History of the Marist Brothers in the United States
Chapter V - The Expansion Period, 1953-

For the past seven and one half years the development and growth of the Province continued to be characterized by an increase of brothers and schools. This increase therefore enabled new schools to be opened in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Florida and in the mission areas of the Philippine Islands and Japan. Because the government of such a large group of brothers became difficult for one man, provincial visitors were appointed to assist the Provincial. Finally in 1959 the General Council of the Institute divided the United States Province into two autonomous provinces. Since that time two Provincials generally have confined the development of their respective province to geographical areas: in New York and New England for the Poughkeepsie Province; and New York, New Jersey and the South for the Esopus Province.

This expansion period occurred at a time when the majority of the schools, whether provincial, diocesan or parochial, underwent remodeling, construction changes, and expansion of facilities. In spite of the increase of personnel during this period, it became necessary in some schools to hire a number of lay teachers, or to withdraw the brothers from schools such as Marmion Military Academy in Aurora, Illinois.

Significant progress was also made in the mission territories during this period. In 1953 there were three high schools, conducted by fourteen brothers in the Philippines; today there are twenty-nine professed brothers in six high schools, three colleges, and a novitiate. The original mission schools have been replaced by sturdier buildings constructed by the brothers during their summers and leisure time. On September 12, 1960 this mission territory was given its autonomy as a Marist district. In addition a second Marist mission territory was added in 1957 to the Province of the United States. A small English speaking high school in Kobe, Japan was assigned to this province by the General Council. That year the first group of three American missionaries left for Japan. A second school was under study at Kumamoto since 1959 and was opened two years later.

Since the division of the United States Province in 1959 the mission territories have been administered separately by each of the two new provinces, the Philippines mission by the Esopus Marists until September 1960, and the Japanese mission by the Poughkeepsie brothers.

Other missions received brothers during these years. In 1954 two brothers travelled to South Africa to teach in schools in the Province of South Africa. In 1960 Brother Paul Ambrose, Assistant General for the American and Chinese Provinces, convinced the American Provincials of the extreme need for help in the Far East. In answer to his appeal four American brothers have left. for Hong Kong and Sarawak, respectively.(1.)

During the expansion period the professional advancement of the brothers was furthered by the inauguration of the Marist Educational Conferences in 1955. The stimulus which these conferences has added to the brothers' professional growth has been evident in the number of projects undertaken in programming; in the addition of more degreed men to the faculties, and in the number of grants and honorary degrees awarded to the brothers.(2.)

Other noteworthy events occurring in this period include the dedication of several school buildings, special observance of the Marian year, and above all the beatification of the Founder of the Institute on May 29, 1955. Finally the convocation of the Fifteenth General Chapter of the Institute in 1958 brought important changes in the regular observance which modernized customs and rules, and in the personnel of the General Council at the Mother House.


Brother Linus William (William Francis Hall) was appointed the ninth and last provincial of the United States Province which was divided during his administration. The five years he served in office were also characterized by an increase in the number of brothers available for teaching assignments, by a significant advancement in the professional depth of the brothers, by the addition of nine schools to the province and the missions, and by a general modernization program. These characteristics served to pattern the blueprints for the future of the Institute in the United States, and to the establishment of two independent provinces on February 23, 1959.

Brother Linus William, who was destined to govern the brothers at such a significant time in the history of the American Province, was born in New York City, on July 20, 1904. Following his graduation from St. Ignatius Loyola School in New York City in 1919, he entered the Poughkeepsie Juniorate. He was given the Marist cassock on July 26, 1920. Before beginning his scholasticate training (1924-1926), young Brother Linus taught for three years at Boys' Catholic Grammar School in Savannah, Georgia. From 1926 until 1934, he taught in the High School Departments at St. Ann's Academy and St. Agnes School in New York City.

At the age of thirty he was assigned as principal of Mount St. Michael in upper New York City (1934-1937). During the following years, he assumed the directorships of St. Ann's Academy (1937-1940) (1948-1953) of Champagnat Hall, Washington., D. C. (1940-1942); of Marist Preparatory, Esopus, New York (1942-1948); and of the Provincial House in Poughkeepsie (1948).(3.)

These varied administrative posts and his experience as a provincial consultor for fifteen years (1938-1953) prepared Brother Linus William for the arduous duties of the Expansion Period.

At the beginning of his term in office Brother Provincial found the direction of his large Province required some delegation of authority. This he confided to Brother Paul Ambrose, who became President of Marian College and Director of Studies (1954), and Provincial Visitor (1955). In the latter capacity Brother Paul Ambrose relieved Brother Provincial of the annual visitations of the three training centers.

During Brother Linus Williamts administration the increasing number of brothers enabled him to establish faculties at six new American schools and three foreign missions. The American Marist Brothers were thus introduced into the dioceses of Newark, New Jersey (1954) and Corpus Christi, Texas (1957).

In the New York metropolitan area where there were two Maristowned schools prospering, a third one was established. In Bayonne, New Jersey, Marist High School was opened in the wooden structures of Holy Family Academy in September 1954. While awaiting a more suitable site, the school used "emergency facilities" in a nearby parish.(4.)

That same year seven brothers were assigned to Resurrection Ascension Grammar School in Rego Park, New York. This was a significant move, for it was a reversal of a Transition Period policy of withdrawing brothers from elementary schools for high school work.

