Brother Daniel O’Riordan, Provincial of the Province of the United States, has requested Brother John Klein, recently named as Province Historian, to research and write Volume II of the History of the Marist Brothers in the U.S. Brother John received his Doctorate in United States History from Fordham University in 1980 and also received a year-long research grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to work in the Rockefeller Family Archives.
Volume II of our Marist United States History follows the excellent work, Go to the Land I Will Show You, written by Brother Leonard Voegtle in 1995. In this first volume, Brother Leonard discussed the arrival of the first group of French Brothers in Canada in 1885 until the creation of the Province of Canada and the Province of the United States in 1911. Volume II hopes to “pick up” the story as Marist life grew and thrived throughout the next forty-eight years until the formation of the Provinces of Poughkeepsie and Esopus in 1959.
The research for Volume II has already begun with the assistance of Brother John Nash, the United States archivist. The province archives hold a rich source of documents, correspondence, photographs, etc. This resource will be supplemented through personal interviews with brothers whose Marist lives began in the mid-twentieth century and several who entered the juniorate or novitiate earlier than that. In reality, it is hoped that the development of this new History will be a collaborative effort involving as many of the brothers as possible.
In the Introduction to his work, Brother Leonard wrote, “…The story of these years of growth and the men who peopled them is the substance of the pages that follow. May they be a source not only of knowledge about our Marist pioneers in North America, but of renewed pride in their accomplishments and of hope in our Marist future in this country.” That is our aspiration today as the research and writing of the next chapter of our Marist life commences. Hopefully, our efforts together will enrich our appreciation of those Marists on whose shoulders we stand today and will renew our confidence in the future as we each strive to bring Marcellin’s dream to life.