In the midst of all the “unprecedented” business of 2020, came my chance to examine all the “precedents,” the ordinary, the typical, that mark my life as a Christian Brother.
My story begins in 1935, when God gave John and Anne Molyneaux their ninth and final child. I followed three of my brothers to West Catholic High School in Philadelphia, a school run by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. These Brothers seemed like holy and happy men – smart, fun, and always respectful. From freshman year forward, I knew I wanted to be part of that group. After graduation, I joined.
After college, I was providentially assigned to La Salle High in Cumberland MD. Through all of the official and unofficial roles there, I was earning my FSC chops. A few years later, with a doctorate from Wisconsin, I migrated to La Salle College (now University) and soon was chairing a thriving Communications Department with a faculty that spawned remarkable results here, in Athena, and in Prague. Moderating the spirited brotherhood of Sigma Phi Lambda fraternity has added delight to my days. So has supporting the ice hockey club, the film society, students I’ve come to know in and out of the classroom, helping La Salle Academy students, and the work of For Pete’s Sake with cancer patients.
I think upon seeing a La Salle University community comprised of 40% first-in-family to go to college and 30% minority students, John Baptiste de La Salle would recognize the work he started in Rheims France. He would also admire the resilience and grit that faculty and students have shown these past few months. And wouldn’t he smile to see the twenty grandfather-age Brothers, hunkering down, cooking, cleaning the house, and staying the same happy and holy men I first met at West Catholic? Each morning all of us face another chance to get it right; to love one another as God has loved us. What a wonderful precedent; what a wonderful life!
Gee, Gerry…how about a mention of your time as as an educator at South Hills Catholic HS in Pittsburgh?
You were one of our favorite teachers…and an admirable athlete. As for the weird Philly accent all you FSCs
brought out to Pittsburgh with you, well, te absolvo. (Yinz didn’t know any better!!)