caused him to be hospitalized for several months. Finally in 1948 he retired from this post in order to fully recover from this accident. In the years following, he was appointed Director General in Poughkeepsie (19491950), Provincial Secretary (1950-1952), and Director of the Novitiate in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts (1952-1958). Presently Brother Henry continues his active service in the Province (of Esopus) by managing the building and property at Archbishop Molloy High School in Jamaica, New York.

His influence in training young brothers and in policy making in the Province was noted in a formal address on the occasion of his golden jubilee as a Marist in 1958:

The history of his fifty years in the order is practically coincident with the history of the Province. The latter history can never be adequately written without constant reference to the important part which Brother Henry Charles had had in the growth, development and advance of education, and in the formation of that spirit of work and family devotedness which is so characteristic of this Province today.(13.)

REV. BROTHER PAUL STRATONIC, 1937-1942

Brother Paul Stratonic (Joseph Lelievere) was born on October 11, 1892, at St. Malo, P.Q., Canada. In 1905 he sought admission to the Marist Institute at St. Hyacinthe, P.Q., Canada. A year and a half later he was one of thirteen juniors selected to continue their studies for the brotherhood at Poughkeepsie, New York. Like his predecessor, Brother Henry Charles, he was among the first group to be invested at the Poughkeepsie Novitiate in July 1908.(14.)

As a young teacher he taught for six years at St. Ann's Academy and St. Paul's School in New York City. From 1919 until his appointment as the sixth provincial in December 1936, he was given several responsible administrative positions. Among them were the directorates of Marist School for Boys in Savannah, Georgia (1919-1922); of St. Ann's Academy (1931-1933); of Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, West Virginia (1933-1936) and of St. Anne School in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1936.(15.) He also served as master of juniors (1923-1931) in Poughkeepsie, New York.(16.)

These varied posts prepared Brother Paul effectively to guide the Province during the late depression years and the early war period. Early in his administration he appointed Brother Emile Nestor as Supervisor of Marist High Schools, in order to co-ordinate the different programs of studies. To begin with, Brother Nestor organized a series of provincial tests in subjects not given by state or diocesan boards. This was an important step forward in the Marist school system.

In 1939 and 1941, when economic pressures were especially felt in Savannah, Georgia and Manchester, New Hampshire parish schools, the brothers were withdrawn from them. Because of these withdrawals, brothers were available for high school work in Boys' Catholic High School in Augusta, Georgia, and thirteen brothers were assigned to the Mathematics and Language Departments of Cardinal Hayes High School in New York City. This was part of the trend towards high school teaching that the depression hastened. That trend also shifted brothers from the grammar school of St. Agnes in New York City to the high school department of that school.(17.)

In Lawrence progress was being made in the plans to expand Central Catholic High School. To this end a two and a half acre site was acquired in 1938 for the construction of a building to replace three old structures acquired from the City. Brother Paul Acyndinus was appointed to supervise the construction of this two story frame building. With more classroom space, it became possible to accommodate more students and add four brothers to the faculty. The success of Central Catholic High School inspired at this time a similar institution in Poughkeepsie, but negotiations to that end proved futile.(18.)

Brother Provincial had to turn his attention to the Hermitage property in Poughkeepsie, where the need for better facilities became acute. Among the number of projects undertaken to relieve congestion in the different houses of studies was the addition of a dormitory building at the Novitiate in 1941. The Provincial House-Juniorate building was also renovated, to provide better living quarters for the three communities there.

At long last the most important development, the building of a large Provincial House for all the Hermitage communities was approved by the Superiors in a cablegram dated December 12, 1940.(19.) Immediate preparations for the excavations were unexpectedly halted in November 1941, at the request of the Superior General. Because of the rising costs occasioned by World War II, he suggested that a saving could be effected by the purchase of an old estate in the Poughkeepsie area. The news was a painful blow, but the suggestion proved to be a wise move. Several hundred thousand dollars were economized as a result.

