1941 – 2016


Words of Remembrance for Brother Michael Dundin, FSC

Given by Brother Vincent Pelletier, FSC
Mass of Christian Burial
Our Lady of the Star Chapel, Narragansett, RI
November 23, 2016

After Kevin (Junk) asked me to give this eulogy, I took some time to sit, reflect and pray a bit on Mike’s life. And in the midst of that, I found myself saying, “Mike, what would you like me to say about you?” And I heard Mike saying, ‘Nothing, Vin.” So … I’m done! Well, sorry, Mike, you deserve to have something said about you.

When we were sophomores at La Salle Academy, Mike was in 2-A, the ‘honors class.’ Mike was probably the only student in the honors class that was sent to ‘detention’ after school. Why? Well, one time he was caught drawing cartoons of his teachers, during class. Another time, at the end of the period he would rush to the front of the class and mimic the teacher who had just left the classroom. One time when he was caught, the teacher made him do the impersonation in front of him – bringing the teacher to fits of laughter.

In the novitiate, during the model Catechism lesson given by the Sub-Director, Mike was sitting at the back of the class near the door, obviously bored and not paying attention. When the Sub-Director saw this, he called out, “Brother Michael, maybe you could share some light on this.” Not having a clue what the Sub-Director was talking about, Mike flicked on the light switch. The Sub-Director said, “Out of here!” Mike is probably the only Brother in the history of the Institute to be expelled from a model Catechism class.

All of us have “Mike Dundin stories.” I hope that after the liturgy and burial and we have laid Mike to rest in our cemetery, you can share your “Mike Dundin stories.”

But we all know that there was far more to Mike than his wonderful sense of humor.

Mike was a man very gifted by God. He was so talented in so many ways. Mike excelled in what he put his mind to.

On October 12, 1956, when Mike was a sophomore at La Salle, he went out with the La Salle cross country team, which he had just joined, and won the Columbus Day Road Race, a State-wide high school event. Mike was All State Cross Country, his sophomore, junior and senior years at La Salle.

Mike was an avid golfer and if you spoke to anyone who played with him, they simply said, “He was excellent.”

Mike was a wonderful and creative teacher. Our first assignment after being graduated from Catholic University, was to Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn. Mike taught Latin. Latin!? How can Latin be interesting, exciting? Mike did exactly that by using his art to make overhead transparencies and his wonderful wit to keep the students’ attention. … and … they learned Latin.

And we all know that Mike was a gifted, talented artist. I need not say much about that because you all know that about Mike.

Mike excelled at everything he touched but it was never good enough. And was not that the case with so many famous artists? We all know stories of great artists who were never satisfied with their work, never thought it was good, never thought it was finished. But, on occasion, there was a work that they claimed as their own.

Many of Michelangelo’s works were never signed. But the story is that after he finished the Pietà, which now finds special place in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, he came back at night and etched his name into the base of the statue. Many think that the statute of “David” in Florence was his greatest work. But not so for him. In a side altar in the Church of St. Peter’s in Chains, in Rome, there is a statue of Moses, larger than life and very life-like. And the story goes, that after he finished this work and saw just how life-like this cold piece of white marble was, Michelangelo took a hammer and hit Moses on the knee, shouting, “Speak to me!” Michelangelo owned his giftedness.

Mike struggled to own his own giftedness and his own excellence in so many areas. He never ran fast enough; he never taught well enough, he never painted a painting that he was satisfied with. … except one, which I know of. Several years ago, when I returned to live at Christian Brothers Center, Narragansett, the room that I occupied had a watercolor: a field with a large full tree in the center. One day Mike came to me and asked if he could have the painting. I said, ‘Mike, it’s your painting.” And he simply replied. “This is a good one.” It pleased me so much to hear Mike say that. It was good enough.

Mike was a patient man in so many ways. Not with himself, but with others. His golf was not good enough, his art was not good enough, but he was so patient with others who tried to play golf, tried to paint, with far less talent than his. One day I met him when he was going out to Hazard Rock to paint some water colors; a place that he went back to over and over again. We got chatting and he was trying to explain to me the importance of light. He looked up to the sky and asked me, “What do you see?” I said, “A blue sky.” He asked, “Only blue?” And I responded, “Blue.” He said, “I see five shades of blue in the sky.” And he patiently showed me all of the blues in the sky.

