U.S. Brothers Flee Cuba, Head to the States
As Castro came to power in 1959, and the Cuban Revolution was under way, Castro’s regime turned up the heat on the teaching of religion. Many priests, Brothers, and Sisters were compelled to close their schools. Most of the Christian Brothers living in Cuba had to find a new home; many of them fled to nearby countries, including the USA (Miami, Florida). Not long after 110 Brothers flew into Miami from Communist Cuba on May 25, 1959, the Brothers’ superiors entered into a contract with the Archdiocese of Miami to open a school for boys. In less than 60 days, an 8-classroom building was constructed and the Brothers started teaching on September 11.
It was an uphill struggle, with organizational headaches, a total lack of textbooks, and language barriers. The enrollment is 293, mostly Cuban refugees. The first three Brothers were from New York, LI-NE and the St. Louis Districts. The school would become the co-institutional partner of the existing Immaculata HS for girls. Soon thereafter, La Salle HS would be assigned to the Baltimore District for its personnel. The three American Brothers are identified as Brothers Cyril of Mary (NY), Alfred James (Providence) and a third Brother from Nicaragua. Brother Conall Alfred, Auxiliary Visitor of NY, is also there temporarily, assisting with the organization of the new school.
All of the Brothers at Miami (3 Americans and 12 Cubans) are living temporarily in the Cortez Hotel, awaiting the purchase of a new residence near the school (La Salle HS). They now teach in an 8-room building on Biscayne Bay. Eventually four other buildings will be erected to bring the enrollment to 1,500 boys.
During their stay at the Cortez Hotel, the cost of the rooms was paid by Bishop Carroll of Miami with rooms paid by Bishop Carroll. They ate their meals in nearby restaurants where the tab was picked up by the Cuban Refugee Center.