Words of Remembrance for Brother Gregory Cavalier, FSC

OCTOBER 14, 2021

My name is Julie Clugage and Brother Gregory was like a father to me. It is one of the great honors of my life to be here today, sharing a few thoughts about this amazing man who was truly God’s wonderful gift to all who knew him.

I want to start by acknowledging that Greg never wanted to be the center of attention. Even as a child, he told me he would hide in the closet when people came to visit, or stand as far in the back as he could for any school play. So Greg, I am sorry. I can’t help but brag about you here today.

Brother Greg was born in Pittsburgh in November 1928 and, along with his brother Jim, joined the brothers when he was just 14 years old. He met his lifelong best friend, Richard Neville (Gervasian William to the FSCs in attendance), when they entered the Christian Brothers in 1942, and they continued on together to Catholic University as Brothers and baseball teammates. During their senior year, Rich’s father died suddenly. As he was leaving to join his grieving family, Rich told Greg that it was ok if he couldn’t make it to Philadelphia for the funeral, given his studies and the cost of travel. Rich says he still remembers 72 years later how Greg immediately replied, “I’ll be there. I’ll walk the whole way if I need to.” That’s what it meant to be Greg’s friend.

Teaching was Brother Gregory’s passion, and many of you know him as a result of his long years teaching here at Calvert Hall or before that at West Catholic. As a teacher, he was patient, kind, loving, and funny. He spoke often of the wonderful Brothers, teachers, staff and students with whom he shared his life here at Calvert Hall, where he called everyone “Coach” and instructed his students to “be serial.” Frank Bramble says that he remembers how Brother Gregory would stand in the middle of the hallway between classes, greeting the hundreds of students as they walked by. And Greg’s former student Art Casserly told me that, even in the age of corporal punishment, Greg never lifted a finger against any of his students but always had perfect control over his class because they never wanted to disappoint him. I believe that the challenges Greg encountered in his own childhood, growing up with divorced parents, instilled in him a deep empathy for students who were struggling, and a belief in the power of second chances.

Greg often regaled us with tales of Calvert Hall victories against Loyola, and he loved his times chaperoning those teams. He was so proud of the students whom he taught, and he treasured the lifelong friendships that he maintained with many of them. As he got older, the number of stories on Brother Greg’s rotating playlist narrowed, and I think it says a lot about what is most meaningful in life that these stories focused increasingly on memories of his good friends – Richard Neville, his family and his beloved Rottweiler, Joe (who shared a name with Brother Greg); the divine Coach Augie and his saintly wife Angela; and numerous trips and golf outings with his former students.

I first met Brother Greg in 1992 in Guatemala, where I was volunteering at the Brothers’ school in Santa Maria Visitacion and Greg was in charge of the novitiate near Guatemala City. He had already been in Guatemala for over 10 years, and he took me under his wing because he said he thought I was poor, judging from my ripped shoes and duct-taped book bag. He didn’t find out until much later that I was just too lazy in my early 20s to care, but by then it was too late – we were already the best of friends.

It was a desire to serve the poor that led Brother Greg to make what might have seemed the rather surprising choice to move to Guatemala in 1981, when he was already in his 50s and after so many years at Calvert Hall. He was deeply influenced by the Catholic Worker movement and thinkers like Thomas Merton, and he believed strongly in the role of the Church in helping the poor and advocating for nonviolence. Brother Greg spent weeks studying Spanish before moving to the Brothers’ school in the town of Huehuetenango. Guatemala’s civil war was still in full swing, and after he had been there only a short time, one of the other North American Brothers in the community, James Miller, was assassinated. In fact, Catholic clergy and lay people were being killed around the country in the early 1980s for trying to help the poor. It was a frightening time but Brother Greg stayed the course in his humble yet determined way. He eventually transferred to run the novitiate near Guatemala City and ultimately came to work as Community Director in the Brothers’ newest school for Mayan students in the Western highland town of Santa Maria Visitacion, where I was volunteering.

Hermano Gregorio (as we called him) loved people. He loved exchanging letters and emails with his many friends, whose addresses were written on funny little scraps of paper falling out of his wayward, rubber-banded address book. He was always asking me to help him find someone’s address or phone number or email. He was a wonderful uncle to his many nieces and nephews, who said that the highlight of their year was a visit from their beloved Uncle Joe. He could engage anyone in conversation about his favorite Pittsburgh sports teams, or the latest books he was reading (he was always carrying at least five around in his battered book bag and handing them out like candy to his friends). All who knew Brother Greg adored him for his hearty laughter, genuine warmth, and the unfailing love he showed to everyone around him. As Frank Bramble says, “he enhanced every event, enriched every discussion, and encouraged everyone he encountered.”

We would sometimes give Greg a hard time for being too soft hearted when people would ask him for help. But I now see that it takes incredible faith, courage and strength to continue choosing to love and trust others the way that Brother Greg always did. He believed in the dignity of each person, and he was unflagging in his efforts to raise scholarship funds for every student who wanted to study or any family needing medical care. Many of his friends here, including Frank, Art, Charlie, and Ken, organized fundraisers and contributed to his efforts, and for that I know he would want me to thank you again from the bottom of his heart. Your gifts enabled Brother Greg to build schools, provide scholarships and medical care, and more generally to do his life-changing work in service of so many people.

