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

Brother Camillus teaches meditation to students, faculty and staff, promising them that it will change their lives. And it does.

Brother Camillus ChavezLifelong passions can be sparked by simple things. When he was a boy, Brother Camillus Chavez 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.

At the age of 18, he entered the Brothers’ novitiate at Mont La Salle and spent much time in meditation and deep prayer. It was here that he found the spiritual benefits of inner peace. “Meditation helps you find out a deeper dimension to yourself,” he says. “You’re able to understand yourself and say, ‘I am who I am; I am a son of God.’”

Inspired by a workshop he attended in the early 1970s, Brother Camillus set up his first meditation program at Saint Mary’s College High School in 1973 before coming to Saint Mary’s College in 1975. In 1985, he earned a doctorate in Social and Clinical Psychology, which he uses in teaching classes, workshops and noontime meditation sessions for faculty and staff.

Contrary to reports I’d heard in the United States, there were no good guys in the war that ravaged Sri Lanka. Crimes were committed by both the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers, particularly during the final months of the conflict in 2009. Both sides attacked civilians and civilian buildings; there were shortages of food, medicine and clean water for civilians trapped in the war zone; and children were recruited by the Tamil Tigers.

A side benefit to meditation, says Brother Camillus, is that it helps students in their studies. “Students are so stressed out now. They are so concerned with grades – they dig a hole deeper and deeper.” He says some students even have panic attacks. “I had a student tell me ‘I freak out once a week – I just break down and cry.’ Learning meditation is one of the most important things we can do to heal ourselves.”

Now 82, Brother Camillus continues to expand his outreach to others. He’s given meditation training to the Guadalupana Sisters at their motherhouse in Mexico City and workshops at universities in Mexico and the Philippines. His website, created by co-worker Carol Anderson, (www.brothercamillus.com) offers online meditations.

“This is my life,” he says. “It helps others grow spiritually, feeds my spirit and keeps me going.”