Brother Michael F. Meister, FSC, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies Director, Joseph Alemany Community Residence Hall Director

Brother Michael is a busy man — teaching theology, serving as director of the Brothers’ Community and conducting “Haunted Saint Mary’s” tours, to boot, all with wit and a caring attitude.

For a Brother, Michael Meister has a devilish sense of humor. It’s a trait he says he’s always had, and admits it probably drove the nuns at his elementary school crazy. “I was second only to Satan,” he laughs. “And I’m still a demon!”

But the nuns, he says, were ever patient. In fact, it was their influence, along with that of a Christian Brother who came to his grade school in Ferndale, California, who made perhaps the biggest impact on his early life. “I wanted to be a teacher and a priest. I’d never heard of the Brothers, but when that Brother came into my classroom and talked with us, I fell in love with them!”

With the support of his parents, he went off to a Brothers-run high school in Napa and continued on to college at Saint Mary’s before getting a Ph.D. in Theology and Literature in Berkeley. It’s a path that has served him well as a professor of Religious Studies and director of the Brothers’ Community for the last 11 years.

“It’s an amazing group of men,” he says, adding that his first job is to care for his Brothers and be attentive to their personal and spiritual needs. “Then you try to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Someone’s in charge of the kitchen, someone’s in charge of maintenance, someone leads the prayers and the singing, someone gets snacks, someone does the bookkeeping and someone gets beer, wine and soda – all the kind of stuff you’d do in a household.”

With a smile, Meister readily admits the Brothers have happy hour, tucked between late-afternoon liturgy and dinner. “It’s nice to be able to relax at the end of the day because college life is high-energy. People are teaching in different disciplines, they have different responsibilities, committees, department work, advising, and several of us also live in the student residence halls.”

But this intense community is also a happy and lively place. “We have wonderful discussions. Gosh, if you stood outside in the patio some night during dinner and listened to our conversation upstairs, besides the lively talking, you’d hear all this yelling and laughing and carrying on and wonder what’s going on up there.”

Through it all, he doesn’t hesitate to celebrate the lighter side of life. From his haunted tours of campus to his popular teaching of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Meister says being a Brother defines who he is and makes him happy.