One of his most endearing traits was that Greg never took himself too seriously. He loved to laugh and always had a slightly mischievous smile on his face. Many of his friends describe him as a bit of an “absent-minded professor.” He would occasionally forget to turn off the car when he parked and then be searching for the keys, or one time he even drove to the bookstore and walked home, forgetting his car there which resulted in the Brothers reporting it stolen. And he was always, always losing his glasses. I remember when I first met him in Guatemala, he was telling a story of driving with the novitiates to buy water in glass jugs in the back of the Brothers’ pick up truck. He failed to see some speed bumps in the road, soared over them, and ended up breaking all of the water jugs and sending the novitiates bouncing into the air. We all laughed until we cried, including him. Or the time he hitched a ride in the back of a crowded pick up truck to get back to the village, and there was a frightened goat that started eliminating bodily fluids. With each turn and hill, Greg and everyone in the back of the truck would have to leap from one side to another to avoid the goat’s waste products. Or the time he was on an escalator in the Atlanta airport and it suddenly reversed direction. Brother Greg could be stubborn and, instead of just riding the escalator back down, he started running up against the grain with his suitcase. He was so exhausted by the time he neared the top that he had to launch his bag and throw himself onto the ground in the middle of the airport to make it over the edge. Or my personal favorite, when he came to visit us in California about a month before our first daughter was due. My husband had to travel out of town briefly for work, and that was the exact night that our daughter chose to arrive. I don’t think I have ever seen Greg as startled as when I knocked on his door at 3am and told him that he needed to drive with me to the hospital. He never thought he would find himself in that situation, and he said he had never prayed as hard as he did for my husband’s flight to arrive home in time that day (which it did). The fact that he could laugh so wholeheartedly at these experiences was one of the things I loved most about him.

Brother Greg stayed in Guatemala for 18 years, until he was over 70. When he returned, he wanted to continue his work with those who needed him most. He came back to Calvert Hall briefly then moved to St Francis Academy next door to the prison in inner city Baltimore, where he taught English to immigrants. After the Brothers closed the community at St Francis, he moved to Saint Gabriel’s in Philadelphia to help students who were struggling.

Given his personal warmth and gregarious nature, it often surprises people to know that Brother Greg considered himself an introvert. Some of his happiest times were his annual stays at the Trappist monastery in Gethsemane, Kentucky, or his silent meditation retreats, often in complete solitude. He loved to read his books and pray. When he would come to visit me in California in the summers, his only request was to be dropped off each morning at mass and to be picked up in the park in the late afternoon, where he would sit for hours reading. But in a pattern that repeated throughout his life, he soon became a local celebrity in our town and had groups of friends from church inviting him to breakfast, lunch and dinner. People always gravitated to Brother Greg. As Art Casserly described him, he was “the most lovable man you ever met.”

While my heart is broken for our loss, I find comfort knowing that he is now at peace in his eternal resting place, reunited with his beloved mother, Sally, and his brothers Buddy, Jimmy and Paul. No longer suffering, he can meditate and pray, and I know he is watching out for us. We love you, Brother Gregory, and we will always treasure the joy, kindness and love you brought into our lives.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

Please Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Brother Gregory Cavalier, FSC

1928 – 2021

Born Joseph Robert Cavalier in Pittsburgh PA on 17 November 1928

Entered the Ammendale MD Novitiate in 11 June 1946

Received the Religious Habit and Name Flamian Gregory on 7 September 1946

Pronounced Perpetual Vows at Ocean Rest in Ocean City NJ on 28 August 1953

Died at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank NJ on 5 October 2021


Thursday, 14 October 2021

Calvert Hall College High School
8102 La Salle Road
Towson MD 21286

Visitation – 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Noppinger Commons

Mass of Christian Burial – 7.00pm
Marion Burk Knott Theater

Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/user/calverthallcollege

Friday, 15 October 2021

Interment – private
De La Salle Cemetery
6001 Ammendale Road
Beltsville MD 20705

Brother Gregory died Tuesday evening due to complications from COVID-19.

The District of Eastern North America remembers Brother Gregory with memorial liturgies according to the tradition of the Institute. Through their prayers, communities and individuals entrust Brother Gregory to God’s loving care.

May he rest in peace.


Washington DC
De La Salle College and The Catholic University of America (scholasticate)

Audubon PA
Philadelphia Protectory for Boys

Philadelphia PA
West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys

Wyndmoor PA
La Salle College High School

Rome Italy
Generalate (2nd Novitiate)

Baltimore MD
Calvert Hall College High School

Philadelphia PA
West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys

Santa Fe NM
Sangre de Cristo (renewal: 2nd semester)

Huehuetenango Guatemala
Colegio de La Salle

Sololá Guatemala
Santa María Visitación

Huehuetenango Guatemala
Diocese of Huehuetenango

Guatemala City
Postulancy Staff

Sololá Guatemala
Santa María Visitación

Baltimore MD
Calvert Hall College High School (resident)

Baltimore MD
Brentwood Avenue Community (resident)

Audubon PA
Saint Gabriel’s Hall (resident)

Baltimore MD
Calvert Hall College High School (resident)

Lincroft NJ
De La Salle Hall (resident)