CHRISTIAN BROTHERS

I have a list and biographies of about 90 French Christian Brothers who worked in New Mexico since 1851. The lists are also available on the internet, but accessing them is cumbersome, because they are in twelve different files arranged according to the month in which the Brothers died. I have had no time to clean and upload the list yet. If you want information, please contact me directly.

In 1872, the La Salle Christian Brothers came to Bernalillo to establish the St. Nicholas School for Boys.  They operated a farm across from Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, and a winery known as the “La France Winery”. The winery closed in 1948 when they sold the ranch. Christian Brothers who managed the ranch or worked there in recent times included Brother Amateur Victor (Victor Amblard, 1877-1938) who managed the ranch from 1930 and died there;  Brother Angel Lucien “Lucian” (Louis E. Tisseyre, 1875-1945) who in 1941 was sent to operate the ranch, over-exerted himself physically in the demanding work and suffered cardiac arrest in January 1945; with him worked Brother Alexander Alfred (Edward Ricaud, 1907-2006) from August 1943; Brother Amolvin-Marie “Martin” (Jean Pierre Martin Duffau, 1884-1954) worked at the ranch from 1947 until his death; Brother Adrien Irénée (Irénée Aristide Joseph Longin, 1886-1963) spent a few months in 1950;  Brother Benoît-Marie (Jean Duplain, 1892-1982) also called Benito and Benedict, worked there around 1953.

Perhaps the most illustrious of the Christian Brothers in New Mexico was Brother Gerfroy Arsène (1867-1938), born as Arsène Gustave Joseph Brouard near Orléans in France. He was among the most prominent botanists of his times. He moved to New Mexico in 1926 in search better health and remained there the rest of his life. He taught at the Sacred Heart Training College in Las Vegas and at St Michael’s College in Santa Fe. His herbarium constitutes the first extensive collections in the area since the 1840s and includes some of the earliest cryptogam records for New Mexico. Brother Arsène’s contributions to botanical knowledge of Mexico are monumental. Nearly 5,000 of his herbarium sheets are at the Smithsonian, 15,000 at the National Museum in Paris, and thousands more now reside in 48 herbaria in a dozen countries. In all, Arsène collected nearly 200 new species.

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