Mike taught an adult art class here in Wakefield. Anyone I spoke with who was in those classes, spoke of what a wonderful artist he was, what a wonderful teacher he was, and how patient he was with each of the students in the class. So impatient with himself, but so patient with everyone else.

But more than all of this, Mike was a man of Faith. We know the personal stories of great artists like Michelangelo, Bernini, Caravaggio, Vincent Van Gogh. Their art was magnificent but in their personal lives, they carried their crosses. And so it was with Mike Dundin.

There was a moment in his life when he struggled with his vocation as a Christian Brother. He took a ‘leave of absence’ from the Brothers for about a year, to sort out his life. As we know, he chose to return to the Brothers. This was a personal struggle to be faithful to who he was as a person and to be faithful to his God to live his life as a Brother, that he was convinced, more strongly, that this is what his God called him to.

After his return, Mike then struggled in Faith to see how to live his life in a Congregation of teachers when he no longer saw himself as a teacher. He struggled with how to be faithful to his giftedness as an artist.

As Mike matured, Mike became less of a practical joker, more introverted. Mike spoke less. At the same time, he spent more and more time in nature. He spent hours and hours in the woods and wetlands on our property here. As best we can tell, these hours of solitude, which nourished his artwork, cost him his health, by his contracting Lyme disease and the consequences of this disease debilitating him, body and mind, more and more. As Mike spoke less and less, it was hard for us to know Mike as we had known him before.

One day several years ago, I met Mike coming back from one of his afternoons in the woods. I asked him if he saw deer while he was out there and he told me, “All of the time.” I asked if they ran away when they saw him, and he answered, “No, they know me.”

As Mike could see five shades of blue in the sky when I saw only one, when Mike saw so much more than most of us. Maybe, in the end, the deer in the woods knew Mike better than we did.

In the first reading this morning we heard: “The just man, though he die early, shall be at rest.”

Mike, you were a just man, and now you are at rest.

And again from the reading, we heard “For his soul was pleasing to the Lord, therefore God sped him out of the midst of his suffering.”

Now Mike you are at peace.

In the second reading, we heard: “For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so if we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

Mike, you consecrated your life to the Lord … now, you are the Lord’s.

In the Gospel reading, we heard: “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give your rest.

Now, Mike, may you truly rest in the Peace of the Lord.

… Mike, live Jesus in our hearts … forever.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Brother Michael Dundin, FSC

Born Michael George Dundin in Providence, RI, on August 27, 1941

Entered the Barrytown, NY/Narragansett, RI, Novitiates on June 27, 1959

Received the Religious Habit and Name, Brother Michael Calixtus, on September 7, 1959

Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Manhattan, NY, on August 1, 1966

Brother Michael died  at De La Salle Hall in Lincroft, NJ, on November 18, 2016


Monday, November 21, 2016

Viewing from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

De La Salle Hall
810 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft, NJ 07738-1608

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Viewing from 8:30 am – 10:15 am

Christian Brothers Center Community (Blue Room)
635 Ocean Road
Narragansett, RI 02882-1314

Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 am

Our Lady of the Star Chapel
Christian Brothers Center

Burial in Brothers’ cemetery
Lunch following


District: 50 masses
De La Salle Hall community: 30 masses
Each community in the District: 1 mass

Brother Michael passed away peacefully at De La Salle Hall after a period of time in hospice care. May he rest in peace.


Brooklyn, NY
Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School

Astoria, NY
Mater Christi High School

Oakdale, NY
La Salle Military Academy

Providence, RI
La Salle Academy

Narragansett, RI
Christian Brothers Center

Wakefield, RI
The Prout School

Providence, RI
La Salle Academy

Oakdale, NY
La Salle Military Academy

Santa Fe, NM
Sangre de Cristo Center

Narragansett, RI
Christian Brothers Center

Kingtree, SC
Springbank Retreat

Nakuru, KENYA
Mwangaza Center

Providence, RI
La Salle Academy

Santa Fe, NM
Sangre de Cristo Center

Narragansett, RI
Christian Brothers Center

Lincroft, NJ
De La Salle Hall