Press-Republican

Faith & Spirituality

May 27, 2014

Brothers of Christian Instruction honored, commemorated

PLATTSBURGH — For more than 100 years, a Catholic order known as the Brothers of Christian Instruction has had a presence in the North Country.

Now, that will no longer be the case. The last three members of the order to reside in Plattsburgh — Brother Charles Thomas, Brother Mark Couture and Brother Raymond Fortin — will be leaving for the group’s U.S. headquarters in Alfred, Maine.

The event was marked with a dinner Saturday at the former Mount Assumption Institute/Seton Catholic Central School gymnasium in Plattsburgh, with many alumni in attendance.

At the event, the gymnasium was dedicated to Fortin and the Brothers of Christian Instruction, and the construction of a commemorative stained-glass window at Seton Catholic Central School was announced.

‘LOVE THE AREA’

Thomas described his mixed feelings about leaving Plattsburgh. “I love the area and the people. I really don’t want to leave, but I know it has to come sometime.”

He will be engaging in archival work at the order’s headquarters.

Thomas grew up in Detroit and recalls members of the order teaching at his high school. It was their influence, he said, that moved him to join the order himself. He also found that he loved teaching — although the work certainly had its challenges.

At one point, Thomas was asked to teach mathematics, science and computers — three subjects in which he described himself as “poor.”

He prepared for the assignment with “a lot of patience and a lot of reading.”

LECTURE RECALLED

Fortin, on the other hand, hails from the North Country. “I was born and raised here in Plattsburgh.”

His continuing to teach here for so many years, instead of being transferred, was something he described as “very unusual in our order.”

An alumnus who attended the dinner, Francois Viger, recalled an anecdote from his past that involved Fortin.

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