03 May Brothers Backstory – Br. Declan Murray
Marist Brother 1951-2011
Br. Declan Murray, who passed away on February 15, 2011 at the age of 79, had an “exceptional gift for changing darkness into light, for infusing laughter and vitality not merely into the commonplace, but into ridiculous and difficult situations.”
His name became synonymous with the personal warmth and vitalizing atmosphere he created in his classroom as well as in the many communities he lived throughout his life.
He entered the Marist Brothers in 1951and after his studies at Marist College, began his teaching career at Central Catholic in Lawrence, MA. He also taught at St. Helena High School in the Bronx, and Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, FL before he joined the Faculty of Archbishop Molloy High School in 1975.
He was the founder of the Molloy Freshman Camp in Esopus which has been a key orientation for generations of students at Molloy. His love and commitment to the many programs that happened in Esopus was obvious by his frequent presence at many of the retreats and camps for a period of more than 45 years.
“Br. Declan lived by the law of compassion, even when challenged by students to defy it.” Once, for example, a rowdy student left a plastic model of a pile of dog droppings on Br. Declan’s desk. Spying it as he entered the classroom, Br. Declan taught the whole class from the center-front of the room, never approaching his desk.
The students were anxiously awaiting a reaction from him. None, however, was forthcoming. When the bell rang, and Br. Declan began to walk out of the room, he turned at the door and said, “By the way, the student who left his lunch on my desk can remove it now”.