Meet the Brothers

The Christian Brothers are the guiding light for everything we do at Saint Mary's. Today there are 19 Brothers living and working on campus. Meet the Brothers!


The Brothers live in two communities: the Saint Mary’s College Community and the Joseph Alemany Community. Why two? By the early 1970s the original Saint Mary’s College Community had grown to almost 40 Brothers and it was at that time that the Joseph Alemany Community was founded. This latter community is named for the first Archbishop of San Francisco who built Saint Mary’s College in 1863 and turned it over to the Christian Brothers in 1868.

The Christian Brothers were founded 320 years ago by Saint John Baptist De La Salle, named the Patron Saint of Teachers by the Catholic Church. He was a young French priest of the 17th century, born to an aristocratic family, with a doctorate in theology from the University of Paris, a considerable fortune, and prospects for a bright future. Quite by accident, De La Salle met a man who needed help starting a school for poor boys. It became De La Salle’s true calling. Abandoning his fortune and his future, De La Salle gathered together a small group of simple men to educate the sons of the poor and working-class in the city of Reims. Today there are approximately 4,000 Brothers in 77 countries around the world, joined by 850,000 students, and 84,000 men and women in their life-changing educational mission.


Avila - FinalBrother Michael Avila, FSC, Department of Theology and Religious Studies 

Brother Michael Avila came to the Christian Brothers in a most unconventional way. He likes to say he was “left like Moses—in a basket at the Brothers’ door.” In reality, his mother asked the Brothers in Berkeley to take two of her three sons in the wake of a difficult divorce. Brother Michael was enrolled in Saint Mary’s College High school as a boarder from the 3rd grade through his junior year and was deeply touched by the selflessness of Brothers who taught him.


Brother Richard LembergBrother Glenn Bolton, FSC, Graduate School Advisor

Brother Glenn Bolton had a huge appetite for learning when he was a child, traveling for six to eight weeks every summer with his eclectic family of seven to explore a wide range of interests. As an adult, his drive and curiosity held true as he acquired an education that included numerous graduate degrees, something that ideally suited him for his work now at Saint Mary’s.


Brother Kenneth - NewBrother Kenneth Cardwell, FSC, Integral Program

Brother Kenneth has taught the sharp minds of Integral Program students, ridden in a cattle drive, and stared down the muzzle of a gun—all in the interest of education and service. 


Brother Camillus - NewBrother Camillus Chavez, FSC, Meditation Teacher, Departments of Pyschology and Theology and Religious Studies

Lifelong passions can be sparked by simple things. When he was a boy, Brother Camillus developed an interest in altered states of consciousness. At age 11, he ordered a 10-cent book on hypnosis, hoping to tap into the mysteries of the mind. Although he admittedly "wasn’t too successful” at hypnosis as a child, Brother Camillus never gave up his pursuit of the deeper self.


Brother Ron - NewBrother Ronald Gallagher, FSC, President of Saint Mary's College 2005–2013, Department of English, Interim President of Sacred Heart Preparatory School in San Francisco

In the face of uncertainty, Brother Ron—who earned his bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s in 1969—draws from advice he received almost two decades ago: stay deeply spiritual and keep your sense of humor.


Brother Chris - NewBrother Christopher Donnelly, FSC, Facilities Department

He’s a man who wears many hats—hardhats included. Brother Christopher is a builder, a pilot, a locksmith, and fire chief—just to name a few of his jobs since becoming a Christian Brother in 1968. With a unique skill set, Brother Christopher has spent most of his career as an administrator or facilities director in high schools from Washington State to Southern California.


Brother CharlesBrother Charles Hilken, FSC, Department of History, Chair of Cummins Institute for Catholic Thought, Culture and Action, Residence Hall Director, SMC Board of Trustees

Some children grow up hearing fairy tales. Brother Charles heard yarns of a different kind. His father shared stories of student life at Saint Mary’s College and of the Brothers who influenced him there. Some 40 years later, Brother Charles is an expert on medieval manuscripts, history and the papacy. He is currently in charge of the Cummins Institute for Catholic Thought, Culture and Action at Saint Mary’s.


Brother Thomas - FinalBrother Thomas Jones, FSC, Staff Psychologist in Counseling and Psychological Services, Resident Hall Director, Director of the SMC Brothers' Community, SMC Board of Trustees

Brother Thomas juggles several jobs, applying his experience and deep academic preparation in psychology to helping troubled Saint Mary’s students cope with stress and identify the resources for support available to them. He says being a resident director for sophomores is one of his most satisfying duties.


Brother Glenn BoltonBrother Richard Lemberg, FSC, Associate Librarian

Brother Richard is a study in contrasts—a committed bookworm and a passionate outdoorsman. You might expect the latter in someone who grew up hunting and fishing in Wisconsin. The book-loving part of his personality has been hard at work for past 35 years in the Saint Mary’s library, where he focuses on reference, collection development and instruction.



Brother BernardBrother Bernard LoCoco, FSC, President of the School of Applied Theology in Berkeley 1999–2008, President of Christian Brothers University 1973–1980, Spiritual Advisor, Retreats, Workshops and Spiritual Advisor

More than six decades into life as a Lasallian, the connection with God is stronger than ever for Brother Bernard. Like a pilgrim on the path toward enlightenment, his days in semi-retirement are spent leading retreats/workshops, giving spiritual direction and prayer. It’s important, he says, because it is the foundation of his vocation and his ministry.


Brother MaddenBrother Brendan Madden, FSC, Scholarship Counselor

Brother Brendan is a dreamer. Twice a month, he attends dream interpretation groups that encourage self-discovery and reflection. But it’s his “day” dreams that have led to his biggest discoveries. Brother Brendan is known for being one of the founders of the Career Center at Saint Mary’s College—an idea he came up with as a graduate student at the school in 1979.




Brother Michael - NewBrother Michael F. Meister, FSC, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Director, Joseph Alemany Community, Residence Hall Director

Brother Michael has been at Saint Mary’s since 1981 as a member of the Department of Theology & Religious Studies and he has also served the College in administrative roles. Until his recent retirement, he taught courses in various areas of biblical studies, hagiography (study of the Saints), theology and literature, Jan Term courses in Italy, and, for almost twenty years, his favorite course on Dante’s Divine Comedy.


Brother Murphy

Brother Michael Murphy, FSC, Department of World Languages and Culture, Residence Hall Director

Brother Michael teaches linguistics in the Department of World Languages and Culture, and is resident director to 46 students in the Sabatte Townhouses. “The De La Salle Brothers have a presence in 77 countries. There are so many opportunities to serve God as an educator.”



Brother Chris PatinoBrother Chris Patiño, director of vocation ministry for the Lasallian District of San Francisco New Orleans

Brother Chris Patiño says he encounters Christ most clearly in young people. Only a decade out of college himself, he feels drawn to his new role as director of vocation ministry for the Lasallian District of San Francisco New Orleans. The assignment coincides with his recent move to Saint Mary’s, which he feels is God’s hand at work.