The search for an appropriate estate ended several months later. Bishop Stephen Donohue, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New Yorks suggested to Brother Provincial that the Oliver H. Payne estate in Esopuss New York might meet his needs. There has never been any doubt that it has since, and it was purchased from the Episcopal Diocese of New York in June 1942.(20.) Brothers from Poughkeepsie were sent to Esopus to adapt the buildings for the transfer of the juniors in August. Thus Marist Preparatory in Esopus was opened and St. Ann's Juniorate in Poughkeepsies New York, was closed.

To complete the Province training centers, Brother Paul had long hoped to establish a graduate house of studies near the Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C. A small sixteen acre property in nearby Hyattsville, Maryland, was purchased for that purpose in 1939. In September of that year four brothers arrived to occupy the ten room houses and to inaugurate Champagnat Hall.

During this administration Brother Paul and his council gave serious considerations in 1941 to appeals for missionaries for the Philippines and Africa. But the Provincial Council decided to wait until the wartime hazards in these areas were removed.(21.) In the meantime they did answer the appeal to staff summer camps in the Archdiocese of New York. An accelerated study program to train diocesan priests had limited the number of seminarians for this work.(22.)

Two of the most significant years in this administration were 1940 and 1942. The first witnessed in all Marist communities and schools the observance of the centenary of the death of the Venerable Champagnats the Bounder of the Marist Brothers. At the time of the centenary there were sight thousand brothers, and five thousand young aspirants to the brotherhood. Throughout the Marist world Masses of Thanksgiving were offered on June 6, 1940. Each Marist community prepared a comprehensive exhibit on the life and work of the brothers since the foundin. To mark the occasion in this Province, a souvenir journal was published.(23.)

These years also became the occasion of a series of golden jubilees commemorating the arrival of the brothers at St. Joseph School in Lowell, Massachusetts; at St. Anne School in Lawrence, Massachusetts; and ,he founding of St. Ann's Academy in New York City. Elaborate religious ceremonies and civic receptions were held at these schools. In April 1942, its Excellency Archbishop Francis Spellman presided at the Mass of Thanksgiving in St. Jean Baptiste Church, as part of the St. Ann's Academy commemoration The Right Reverend Charles D. Wood the last surviving member )f the original faculty, officiated at the mass.(24.) Bishop Francis McIntyre, present Cardinal-Archbishop of Los Angeles, presided at the civic reception at the Hotel Astor, New York City.

In Lowell and in Lawrence the observances of the golden jubilee occasioned rejoicing among the many former students who were on hand to honor the brothers and their Venerable founder. Masses were offered in both parishes by alumni priests. Souvenir journals were prepared for the occasion to present the highlights of the fifty year history of the respective schools. A Mass of Thanksgivin at St. Joseph Church in Lowell was held and a civic reception followed.(25.)

Although 1942 was a special year for rejoicing in the Province, it also brought the news of the deaths of Very Reverend Brother Diogene, Superior General and of Reverend Brother Francis Borgia, Assistant General for the North American Provinces.

During Brother Paul's administration twelve brothers went to their reward. Among them were the first two provincials of the United States Province: Brother Heribert (+1939), and Brother Ptolemeus (+1940). Other deaths of this time included local administrators: Brother Leo Adolph, Master of Novices (+1937); Brother Mary Florentius, Director of Central Catholic, Lawrence, Massachusetts (+1938); and Brother Alphonse Victor, Director of St. Anne School in Lawrence, Massachusetts (+1941).

Brother Paul's administration was curtailed abruptly in 1942 by the death of the Reverend Brother Francis Borgia w h o m he succeeded as Assistant General. After a six year term (1942-191.8) in Europe, he retired to his native Canada where he is presently assigned to the community of Valcartier, P.Q.

On July 26, 1942, Brother Paul, the last of the Canadian-born provincials, handed the responsibility of his position over to Brother Louis Omer, then Director General in Poughkeepsie.