In other schools growing pains were eased by new constructions. In 1956 and 1957, the two Academies in New York City expanded their facilities to accommodate the growing number of students and members of the faculty. At Mount St. Michael two stories were added to the brothers residence. Upon completion of this project thirty-two additional rooms were provided in this building which is now known as Champagnat Hall. Because it was financially inadvisable to expand facilities at obsolescent St. Ann's Academy, the administration decided to seek a new location for the school in the diocese of Brooklyn. The outcome was a four story building, Archbishop Molloy High School in Jamaica, Long Island. Then in 1957 the faculty and students vacated the old St. Ann's and moved into a beautiful modern school. On May 4, 1958 Most Reverend Brian MeEntegart, Bishop of Brooklyn dedicated the school.(5.)

Similar buildin problems affected diocesan schools which the brothers staffed. In 1959, Francis Cardinal Spellman dedicated a new gymnasium at Bishop Dubois High School in New York City. At Manhasset, New York, Monsignor John K. Sharp, Pastor of St. Mary's Parish, doubled the facilities for the parish co-institutional high school by adding a new school building for boys to the parish plant. Most Reverend Walter Kellenberg of the newly created Diocese of Rockville Center (1957), dedicated the new building on June 19, 1958.(6.)

In the Poughkeepsie area the brothers accepted the invitation to staff two schools; Holy Trinity Grammar School in 1957, and our Lady of Lourdes High School in 1958.

In that city four buildings were completed and dedicated at Marian College during this administration. Cardinal Spellman dedicated the first, the chapel, on May 20, 1954.(7.) Four years later he returned to dedicate the dining room-study hall building, an administration center, a dormitory building, and officiated at the ground breaking ceremonies for a new classroom building.(8.) It was on this occasion he offered his personal congratulations to a diamond and four golden jubilarians. The latter were among the first novices to be received into the Institute at the Poughkeepsie Novitiate in 1908.

What these jubilarians had known as The Hermitage had changed radically in fifty years. The monastic appearance which had characterized the old property had given way to the recent development program for Marist College. The farm, orchards, and gardens, which had been the scene of fruitful activity for almost fifty years, yielded to spacious campus and ultra-modern buildings. The older brothers, workers of the first hours, had passed on. The new generation of brothers had little time for farming, for construction work claimed their energies and interests.

The changes at St. Ann's Hermitage brought an end to the old Juniorate-Provincial House, which had served as the center of the province for forty-one years. The work of a demolition company, and a fire the night of October 23, 1958 razed the old wooden structure to the ground.(9.) With it the things of the past seem to be buried, and a future of many changes to be ahead.

In the meantime across the Hudson River at the new Provincial House in Esopus, the Provincial Administration had plans for the expansion of Marist Preparatory facilities. The building which had once served as the Superintendentts residence on the Oliver H. Payne estate was renovated during the summer of 1957. Upon the completion of the work, the seniors took possession of the building, which became known as the "Seniorate." On this property also a new site was chosen for a second community cemetery in 195 3. During Brother Linus' administration fourteen brothers were laid to rest here. Among them were Brother Joseph Leo, director of the Marist community of Marmion Academy, Aurora, Illinois (1951.x.) ; Brother Placid Robert, Director General of Esopus (1957); and Brother Nicholas Mary, the Marist Supervisor of community schools (1957).(10.)

This administration also sanctioned a number of additional apostolic activities by the brothers. Scholastics at Marian College were sent every week to do catechetical work at the New York School for Retarded Children at Wasaic, New York (1956); at the Hudson State Hospital in Poughkeepsie, (1957). Other Marist activities included released time instructions at Marlboro Junior High School in Marlboro, New York (1957), at the Wiltwick School for Boys, Esopus (1956); and at St. Joan of Arc Religious Vacation School at West Hurley, New York (1957). In the South similar instructions were also offered at Fort Gordon, Augusta, Georgia.(11.)

Elsewhere in the Province, a modernization and expansion program was also under way. Brother George Camille, who had just completed two terms as principal of Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, was given in 1957 the direction of a program to improve the facilities in this schoo1.(12.) This ten year project involved the addition of a faculty residence and classroom building.

Another area of feverish Marist activity was at Camp Marist at Center Ossipee, New Hampshire. At this camp a number of bungalows were constructed by the brothers, the beach facilities were expanded, and the property was landscaped. But the most impressive project which the brothers completed here was Our Lady of Fatima Chapel. The work which was begun in the summer of 1955, was delayed in the collapse of the building during the winter of 1956. Under the direction of Brother Joannes Marius, a capable designer and contractor, the original plans were altered to prevent similar accidents in the future.(13.) On August 9, 1958, Most Reverend Matthew F. Brady, the late Bishop of Manchester, New Hampshire dedicated the magnificent colonial-type chapel.

In Wheeling, West Virginia, in Augusta, Georgia, in Brownsville, Texas, the Marist Brothers enjoyed the results of progressive thinking. Archbishop John J. Swint of Wheeling began a four year program to rebuild the cathedral school (1957-1961).(14.) A gymnasium was completed in 1958. A new school building was started to provide the boys' department with the needed modern facilities. In Augusta, Georgia, a new ranch-type co-institutional high school and brothers' residence was completed for September, 1957. The first building, named "Aquinas High School," replaced the century old Boys' Catholic High School,and Mount St. Joseph Academy, (high school)for girls of that city. Archbishop Gerald P. O'Hara, Bishop of Savannah-Atlanta, officiated at the dedication of this school on November 3, 1957. In the Southwest the American Province acquired two Texas schools that same year. The two St. Joseph Academies of Brownsville and Laredo had been staffed by Marist Brothers from the Mexican Province. At the request of the General Council, the American Province undertook to send brothers to replace those from Mexico, for the latter were needed in schools of the Mexican Province. When the Province accepted the Academies, it also assumed the financial burdens of relocating and constructing the Academy of Brownsville. When it was completed Most Reverend M. S. Garriga, Bishop of Corpus Christi, dedicated it in April 1958.

