Christian Brothers honored at Founder’s Day assembly

Christian Brothers honored at Founders Day assembly

The order that served as Cotter’s original teachers were honored at the 3rd annual Founder’s Day event.

A number of Christian Brothers were able to attend the event held in the junior high gym in the John Nett Rec. center on Thursday, November 17.    Previous honorees include the Franciscan sisters and the five founding members of the Hiawatha Educational Foundation.

After an introductory prayer from Fr. Mark McNea blessing the event,  Cotter president Sr Judith Schaefer introduced Cotter alumnus and board member Sara Gabrick, who  spoke about the Christian Brothers unique contribution to Cotter’s history.

In her remarks which followed Mrs. Gabrick’s, Sr. Judy spoke about both the brothers 105 year history at Cotter, including Bishop Cotter’s early and vigorous recruitment of the Christian Brothers, and her personal connection to St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle.

Sr. Judy speaking at Founders Day, with Br. Larry Schatz and Sara Gabrick on stage.

As a teacher at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Sr. Judy learned about de La Salle’s life and practices, including his belief that “every young person is a child of God.,”  and that the “why” of our stories is important.

She also emphasized the tradition of passing down stories, teaching methods, and treating students like little brothers and sisters, so that the work of the original Brothers at Cotter remains alive today.

A slideshow on the history of Cotter and the Christian Brothers work here was shown to the audience and narrated by Cotter students Ceili DeMarais and Ben Windley-Daoust.  The presentation included information on the roles of bishops Heffron and Cotter.  The opening of the school in 1911, the original North Central accreditation of the school in 1932, and the combining with the Cathedral School for girls after the 1952 school year.

Ironically, at the time the Christian Brothers mission was to teach boys, so their direct connection with Cotter ended in 1953.

30 members of the Cotter concert choir, led by director Cathy Snyder, performed two songs, “Sanctuary” and “Derevu Ni Mungu”  a Swahili song that is translated “In life we are passengers, God is the driver,” featuring solos by Cotter seniors Min Jae Kim, Jane Koll, and Ryan Ortega.


Cathy Snyder and the Cotter choir

Sr. Judy then presented a plaque recognizing the Christian Brothers contribution to Cotter to Brother Larry Schatz, FSC, the Visitor of the Midwest district of the Christian Brothers.

In his comments, Brother Larry spoke about the methods used by St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle to train his teachers, including an anecdote that warned teachers that all their past students would be at judgment day helping St. Peter cast an up or down vote on their former instructor.  He also spoke about the continuing mission of the Christian Brother in Minnesota, in the U.S.,  and around the world.

Mr. Meurer directs the Cotter band

To conclude the ceremony, the Cotter concert band, directed by Andy Meurer, played a song based on psalm 23 titled “In Paths of Truth and Grace”, arranged by Randall Standridge, based on the hymn “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need”

Each of the Brothers in attendance was given a copy of “Let Them Respect the Truth”: a history of Cotter, and each student was given a cookie on the way out of the gym.

Sr. Judy and the Christian Brothers on Founders Day 2016 in the John Nett Rec. center