BROTHER LOUIS OMER, 1942-1948

Brother Louis Omer (Omer Duprez) was born on December 22, 1897, in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was educated by Marist brothers at St. Joseph School in that city. In 1912 he entered the Institute at the Poughkeepsie Novitiate. After his novitiate training he was sent to St. Pierre Jolys in Manitoba, Canada.(26.)

He began his teaching career in New York City, where he spent fifteen years at St. Jean Baptiste School, St. Agnes School, and at St. Ann's Academy. In 1931 he was called to Europe to further his ascetical studies at the Second Novitiate of the congregation. Upon his return Brother Louis was assigned to a number of directorates which prepared him for governing the Province in 1942. He served as director of St. Joseph School of Haverhill, (1932-1933). of St. Peter's School in Poughkeepsie (1933-1936), of St. Agnes High School in New York City (1938-1940), and as Director General of the Poughkeepsie communities (1940-1942).(27.)

Brother Louis Omer's administration (1942-1948) covered a very trying time for the Province. During six and a half years as provincial, he had to cope with vexing wartime problems. These included various shore ages, rare contacts with the Mother House at St. Genis Laval, (then in Vichy, France), draft board complications over the admission of postulants, the internment of three German brothers from Samoa and various other problems.(28.)

The most urgent of these was the food shortage throughout the war. Fortunately by this time the dairy farms and vegetable gardens and orchards in Poughkeepsie and Tyngsboro provided part of the needs requirea to feed the students in training. The interned German brothers were assigned to these farms and gardens to help out during their wartime stay is the United States Province.

Once the war was over, postwar prosperity affected an increase c provincial finances and of personnel.(29.) An unusual number of candidates for the novitiate and juniorate applied for admission at this time. The two juniorates had sufficient accommodations for these students, but the Novitiate became very inadequate. To remedy the latter situation, on October 18, 1948 the Provincial Council decided to transfer the Novitiate to the more spacious juniorate building in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.(30.) This was accomplished a year later, during the next provincial administration. It was the solution to a problem which had vexed the various provincials for thirty years.

Another blessing which accompanied postwar prosperity was the establishment of the Marian (Marist) College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Consultations to this end had begun in 19" with Dr. Roy J. Deferrari, Secretary General of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. His directives and advice enabled the brothers to meet the requirements for a four year college. Two years later on September 20, 1946, a Provisional Charter was granted to Marian College by the University of the State of New York.(31.) The new college had already been affiliated with the Catholic University of America. A building and renovation program was the; begun to meet urgent needs. Several buildings were renovated and in 1947 the brothers began the construction of a gymnasium-utility building. Brother Francis Xavier, member of the faculty, was appointed to direct the work, which was completed in 1949.

One reason for the increase of vocations during this administration was the influx of hundreds of students into the schools of the Province. In New York City alone, a fifth and a sixth Marist school were added to those in existence. In 1946 brothers were sent to St. Helena(32.) parochial school and to Bishop Dubois High School.

Elsewhere in the Province more brothers entered new fields of Catholic education. At the urgent request of the Benedictine Fathers at Marmion Military Academy in Aurora, Illinois, six brothers were sent to teach there in September of 1944. This foundation was to be a temporary one, for the Provincial agreed to replace the number of lay teachers at the Academy. This was delayed until 1958, when the brothers were needed in two newly acquired Texas schools.(33.) While the Marist Brothers were being welcomed in the Midwest, they were being withdrawn from two schools in Massachusetts: St. Jeanne D'Arc in Lowell, in 1946, and St. Joseph School in Haverhill, a year later.

In Lawrence, Massachusetts on the other hand, permanency and expansion were unquestioned. As the school enrollment increased the need for a major construction at Central Catholic High School became urgent. Brother Provincial and-his council considered plans for the erection of a large gymnasium-classroom building. Because the provincial funds could not meet a million dollar expense, the brothers of the Province were asked to spend their holidays and summer vacations working at this giant project. Under the direction of Brother Nilus Vincent, the edifice was completed in three years (1948-1957). This magnificent building was the first of a series of imposing Marist constructions.(34.)