Although this administration staffed two new schools, it withdrew the brothers from three others in the Province. In schools where there were both the high school and grammar grades, the brothers were withdrawn from the grades. This was the case at St. Helena High School in New York city (1955); and at St. Ann's Academy, New York City (1957). The community of Marmion Academy, Aurora, Illinois was also recalled.


The schools in the Philippine mission territory followed the developments in the United States schools. The original buildings at Cotabato, Marbel, Lagao and Kidapawan were replaced by concrete and brick structures. These projects were financed by returns from tuition charged in the mission schools, but especially by funds raised by the Marist Mission League, the Propagation of the Faith Society; and from mission collections in Marist schools and churches in various dioceses.

To further strengthen Marist influence in the Philippine Islands a college department was opened in 1954 at Notre Dame of Marbel High School. A year later a fifth mission high school was staffed at Dadiangas in the Cotobato Vicariate. To staff the Philippine schools fourteen American brothers and six native Filipino brothers were added to those already there. In 1956 the government of this mission changed hands. That year Brother Louis Omer, the local Provincial Visitor returned to the United States and was replaced by Brother Maurus James.(15.)


The religious and professional advancement of the brothers was also stressed during this administration. Evidence of this appeared in the inauguration of the Marist Educational Conferences. Under the chairmanship of Brother Paul Ambrose, Director of Studies, several brothers were appointed to formulate plans for the first Marist Educational Conference to be held at Mount St. Michael Academy in New York City in December 1955. The purpose of this Conference and of those that followed is found in the words of the keynote speaker, Brother Paul Ambrose:

As for the purpose of this Conference, I would like to refer to the words of the Blessed Founder as he called the Brothers to attend the first Conference (Easter time, 1840]. He wanted the Conference to be a help to the Brothers because 'above all we must be good catechists, but we must also endeavor to become capable teachers.(16.)

He also noted:

. . . . [To] acquire professional depth by integrating and sharing. Another specific purpose of the Conference is to exploit our potential in the Province in the various fields by having various panels. Here, I would say, is the main work of the Conference.(17.)

One of the first results of this Conference was the inauguration of a number of departmental societies, to re-examine existing curricula, syllabi and policies. As a result of constructive criticism and imaginative planning, new policies and improved syllabi have been introduced into the Marist schools.

In September of 1956 Brother Nicholas Mary, who had retired as director of St. Mary's High School in Manhasset, New York, was named to the position-of Supervisor of Marist Schools. He automatically became chairman of the Diarist Educational Conferences. To complement the first Conference which took inspiration from a keynote entitled "Father Champagnat, Model of Religious Educators," he chose for the 1956 Conference a correlated theme: "Towards a Greater Uniformity in Our Marist Schools." Following the second Conference, a pamphlet with the title "Chairman of Departments," encouraged schools with large faculties to organize permanent departments for the purpose of adopting uniform polices in all departments of a school.

Shortly before the convocation of the Third Marist Educational Conference in November, 1957, Brother Nicholas Mary died suddenly. As Conference chairman he was replaced by Brother Daniel Mary of the Marian College faculty. The keynote of this meeting was "Towards a Philosophy )f Education for American Marist High Schools."

The fourth and fifth conferences offered as themes "The Role of ;he Marist School in the Development of the Complete Personality" and "The Marist Brother, Religious, Teacher and Scholar." These meetings were under ;he direction of the new Marist Supervisor, Brother Bernard Gregory.

The conferences were inaugurated at an opportune time in the history of the Province. For this was a time when a greater number of young teachers were coming from Marian College. The professional encouragement and helps offered by the assembled teachers to these young teachers helped to foster the program of professional depth.

The importance of professional depth became more evident as the need developed for professors for Marian College and for administrators in the expanding school system. In order to resolve this problem Champagnat Hall in Washington, D. C., which had been rented to another congregation since 1950, was reopened as a Marist house of studies in September 1956. Three brothers were released from teaching to begin graduate work in physics and chemistry at Catholic University. During the summers a great number of brothers were sent to Champagnat Hall for the same purpose. In addition many other brothers started work towards a doctorate at various universities.

To better prepare the young religious and the number of lay students (1957) admitted to Marian College the Religion Department there revised its special syllabus. The new syllabus called for a number of courses for the postulants and novices and an additional three year program.

Due to the necessity, Marian College scholastics were assigned to teaching positions before graduation. To compensate, Marian College Extension courses were offered at several New York and New England schools from 1946 on. This practice, however, was limited and was discontinued in 1959 after the policy of sending of degreed personnel was adopted. In the Novitiate the policy of only admitting high school graduates and discontinuing the senior year of high school brought a program of uniformity to this school.


Among the notable events of Brother Linus William's first administration were the observance of the Marian Year (195 4), and the Beatification of the Founder, Marcellin Champagnat (1955). The first event coincided with the completion and dedication of the Marian College chapel. Pilgrimage to this shrine drew hundreds of people. The most notable of these pilgrimages occurred in October 1954, when the Holy Name Rally sponsored by the respective societies of Dutchess a d Putnam Deaneries was held in front of the chapel on the campus.(18.) Marian Year observances also included special services in May at Mount St. Michael Academy, where all the Marist schools in the New York metropolitan area were in attendance.

