The De La Salle Christian Brothers
The De La Salle Christian Brothers are the guiding light for everything we do at Saint Mary's.
Our 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.
History of the De La Salle Christian Brothers
The De La Salle Christian Brothers were founded more than 300 years ago by Saint John Baptist de La Salle, named the Patron Saint of Teachers by the Catholic Church. He was a French priest of the 17th century, born to an aristocratic family, a considerable fortune, and prospects for a bright future. He earned a doctorate in theology from the University of Reims. And, quite by accident, De La Salle met a man named Adrien Nyel who needed help starting a school for poor boys. This 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 3,000 Brothers, some 100,000 Lasallian Partners, and a million Lasallian students in 80 countries around the world.
Meet the Brothers
Brother 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 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 David Caretti
Director of Vocation Ministry — District of San Francisco New Orleans
Board of Trustees, Saint Mary’s College
Brother David Caretti, FSC ’99 is the Director of Vocation Ministry for the Brothers’ District of San Francisco New Orleans and a resident of the Joseph Alemany Community of Brothers. As vocation director, he accompanies young men who are discerning their vocation as a Brother and supports students, faculty, and staff, both at Saint Mary’s and in other Lasallian ministries in Lasallian formation and vocation discernment. He holds a BA in Integral Liberal Arts from Saint Mary’s College of California, an MA in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, and an EdD in Catholic Educational Leadership from the University of San Francisco. He returned to Saint Mary’s College in 2019, serving in the Mission & Ministry Center, after spending close to 20 years at Saint Mary’s College High School and Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory. In addition to his service as a Trustee of Saint Mary’s College, Brother David also serves on the boards of other SFNO District schools.
Brother Christopher Donnelly, FSC
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 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 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 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. On July 1, 2023, Brother Thomas will begin serving as Interim President of the College.
Brother Richard Lemberg, FSC
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 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 Brendan Madden, FSC
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 F. Meister, FSC
Department of Theology and Religious Studies, 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 Patrick Moore
Brother Patrick Moore, a former professor of English at Saint Mary's, taught for thirty years in the U.K. at the Universities of Cambridge and Kent at Canterbury. He was then Scholar-in-Residence at Sarum College, the Graduate School of Spirituality in the University of Winchester. He has been a Guest Fellow at Yale and External Examiner for the University of Ireland in Dublin. Brother Patrick is now retired and an occasional lecturer.
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 Anthony Lenz
Brother Anthony Lenz is a retired De La Salle Christian Brother. He graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 1968 with a BA degree in Mathematics with minors in Theology and Philosophy. He taught Mathematics for over 32 years in three Lasallian High Schools, Cathedral in Los Angeles, SHCP in San Francisco, and Lasalle in Yakima, Washington. For 14 years he was a tutor in the Brother’s after school program in Oakland.
Learn More About the Brothers
To know more about the Brothers and their ministries, you may visit the following websites and social media accounts.