By C. J. Doyle
Theme: The Romance of Wisdom
Title: Reminiscing on the Wisdom and Counsel of Brother Francis
Since the death of Brother Francis was still so recent to us, his close disciples, I suggested to Joe Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, that he speak to us about his mentor and ours. Joe met Brother Francis for the first time when he visited the monastery in Still River in 1972. From that visit on Mr. Doyle was a regular at Brother’s Tuesday night class, driving all the way from Boston, which was an hour and a half ride. He would come with Mr. Joseph MacIsaac, who was the biological brother of Brother Hugh MacIsaac, M.I.C.M. Beginning with his remembrance of that first visit, Mr. Doyle spoke with great enthusiasm and gratitude about his personal experiences with Brother Francis over nearly forty years. Many of the things Joe spoke about were new to me (for I had known Brother Francis for only one year less than Mr. Doyle). For, example, being an historian, Joe asked Brother Francis his opinion of many Catholic political figures who had made an impact on the twentieth century history of Christendom. The answers were sometimes quite surprising. These figures included Eamon de Valera of Ireland, Garcia Moreno of Ecuador, Antonio Salazar of Portugal, President Diem of Vietnam, and, of course, General Franco. But Joe also educated the audience on Brother Francis’ pre-Saint Benedict Center activities in working in his native Lebanon for a united republic of Arab nations that could have been a bulwark against Communism, Zionism, and radical Islam. Most importantly, keeping to the theme of the conference, Joe talked about Brother Francis’ gift for wisdom and prudence in dealing with the problems in the Church, the “crisis of Faith,” and its effects. This, Joe pointed out, is our legacy — to keep that wisdom alive. In order to do that, he said, we must ask for the gift of counsel, which Brother Francis so much respected, and, even on the natural level, always seek the advice of those more intelligent souls whom God has placed in our life as teachers and fellow counselors.
2010 SBC Conference
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