The long awaited event of beatification of Marcellin Champagnat became possible when the Sacred Congregation of Rites in Rome notified the Superior General that two miracles attributed to the holy Founder were declared authentic.(19.) Following the announcement, Pope Pius XII decreed that the solemn ceremony of beatification was to be held on Pentecost Sunday, May 29, 1955. Among the hundreds of Marist brothers who witnessed these unforgettable ceremonies were thirteen brothers from the American Province. The delegation was headed by Brother Henry Charles who represented Brother Provincia1.(20.)

Throughout the Province on that day, special prayers of thanksgiving were followed by fraternal rejoicing. On the newly Blessed's feastday, June 6th, Masses of Thanksgiving were again offered in all Marist communities. In the New York metropolitan area the Mass was offered by a former Marist student, Auxiliary Bishop Edward Dargin, in St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was filled to capacity as brothers, student representations from Marist schools, and friends of the Institute gathers: to honor the Founder. Another former student, Monsignor John McClafferty of Catholic University delivered the allocution. Throughout the Marist world as well as throughout the Province, students and friends joined the brothers in thanksgiving and rejoicing.

Several worthwhile customs were introduced by Brother Linus. Such were the use of an English translation of the Office of the Blessed Mother (1956) and a retreat at aster cancelling one of the summer retreats.

What might be considered the climax of this administration occurred in September 1958. It was the occasion of the convocation of the Fifteenth General Chapter of the Institute at Grugliasco, Italy. Four American brothers participated in this Chapter: Reverend Brother Thomas Austin, Assistant General; Brother Linus William, Provincial; Brother Paul Ambrose, Provincial Visitor; and Brother Louis Omer, Director of Cardinal Hayes Marist community in New York City. The last two were elected as delegates by the perpetually professed brothers of the Province.

After an eight day retreat the capitulants began the business of the Chapter. Their first act was the election of a new superior general and ten assistants. Reverend Brother Charles Raphael, a Belgian, was elected Superior General for a term of nine years, and Brother Paul Ambrose and Brother Lorenzo (of the Province of Levis, Canada) were elected Assistants General for the American and Canadian Provinces respectively.(21.) Legislative acts passed by the Chapter affected the geographic structure of many provinces, reduced the term of office for the major superiors to nine years instead of twelve years, set the convocation of future chapters every nine years and approved the plans for the transfer of the Mother House from St. Genis Laval, France, to Rome, Italy.

Several time-honored customs disappeared at this Chapter. The roman collar replaced the traditional "rabat" in most countries. In a few provinces the Provincial Councils voted to retain the "rabat," as a strongly distinctive mark of the Marist.(22.) The family name replaced the given religious name to designate a brother. The Marian Office, more liturgical in composition, replaced the Office of the Blessed Virgin.(23.)

Strong appeal was made to the members of the Chapter to send brothers to study at Jesu Magister, a special inter-congregational division for male religious of the Lateran University in Rome.(24.) This appeal also stressed the importance of Catholic Action, and of Marist alumni organizations throughout the world.

After the Chapter the Provincial Administration of the United States Province was directed by the General Council to draw up plans to divide the Province. During the next four months the necessary measures to carry out this directive were discussed and adopted. On January 1, 1959 their plan for the division was accepted by the General Council. One month later the indult of approbation from the Vatican made the division officia1.(25.)


During the Expansion Period of the Province.- the General Council had made certain requests which altered the original plans for the development of the Province. The personnel and financial problems which arose from the acceptance of the St. Joseph Academies in Laredo and in Brownsville, Texas, and of the future mission territory of Japan counseled the postponement-of this division until such time as these schools could be properly integrated into the Province.(26.) Nevertheless, the General Council found that the benefits to be derived from the division would outweigh the advantages of postponement. The Provincial Council therefore presented to the General Council its recommendations on the many questions arising from the proposed division.(27.)

The announcement of the canonical erection of the Esopus and Poughkeepsie Provinces was made in a letter from Brother Paul Ambrose, Assistant General:

In its meeting on January 23, 1959, the General Council approved the division of the United States Province along the lines and under the terms submitted by the Provincial Council in its delibrations on January 1, 1959. The Holy See, by its Indult No. 94/59, dated February 2, 1959, has formally authorized that division, and the erection of the two new Provinces of ESOPUS and POUGHKEEPSIE, The following was then approved by the General Council at its meeting on February 11, 1959.(28.)

There followed a list of establishments which were to constitute the two provinces. For the most part the provinces were organized along geographic lines. For obvious reasons; the question of finances and vocations caused exceptions to be made. Brother Mary Andrew, the Provincial Bursar, was instrumental in offering to the Council the necessary information involving the difficult questions of financial stability for the two independent provinces.(29.)

The Province of Poughkeepsie was also called St. Ann's Province, after the traditional patroness of the United States Province. The Provincial Administration of this Province was assigned residence at Marian College in Poughkeepsie. The following is the list of establishments which constituted the new province:

Marian College, Poughkeepsie, New York
Our Lady of Lourdes High School, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Holy Trinity School, Poughkeepsie, New York
Mount St. Michael Academy, New York City
Bishop Dubois High School, New York City
Cardinal Hayes High School, New York City
St. Agnes High School, New York City
Central Catholic High School, Lawrence, Massachusetts
St. Joseph High School, Lowell, Massachusetts
St. Joseph Novitiate, Tynsgboro, Massachusetts
Champagnat Hall, Washington, D. C.
Camp Sunset, Platte kill, New York
Marist Brothers School, Kobe, Japan
Central Catholic High School, Wheeling, West Virginia(30.)