During Brother Louis Omer's administration, the Thirteenth General Chapter of the Institute helped to solve the many administrative problems that had arisen since 1932. It was held in Grugliasco, Italy in October 1946. Brother Provincial was accompanied to the Chapter by two elected delegates from the province: Brother Francis Xavier and Brother John Lawrence. The capitulants elected Reverend Brother Leonida, superior general. Reverend Brother Paul Stratonic, the former Provincial was re-elected as Assistant General for the North American Provinces. One of the resolutions of the Chapter encouraged province-sponsored missions by the thirty-two provinces.

This resolution proved to be very significant in the development of the American Province. Strongly mission-minded Brother Louis Omer began planning for a mission territory in the Philippine Islands. He traveled to the Island of Mindanao in 194? to confer with Most Reverend Gerard Mongeau, O.M.I., Bishop of the Cotabato Diocese. As a result of this meeting, a staff of four brothers was sent to Notre Dame of Cotabato High School in June 1948. This was the beginning of the present prosperous and autonomous Marist District for the Philippine Islands.(35.)

Brother Louis Omer's administration will be remembered also for the help be supplied to missions outside his jurisdiction. Thus Brother Victor Ralph left for the African mission school at Kutama, Southern Rhodesia, in 1946; Brothers Charles Raymond and Henry Firmin, for New Caledonia that same year.

Another postwar development which affected the Province was the plan to re-enter the field of camp work during the summers. The success achieved by the brothers in this work during the war years encouraged the Provincial to make plans for a province-sponsored summer camp. Toward the end of Brother Louis' administration, Brother Mary Andrew, Provincial Treasurer, was assigned to investigate various possibilities.(36.) It was not until the next administration began that a camp site was purchased at Center Ossipee, New Hampshire.

Before the end of his administration, Brother Louis saw seven of his brothers buried in Poughkeepsie. Four of them were among the early missionaries from France. One of them, Brother Mary Anicetus, had been provincial treasurer for over thirty-five years.

Benedict Henry (1949-1959). Extensive remodeling, and the construction of several additional buildings have made the Camp one of the best in the United States.

During Brother Thomas Austin's administration, candidates for the brotherhood increased considerably. Groups of forty or more were invested with the Marist cassock during the summers of 1950, 1951 and 1952. As a result, the personnel of the Province increased by one hundred and forty brothers.

Because these large groups had to be trained at Marian College before receiving teaching assignments, there were few available for the staffing of new schools. The Provincial Council had to decline offers to staff such schools as Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York; St. Joseph Deaf and Dumb Institute in New York City; Bishop Carroll High School in Washington, D. C. and several others. The only offer which was accepted was St. Mary's Parochial High School in Manhasset, New York in 1950 .3 This was the first Marist community in the then Diocese of Brooklyn. That same year the four remaining brothers assigned to the St. Anne's Grammar School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, were withdrawn from the last remaining Franco-American grammar school in the Province.

The mission territory in the Philippine Islands was greatly helped during this administration. The first four brothers who opened a Marist high school mission at Cotabato were supplemented by the addition of ten others. In 1950, 1952 and 195 3, three high schools on the Island of Mindanao were staffed by the brothers. These schools included Notre Dame of Marbel, Notre Dame of Lagao and Notre Dame of Kidapawan. In 1952, Brother Provincial accepted Brother Louis Omer's resignation as master of novices to allow him to investigate possibilities of starting a novitiate in the Philippines. He was given the title and authority of Provincial Visitor. It was also at this time that the first five Filippino candidates for the brotherhood arrived at the novitiate in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.

One year and a half before the end of Brother Thomas Austin's second term he travelled to St. Genis Laval, France to undertake the work of Assistant General. In that capacity Brother Thomas was delegated to visit the United States (1955) and Canada and their respective mission districts.

In 1958 Reverend Brother Thomas Austin, A.G., returned to the United States to assume the post of director of the Marist community at the Catholic University of Washington, D. C. As such he was also Director of Men's Residences, and an executive officer of Catholic University. From this active position Brother Thomas watches the work of the American Marists expand and prosper.

