St. John’s Dedicates New Exhibit Honoring the Christian Brothers
On Oct. 4, St. John’s dedicated a new campus installation that celebrates the Christian Brothers and all they have given to the students and the community at St. John’s.
The dedication of the Brothers’ Heritage Wall is part of the yearlong celebration of the 300th anniversary of St. John Baptist de La Salle’s entry into eternal life. The exhibit features a timeline of the Brothers’ history with the school, and an interactive touchscreen displays biographies of the many Brothers who have been called to serve at St. John’s. The display is located outside the entrance to the Lasallian Mission and Ministry Center, in the Cap Mona Family Student Center.
The idea for the Brothers’ Heritage Wall was formed almost two years ago by Director of Mission and Ministry Tom Sipowicz. While St. John’s has several installations detailing the history of the school, there was no specific display about the Brothers’ many contributions.
“I was hit with the realization that there was nothing that spoke of the great ministry the Brothers have performed. This is likely not surprising when we consider the humility that the Brothers are known for, but there was no question that we had to create a permanent display that would honor these men,” said Sipowicz.
Using the book that was published to celebrate St. John’s 150th anniversary, a group of students was charged with counting and re-counting the list of the Brothers who have been assigned to the school – a total of 545 over the last 168 years.
In the spring of 2018, the De La Salle Scholars Class of 2019 began working with faculty member Bro. Mark Brown, FSC, to research the Brothers’ history with St. John’s. They scoured yearbooks and conducted interviews throughout the district in order to create a record of images and stories about each Brother who has served at the school.
Bro. Mark then took that research and expanded it, digging through archives, conducting additional interviews and writing biographies. This work will continue to progress until a biography for each Brother is available through the interactive touchscreen display.
Msgr. John Enzler ’65 returned to campus to bless the new Brothers’ Heritage Wall. St. John’s also took time to thank the many community members who contributed to this project, including Felicia Baker, St. John’s archivist; Bro. Joe Grabenstein, FSC, archivist for the Historic Baltimore District; Billy Layton, chair of the SJC Computer Science Department; Mel Colvin, SJC director of technology; Kathy Bagley and Kathy Zahner of the SJC Communications Office; James Rogan ’20, summer research intern; and St. John’s President Jeff Mancabelli, who recognized the importance of this project in celebrating the school’s history.
“I am very grateful for the many people who made this possible,” Mancabelli said. “As we continue moving SJC into the future, we will always be reminded of the dedication and sacrifices of these Brothers.”