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Honoring Br. Martin Hernandez: Brother Martin Celebrates Sculpture Dedication and Blessing

As we continue to celebrate our 50/150 anniversary, it is important that we reflect upon and celebrate the many men and women - both religious and lay partners in mission - who have helped pave the way for each of us to be here at Brother Martin High School today. On Tuesday, January 22, 2019, the sculpture of Brother Martin Hernandez, S.C. was unveiled, dedicated, and blessed as our school community paid homage to this most important man 27 years after his passing. This sculpture, made possible by the incredible generosity of those whose hearts were touched by Brother Martin Hernandez in and around these very hallways and classrooms many years ago, will stand as a testament to his lasting legacy.

The following comments are taken from a WWL-TV editorial written and read on air by Phil Johnson, former WWL-TV news director, in the days following Brother Martin Hernandez’s death in 1991:

Twenty-two years ago, when St. Aloysius High School closed and was torn down, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart incorporated that student body into another school they ran on Elysian Fields called Cor Jesu. They felt a new name was needed for the school, now that it was an amalgamation of two schools, so they named it to honor the most outstanding member of their order – Brother Martin Hernandez.

Brother Martin was a legendary name, particularly here. Everybody agreed it was most suitable to name the new school after him. There was but one dissenting vote – Brother Martin himself. He objected strenuously. But he was outvoted. It was one of those rare moments when honors were paid to a person before he died, rather than after. And it was so fitting. Brother Martin was, indeed, a legend in his own time.

He came to New Orleans in the 30s, became principal of St. Aloysius until 1949. But that wasn’t all he did. He helped found and was president of the prep league. He not only built Cor Jesu, but high schools in Baton Rouge, Dallas, and in Queens, New York. He built a school for the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in Mobile and another one in Uganda, for African members of his order. He served as provincial of his order for nine years. And did a host of other jobs through the years.

When he died last week, at age 87, he had been a Brother of the Sacred Heart for 72 years. In his last will and testament, he said: “If I have done any good in my life, it was done only because God used me as His instrument.” What an instrument. What a man. What a legacy to leave to his school and to this community.

To begin the ceremony, President Greg Rando ’77 prayed in thanksgiving for all of those who gathered to celebrate the dedication and blessing of Brother Martin Hernandez’s sculpture. Following, Director of School Services & Alumni Relations Officer Barry Hebert ’74, shared his thoughts about the process of creating the sculpture and his work with Sculptor Kim Bernadas. Brother Ronald Hingle ’78, Provincial of the United States Province of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, then spoke about the life of Brother Martin Hernandez as a fellow Brother and educator. Many of our guests knew Brother Martin as a teacher, mentor, leader, and legacy. Through his work, Brother Martin made his mark and influenced thousands of students at a number of schools in the Province of the United States, especially at St. Aloysius, Cor Jesu, St. Stanislaus, and Brother Martin High School.

Mr. Joseph Exnicios ’73, 2014 Alumnus of the Year and St. Aloysius Century Foundation board member, elaborated on Brother Martin’s legacy.  In particular, he noted his positive influence on Mr. Dick Treuting ’50 who knew Brother Martin as his Principal. The statue is dedicated in honor of Mr. Treuting and his commitment to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. Brother Martin’s great-nephew, Mr. Randy Hernandez ’95, spoke about Brother Martin’s personal side that his family often witnessed and his larger-than-life personality. As Randy noted, Brother Martin was not very fond of goodbyes. Instead, his way of ending any note or conversation was to conclude with a phrase from a prayer: ‘Vaya con Dios’, meaning ‘Go with God.’

Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing
Br. Martin Statue Dedication and Blessing

Let us call to mind that we are in the presence of God:

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lord, We gather together this morning in thanksgiving for all you have granted us.

We thank you for Your grace in our city and in our lives;

We give thanks to the Holy Spirit for the gift of the charism of our founder, Father Andre’ Coindre;

We pray in thanksgiving for 150 years of educational tradition of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans; and we remember in a special way today our namesake, Brother Martin Hernandez, whose name has carried the torch of our mission on Elysian Fields Avenue for 50 years.  

We pray all of these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ametur Cor Jesu! Ametur Cor Mariae!

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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