Father Arthur E. Brown, MM

Born: April 18, 1914
Ordained: June 21, 1942
Died: September 28, 1989

Father Arthur Eugene Brown died at Phelps Memorial Hospital on September 28, 1989. He was 75 years old and a Maryknoll priest for forty-seven years.

Arthur was born in Rumford, Maine, on April 18, 1914, son of Shirley Roy and Mary Gertrude Burke Brown. He had one sister, three half-brothers and one half-sister. Most of his early schooling took place in St. Mary of the Assumption School in Brookline, MA, from which he was graduated in 1932. His one hobby from early years which influenced his whole life, was reading books. He said that much of his free time was taken up with reading and that one year he read 70 books. He entered the Venard in September, 1932 and while there he worked in the library.

After Ordination on June 21, 1942 he was assigned to the Cultivation Department. It was the time of Maryknoll’s entrance into Latin American mission work and Father Art did research work on Mexico and Latin America for the Council; taught Latin American history at the Center and did post-graduate studies in Latin American history at Fordham University. He also served as assistant librarian at the Center.

In 1944 he was assigned to Talca, Chile. He served as assistant pastor for 6 months with a Chilean pastor, then six months in Chillan. Appointed pastor of San Vicente Parish there he lived in poor conditions similar to that of his parishioners, and built a rectory. He adapted well to the language and people and they liked him. His superior once wrote: “He was a fine missioner, zealous, deeply interested in his work and built up the parish very well in his more than five years as pastor. He was very sociable with other Maryknollers.”

On home leave in 1951 he was assigned to Catholic University in Washington, D.C. to secure a degree in Library Science. In 1952 he was appointed to the faculty at Lakewood where he taught Spanish. During that time he obtained his Master’s Degree in Library Science. Although he loved to be with people, books were his great love. Heaven for Fr. Brown would be an expanded library and Maryknoll’s Library owes its excellence to his devoted work. The library is widely acclaimed and used by other Church associations and major universities throughout the U.S. In 1954 he was appointed Librarian at the Major Seminary. For the next 34 years he was always on the job in the library. He reorganized the library according to the norms of the Library of Congress and built up a permanent collection of Theology and Missiology books to serve the Society and missions as long as Maryknoll exists. He had a fine influence on both faculty and students and had his finger on every resource material for their use.

One of his favorite works was to organize libraries in the center houses of our missions. In 1966 he spent 3 months in Manizales, Colombia building up the library for Maryknoll’s Instituto Latino-Americano and returned there each year until 1969 to improve it and to train local, persons for maintenance. In 1975 he did the same in Hong Kong and Davao. He was also called upon to organize the libraries in Nairobi, Tanzania and Bolivia. He served as purchasing agent for their books. His apostolate was a real service to all.

In 1988 he finally requested assignment to the Special Society Unit with residence in the San Francisco Development House, and then retirement at Los Altos in 1989. The Superior General’s letter to Fr. Brown summarizes his life and contribution: “Thank you, good and faithful servant. Your contribution to Maryknoll in the field of Library Science and Education has been truly outstanding, not only here but in various mission regions around the world. In the name of all of us I express our deep gratitude for your equanimity of spirit and your constant enthusiasm and dedication to the Church and to the missions.”

He was admitted to El Camino Hospital near Los Altos on August 16, 1989, returned to St. Teresa’s ten days later and was admitted to Phelps Hospital for intensive treatment.

Wake services were held on October 1 at St. Teresa’s and the Center Chapel. Mass of Christian Burial was offered on the 2nd with Fr. Laurence Vaughan as principal celebrant and Fr. John Halbert as Homilist. Burial was at the Center cemetery, with Fr. John Corcoran presiding.