Most of the schools were thus situated on the eastern shore of the Hudson River in New York State or in New England. The others were in Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Brother John Lawrence, Director of Archbishop Molloy High School in Jamaica, Long Island was appointed the first provincial of the Poughkeepsie Province. His four consultors were Brother Leo Vincent, Director of Mount Saint Michael; Brother John Arthur, Director of Bishop Dubois High School; Brother Nilus Vincent, Treasurer at Marian College; and Brother Kieran Thomas, Director of Marian College.

Brother Linus William was appointed the Provincial of the Esopus Province. This province was given the patron, St. Joseph. Most of the schools assigned to it were situated along the western shore of the Hudson River, those on Long Island and in the South. This Province included:

Marist Provincial House, Esopus, New York
Marist Preparatory, Esopus, New York
St. Peter's School, Haverstraw, New York
Archbishop Molloy, Jamaica, Long Island
"t. Mary's High School, Manhaset, Long Island
Resurrection-Ascension School, Rego Park, Long Island
St. Helena High School, New York
Marist High School, Bayonne, New Jersey
Aquinas High School, Augusta, Georgia
St. Joseph Academy, Laredo, Texas
St. Joseph Academy, Brownsville, Texas
Camp Marist, Center Ossipee, New Hampshire
Notre Dame of Cotabato High School, Philippines
Notre Dame of Marbel College and High School, Philippines
Notre Dame of Lagao High School, Philippines
Notre Dame of Kidapawan High School, Philippines
Notre Dame of Dadiangas High School, Philippines(31.)

Brothers named to assist Brother Linus William in the Provincial Council were Brother Leo Sylvius, Director of Marist High School, Bayonne, New Jersey; Brother Athanasius Norbert, Archbishop Molloy High School, Jamaica, Long Island; Brother Stephen Urban, Director of Marist Preparatory;; Brother James Damian, Dean of Studies at Archbishop Molloy High Schoo1.(32.)

The Provincial Bursars named for the two Provinces were Brother Mary Andrew for Poughkeepsie, and Brother Francis Michael for Esopus.

Because such a division required separate houses of studies, the financial obligations of each province became heavier. Brother Assistant General's historic letter cautioned:

In communicating this information to the brothers of the two new Provinces, may I take this occasion to enlist the cooperation of each brother to a greater spirit of economy, so that everyone will help his Province to guarantee the funds which will be needed for the new training houses. Furthermore, each brother, by his prayers. and by his personal efforts at recruiting, should contribute towards filling these training centers with carefully selected candidates.(33.)

The new training centers referred to included an Esopus Province Novitiate and a Poughkeepsie Province Juniorate. Because the initial cost of these centers would have been too great a financial burden at the time, temporary solutions were found in the months that followed. Arrangements were made for the education of all scholastics at Marian College.

Shortly afterwards, Reverend Brother Paul Ambrose, Assistant General, visited the Marist communities in the United States to help in the transformation of the United States Province into two autonomous ones. In a statement made on April 12, 1960 he reviewed the historical development of the Marist brothers in the United States:

The fantastic growth of the United States Province in recent years made the division imperative. Of the many factors which precipitated this growth, there are two which stand out in my opinion: the professional and religious depth of the training of our brothers in recent years which has resulted in a much higher percentage of perseverence; the unstinting generosity of the Province for the Mission fields assigned to it in the Far East which resulted in the coordinated work of the brothers, parents and benefactors to supply material held on the one hand, on the other, the valuable qualified personnel sent over at great sacrifice to spread Marist influence. This depth and this generosity have definitely merited Gods blessings on the Provinces. The years ahead will only witness an intensification and acceleration of this growth in the spirit of humility of our Blessed Founder.(34.)


As the first Provincial of the Esopus Province, Brother Linus William turned his attention from that of dividing a province to that of consolidating a smaller one of 229 brothers, assigned to sixteen American and Philippine schools. Here he found among the more pressing problems a lack of teachers, and the necessity of opening and staffing two novitiates for the Province.

Anticipated obstacles to normal growth in the new Province were soon resolved. For within the twenty months that followed the Esopus Province added several educational centers to its list: Marist Brothers Novitiate in Esopus, New York (1959); the Immaculate Conception Novitiate in Tamontaka, Philippine Islands (1959); Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, Florida (1959); Notre Dame of Jolo High School, Jolo, Philippine Islands (1959); Notre Dame of Dadiangas College (Department), Dadiangas, Philippine Islands (1959); Roselle Catholic High School, Roselle, New Jersey (1960); Notre Dame of Kidapawan College (Department), Kidapawan, Philippine Islands (1960),(35.) and Camp St. Joseph, Bellport, Long Island (1960). The administrative problems which accompanied these new foundations have already been solved as we shall see.

To solve the problem of personnel shortage lay teachers were employed in the new schools so that additional brothers could be assigned to St. Helena High School, New York City, St. Mary's High School, Manhasset, Long Island, Marist Brothers Novitiate, Esopus, New York and to the two Texas academies. Moreover the graduates from Marian College assigned to this Province and the very high rate of perserverance in recent, years has also helped to stabilize the Province and its personnel.