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Footnotes:

1. In 1960 the college once again had its name changed from Marian College to Marist College.
2. The plan for the development of this mission field called for the staffing of a new high school every two years.  Four or five brothers constitute a community.
3. Marist College Archives.
4. Both St. Ann's Academy and Mount st. MIchael Academy lost a hundred students each, between 1929 and 1933.
5. In a study made in 1933, it was noted that the average student at the Poughkeepsie Novitiate paid six cents a day for his board, education, and training.
6. Supervisor of Marist Schools Archives.
7. The first year of the Novitiate training.
8. The thirty-day retreats were somewhat modified in 1959.
9. Marist College House Annals.
10. On June 14, 1934, the following were affiliated to the Institute for their benefactions to the United States Province: doctors Charles and James McCambridge and Mr. Joseph E. Mack (attorney) of Poughkeepsie; Rev. Father Auguste Tapin (chaplain at Mt. St. Michael) and Mrs. Margaret McMahon of New York; and Dr. John S. Foster and family of Manchester, New Hampshire.  These were entitled to the suffrages and prayers of all the brothers of the Institute.
11. The same could be said of brothers in Mexico and China.
12. Brother Joseph Henry, a Spaniard of the United States Province, visited Spain in 1936.  While there he was drafted in the Red Army, then the Nationalist Army.  Excerpts of his letters published in the Bulletin of Studies in 1938 and 1939 gave the American Brothers an insight on the terrible developments in that country.
13. Bulletin of Studies, Vol. 48 (May 1959), p. 218.
14. Of the original nine, six celebrated their golden jubilee in 1948.  Two became provincials: Borhers Henry Charles and Paul Stratonic.  The latter also became the first Assistant General from the United States Province.  Brother Mary Andrew was appointed Provincial Bursar in 1946, a post which he still retains in the Poughkeepsie Province.
15. Because of his organizational abilities, he was entrusted with the founding of the Marist communities in Savannah and Wheeling.
16. Marist College Archives.
17. Provincial Council Deliberations, 1911-1961
18. Loc. cit.
19. Loc. cit.
20. Marist Preparatory House Annals.
21. Provincial Council Deliberations, 1911-1961
22. Loc. cit.
23. Centenary of the Death of Venerable Marcellin Champagnat.
24. In 1892, Msgr. Wood then Charles Dubois, a Franciscan tertiary, taught at the original St. Jean Baptiste School which also housed the Academy.  After his ordination he served as a diocesan priest in South Carolina.  He died in New York City in 1948.
25. These souvenir journals gave an interesting insight on the spirit and loyalty of these Franco-Americans.
26. Brother Louis Omer was the first American-born Marist to be appointed Provincial.
27. Marist College Archives.
28. Report made by Brother Louis Omer on August 9, 1959.
29. The number of brothers increased from 249 to 314.
30. Provincial Council Deliberations, 1911-1961.
31. Marist College House Annals.
32. At this writing (1961) the student enrollment is 1,300.  Vocations from this school number 125 to the brotherhood and to the priesthood.
33. Marist Provincialate Archives.
34. Provincial Council Deliberations, 1911-1961
35. In 1948 Brother Louis Omer sanctioned the organization of the Marist Mission League at St. Ann's Academy in New York City.  Brother Richard Aloysius who headed this group started a series of socials to obtain funds to subsidize the mission program.  Since that time this League has broadened its activities which are now in operation at Archbishop Molloy High School and St. Stephen parish in New York City.
36. Loc. cit.
37. Loc. cit.: Roman indult 18471/59
38. This International Juniorate was founded in 1903 for the purpose of training brothers for the missions.  The graduates are assigned to various posts by the Superior General, himself.
39. Marist College Archives.
40. Loc. cit.
41. Marist College House Annals.
42. Provincial Council Deliberations, 1911-1961.
43. Loc. cit.

 

 

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last updated on July 14, 2004