For economic reasons Brother Linus William's new council agreed to establish the novitiate at the Esopus Provincial House: in September, 1959. For the time being it was less expensive than building. The following year the "Seniorate" building at Marist Preparatory was turned over to novitiate use. When this novitiate building was opened only postulants were admitted. The novices of the Province remained in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts to complete their novitiate training under Brother David Ottmar. Brother Peter Hilary, Director of St. Agnes High School, New York City, was appointed the first master of novices in Esopus. In August 1960, at the first investiture of this Province, twenty-four postulants under his charge were clothed with the Marist cassock. To better accommodate the candidates baseball fields were developed and plans for the construction of a recreation hall-dormitory building were drawn for the year 1961-1962 .

In Bayonne, New Jersey a problem of housing Marist High School in new quarters was resolved in the purchase of the Youth House from Hudson County. For $405,100 seven and a half acres of land with seven buildings were thus acquired on December 8, 1960.(36.) From the outdated accommodations on 8th Street and the parish facilities of St. Andrews Grammar School the students will be moved into the Youth House on 54th Street following renovations in the summer of this year. In the near future a gymnasiumclassroom building will connect some of the existing buildings and make room for 1,000 students.

Among the new schools acquired during the past two years Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, Florida is outstanding for its beauty. Moreover, it was a gift to the Marist Brothers from His Excellency Bishop Coleman F. Carroll of Miami, who wished to replace the priests who were needed for parish work. In 1959 under Brother Benedict Henry, Director, six brothers were assigned to replace those priests, who had administered the schools since its foundation in 1957. Many of the needs of this community and of the school were met by enthusiastic parents and friends. For instance, in a drive to erect a gymnasium, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Korth contributed the needed ninety thousand dollars. On February 10, 1961 the completed building was dedicated by Bishop Coleman Carroll.

A second school, Roselle Catholic High School in Roselle, New Jersey, was opened in September 1959. One Brother from nearby Marist High School in Bayonne, New Jersey, was assigned to help organize this school in St. Joseph the Carpenter Parish, for the late Monsignor James J. Carberry, Pastor. One year later a Marist community was established there under the direction of Brother Sixtus Victor. The high school was established temporarily in the former sisters' convent in the parish. In the near future the school will acquire St. Walbergar's orphanage building as a permanent school building for 1,000 boys.

Brother Linus William's administration has also added a summer camp site to the Province. This site, Washington Lodge at Bellport, Long Island, was purchased in the spring of 1960. Brother Athanasius Norberto Director of Archbishop Molloy High School, Jamaica, Long Island (65 miles away), initiated a program of alterations to prepare a day camp in the near future.

In the Philippine Island Missions Brother Linus continued former policies of expansion and modernization. His success can be evidenced by the recent indult from Rome which created this Mission Territory as an autonomous Marist District subject to the General Council of the Institute in Rome.(37.) The further development of this District will be assisted by finances and personnel from the Esopus Province until 1970.

What helped this District to prepare itself for autonomy was the progress made in its establishments. A new novitiate begun at Tamontaka in December 1959 has already served to train five native postulants who had been studying under the direction of Brother Louis Omer at Notre Dame of Lagao High School in Lagao. On May 1, 1960 these young men donned the Marist cassock at Cotabato Cathedral. At this writing there are fortytwo brothers, novices and postulants who constitute this District.(38.) Twenty-one of these are Americans. In addition a new construction at Notre Dame of Dadiangas and at Notre Dame of Kidapawan High Schools enabled these two schools to initiate college departments. These buildings along with the novitiate at Tamontaka were dedicated in 1960.

Brother Linus William's administration was also highlighted by the dedication on May 4, 1959 of St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville, Texas, by His Excellency Bishop M. S. Garriga of Corpus Christi Diocese.

A final innovation of this administration deserves mention. At the request of Monsignor Henry V. Hald, Diocesan Superintendent of Schools in Brooklyn, summer school courses were established at Archbishop Molloy High School in 1959 in New York City. The registration for these courses during the first two years has numbered 1.159 students.(39.)

The professional advancement of the brothers during this administration can be evidenced by the increasing number of brothers who have received grants from various science and mathematics foundations. In addition Brother Linus William in September 1960 sent several brothers to Canada and Mexico to learn French and Spanish respectively. As a result of recent studies on syllabi used in Marist schools, the Marist Historical Society introduced a revised syllabus on Citizenship Education in September 1960. Brothers in the field of Mathematics published a 12th year Math textbook which helped to solve many of the problems in that course in Marist as well as other schools.

The general progress made by the Esopus Province under Brother Linus William along with the Poughkeepsie Province was marked at the Golden Jubilee banquet held at Archbishop Molloy High School on February 12, 1961. Following the Marist Educational Conference held that day a special tribute to the pioneers of the original United States Province was', offered. The work they accomplished had enabled the Province to divide and prosper separately. Moreover, the two short years of autonomy evidence' an accelerated program to expand. In the Esopus Province the advancement was further noted by Reverend Brother Paul Ambrose, Assistant General, while making his canonical visitation of the New York Schools:

The expansion of the Esopus Province in the years ahead is fairly well delineated already either from the commitments which have already been made, or from the requests which are being prepared and already talked about.

QUEENS: The new Christ the King High School will require a substantial faculty judging by the projected enrollment and the plans for the building. It is a diocesan school; it will be inevitable for us to hire a good contingent of laymen to supplement the religious faculty. The recently acquired Bellport property offers a number of possibilities which will have to be exploited. Its proximity to the densely populated area make it particularly attractive.

NEW JERSEY: As our own Marist High School moves into its new quarters and new site, it will seek to double its enrollment and expand the Faculty in accordance. As it is our own school, there is every hope that it will be developed according to plan. The Roselle Catholic High School, which is part of the Newark Archdiocesan Development Plan, will provide for 1,000 students, and here also, the Marist Brothers will have to be helped by a sizeable lay Faculty to provide the education for this new undertaking.

SOUTH: The Miami area, with our new Christopher Columbus High School, seems to be a very favorable sector in which to further extend our endeavors. Attractive offers, like that of Christopher Columbus, are strong inducement to our development. In the Texas area there is already a movement under way to provide another Marist school to fill the gap between the two present Marist school sites. With time the whole South could become the nucleus for another District or Province. The present rate of growth in vocations in our training houses seems to make this not only probable but highly desireable.

If we are faithful to our dedication to Jesus through Mary, God, who is never outdone in generosity, will give us the means to provide for this increase.(40.)

In December 1960 Reverend Brother Paul Ambrose, Assistant General, began a six months canonical visitation of the Esopus Province. As a result of the many provincial council conferences he presided over the Esopus Province personnel was commited to .,; number of international projects and in long range commitments within the province.

The changes made evident by these proceedings included the appointment of Brother Stephen Urban, Master of Juniors at Marist Preparatory in Esopus, New York and provincial consultor, as Master of Novices for the proposed English-speaking Second Novitiate at Fribourg, Switzerland.(41.) In addition a school was established by this province for the National Catholic Welfare Conference in the city of Geneva, Switzerland. Brother Bernard Gregory, Supervisor of Marist Schools, was appointed as the first director of what is now known as the Newman School.(42.)

It was during this while that the Castro Government in Cuba began a persecution of the Church. Within months after Brother Assistant returned to the Mother House in Rome, a great number of Cuban Marist Brothers sought refuge in the United States. The effect this situation has caused is referred to on page 82.


Brother John Lawrence, the first provincial of the Poughkeepsie Province, was born John O'Shea, on February 10, 1908, in New York City. He was educated at St. Agnes Grammar School in New York City and at Marist Houses of Studies in Poughkeepsie, New York. On July 26, 1923 he was invested with the Marist cassock, and received his religious name.

After his years of training Brother John was assigned for three months to St. Michael School in Montreal, Canada in 1925; then to St. Anne's School in Lawrence, Massachusetts (1925-1926); and to Mount St. Michael in New York City in 1926. Eleven years later he was appointed principal of this latter school. In 1941 Brother John became the founding director of the Marist community at Cardinal Hayes High School in New York City. At the end of his first term in 1944, he was transferred to the directorship of Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts.(43.) In 1949 he returned as director of Mount St. Michael High School.(44.) Three years later he left this school to attend the Second Novitiate exercises as St. Quentin, France. Shortly after his return to the United States in February 1953, he assumed the directorship of St. Ann's Academy in New York City, replacing Brother Linus William, who had been named Provincial. When St. Ann's was transferred to new quarters at Archbishop Molloy High School in Jamaica, Long Island in 1957 he continued as its director for two years until he was appointed Provincial.(45.)

As Provincial Brother John Lawrence's first problem was that of personnel. Two hundred and fifty-nine brothers and fourteen schools comprised his Province. The need of additional teachers for the faculties at Marist College and at Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie became a first concern. One year later his limited personnel forced him to reduce the number of brothers in seven Marist communities in order to staff a new juniorate at Cold Spring-on-Hudson, New York.

Several building programs also claimed his attention. At Marist College a large classroom building was begun. Two years later a government loan enabled the expansion program to include a dormitory on the southwestern section of the campus. At Central Catholic High School in 'Lawrence, new residence facilities were completed within a year after Brother Johns administration began. The recently purchased Cold Springs juniorate now called Marist Hall underwent major alterations and plans were drawn to include a gymnasium building. Brother Leo Vincent, retiring Director of Mount St. Michael Academy in 1960, was named master of juniors and Director of the community. At Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, the construction of a new school was completed and dedicated on March 26, 1961. An ultra-modern high school in Kumamoto, Japan was completed in April 1961.(46.)

Three occasions have already been worthy of mention during Brother Johns administration: the celebration on January 2, 1960, of the silver jubilee of the founding of Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, and the dedication by Cardinal Spellman of Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie, on May 1, 1960 and the above mentioned dedication at Wheeling.

Brother Provincial also had occasion to rejoice in the honor conferred on one of his subjects, Brother Joseph Stephane, a teacher at Mount St. Michael in New York City. In November 1959, this Brother, who recently counted fifty years of service in the classroom received "Les Palmes Academique" from the French government. Scholastic honors also came to other brothers of his Province in the form of fellowships and grants. Brother Provincial, himself, was honored by the National Conference of Male Religious by electing him President of the Executive Committee.

All indications show that the future of the Poughkeepsie Province is promising. What is to be expected can be seen in a report made in 1960 by Brother Provincial:

At this writing we mark the completion of the first year in the history of the Province of Poughkeepsie. Naturally, we share with the Esopus Province the manpower shortage that was accented by the division. The next year or two should witness an alleviation of the situation while the next decade is expected to foster a growth and expansion, the result of a stepped-up vocational recruiting program. But, however fruitful these efforts may be, when viewed in the light of the limitless needs of our Catholic schools during the same period, we shall fall far short of meas.uring up to the challenge. As all school systems will practically double themselves, both in buildings and personnel, within the next fifteen years, only an ultra-optimist may foresee our religious congregations answering fully the need. Our young province covers but a small corner of the Catholic educational world. Afield rich in Catholic heritage and religious vocations has barely been scratched in the New England area. Westward through Ohio to Illinois and the northern mid-west, schools as yet unbuilt beckon us. The spread of Mary's banner held aloft by Marist hands through these fertile areas becomes the objective of this province in the years ahead. May none of us lack the courage and sense of dedication that such a program entails. Ad Jesum per Mariam.(47.)

On December 1, 1960 Brother John Lawrence transferred the Provincial House residence from Marist College, Poughkeepsie to Nicholas House at Marist Hall, Cold Spring-on-Hudson, New York. It is from here that Brother John and his provincial council study the future and plan to guide the developing province into the apostolate awaiting it.(48.)

<<  Back to Table of Contents          Next Section  >>


1. Four others will follow during the next two years.  These missionaries are being replaced by brothers from Europe who have been sent to study at Marist College and who have graduated.  Eventually these brothers will be replaced by the American Brothers.
2. Several other brothers were sent to various countries on an exchange program.
3. Marist College Archives.
4. The two first years were housed at the former St. Joseph Grammar School, Bayonne, New Jersey from 1956-1961.
5. Archbishop Molloy High School House Annals.
6. St. Mary's High School House Annals.
7. Marist College House Annals.
8. Cardinal Spellman offered the college $15,000 towards the new library in the classroom building.  As a result the college authorities decided to call the library in his honor, Spellman Library.
9. Loc. cit.
10. In 1953 Brother George Francis, a professor at Marian College was laid to rest in the last grave in the Poughkeepsie community cemetery.  In the spring of 1954 Father Wm. Barry, C.SS.R. officiated at the blessing of the Esopus cemetery.  At this writing 21 brothers have been interred here.  47 are buried in Poughkeepsie.
11. Marist College Archives.
12. This brother was awarded an honorary LL.D. from Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts at the conclusion of his six years as principal.
13. The collapse was due to acclusion, a rare accident caused by varying pressures from within and without.
14. "Wheeling Central in New Quarters," Maristella, Vol. 1 (Dec. 1960), p. 3.
15. On this occasion Bishop Mongeau appointed Brother Maurus James the Diocesan Superintendent of Schools of Cotobato.
16. Marist Educational Conference Report - 1956, p. 8.
17. Ibid., p. 10.
18. Annual pilgrimages have been held since, especially by the parents organizations from Mount St. Michael Academy.
19. American brothers who served as vice postulators of the cause of beautification: Brothers Francis Regis (1949) Brother Lawrence Joseph and Brother Cyril Robert.  They succeeded each other in the pursuance of the alleged miracle of the cure of cancer of Mrs. Georgianna Grodin of Winslow, Maine.
20. Mr. Georgianna Grodin, of Winslow, Maine and Jean Monoro of Madagascar, both cured through the intercession of the Blessed, were guests of the Institute on this occasion.
21. Brother Leonida, the retiring Superior General, was commissioned to direct the construction in Rome and to revise the brother's prayer life.  Brother Thomas Austin, retiring Assistant General for the United States and Canada returned to the United States to assume the post of Director of Champagnat Hall, Washington, D.C.
22. Only the English-speaking provinces have chosen to retain use of the rabat.
23. Circulars, Vol. 33, passim.
24. Two brothers from the Poughkeepsie Province are presently studying at the Jesu Magister.
25. Provincial Council Deliberations, 1911-1961.
26. The first hint of the division was in 1953: Provincial Council Deliberations, 1911-1961.
27. The Consultors: Brothers John Lawrence, Paul Ambrose, Leo Sylvius, Leo Vincent.
28. Marist Provincialate Archives.
29. Loc. cit.
30. Loc. cit.
31. Loc. cit.
32. Loc. cit.
33. Loc. cit.
34. Statement by Brother Paul Ambrose in a personal interview at Marist Preparatory, Esopus, New York, April 12, 1960.
35. Marist Provincialate Archives.
36. Provincial Council Deliberations, 1911-1961.  "Marist Buys Youth House Site and Buildings," (Editorial), The Bayonne Times, December 9, 1960, pp. 1-2.
37. Indult 10945/60.  Brother Humbert Damian was appointed in September 1960 as Visitor.  He replaced Brother Maurus James (1956-1960).
38. Loc. cit.
39. Archbishop Molloy House Annals.
40. Brothers from the United States, the British Isles, and Commonwealth possessions in the Pacific area will study here.  Six months sessions are held twice a year.
41. Supervisor of Marist Schools Archives.
42. Statement by Brother Paul ambrose in a personal interview at Archbishop Molloy High School, New York, March 18, 1961.
43. In 1946 while director here he elected as a delegate to the Fourteenth General Chapter.
44. Simultaneously he was appointed to the Provincial Council.  He held this consultative position until his appointment as Provincial.
45. Marist College Archives.
46. To help finance the various projects, this province was given the program of socials at St. Stephen's Church in New York City by the U.S. Province.  This program was first established by the Marist Mission League in 1957 by the brothers of the former St. Ann's Academy.  In addition the Marist Fathers Club, which was founded in 1959, at Mount St. Michael Academy, organized similar socials.  These two programs along with the Mount St. Michael's Mens' Club have substantially contributed to the founding and development of these projects.
47. Brother Louis Viateur, who taught French at St. Joseph School in Lowell, Massachusetts for many years, received similar awards from the French government in 1951 and 1955.
48. Statement by Brother John Lawrence in a personal interview at Esopus, New York, April 18, 1960.
49. Marist Hall House Annals.



Home | Marist College | Library Home Page


last updated on July 14, 2004