Society of Mary -70 Years
Brother Philip Aaron, SM: Brother Aaron was born in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, and raised in the Pittsburgh area, where he attended elementary school and high school. He attended Mount Saint John in Dayton, Ohio, and professed first vows on Sept. 8, 1950, in Marcy, New York.
Bro. Aaron attended University of Dayton, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in education in 1954. He later attended Saint Louis University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in teaching chemistry in 1964. Ten years later, in 1974, he earned his doctoral degree in teacher education at Case Western Reserve.
In his early years of Marianist service, Bro. Aaron served as a high school teacher for 10 years at St. Joseph High School in Cleveland (1953 to1963) and for one year at McBride High School in St. Louis. He then returned to St. Joseph in Cleveland, but changed ministries to serve as principal from 1965 to 1972.
After earning his doctorate in 1974, Bro. Aaron served as secondary education supervisor for the Marianists’ Cincinnati Province for two years and left Cincinnati to serve from 1976 to 1979 as principal of his alma mater in Pittsburgh, North Catholic High School.
In 1979, Bro. Aaron moved to Dayton and began what would become a lengthy tenure at University of Dayton, serving in many roles that spanned nearly 35 years. His numerous ministries at the University included international studies instructor; director of strategies for responsible development; associate director of the Center for International Studies; campus ministry immersion program director; and engineering school director of both service learning and ETHOS (a domestic and international service-learning program for students). While at the University, Bro. Aaron also served for 18 years as local coordinator for the Marianist volunteer program.
Bro. Aaron retired from his roles at University of Dayton’s engineering school in 2014 and continues to play trombone for the University’s New Horizon’s Music Program, and pursue writing, photography and other hobbies. He ministers to the Marianists in the Society of Mary’s skilled nursing facility in Dayton, cooks for his community and continues to support all Marianist efforts at the University. He resides at the Marianist Sawmill Community.
Personal Reflection: “The grace of a long life is a privilege given only to a few, and in recent years, I have cherished this grace because life has given me the time to appreciate aspects of life which are not related to job and pursuit of career goals: the time to contemplate the meaning of life. This is a true grace to have the time to discover your real self. This discovery of self comes in the time the grace of aging gives one to pursue writing, reading, art and prayer at one’s own pace for which I am very thankful.”
Brother Donald Neff, SM: Brother Neff was born in and raised in Dayton, Ohio, where he attended Corpus Christi Elementary School and Chaminade High School through his junior year when he attended Mount Saint John to complete his high school years. He professed first vows on Sept. 8, 1950, in Marcy, New York.
Bro. Neff attended University of Dayton, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in education in 1954. He attended Xavier University, where he earned a master of education degree in 1965. He later completed a counseling certificate program at University of Dayton in 1968.
In his early years of Marianist service, Bro. Neff served two years as a high school teacher and sodality moderator in Cleveland. In 1956, he traveled to Puerto Rico where he served as teacher, prefect, fundraising coordinator and sodality moderator at a Marianist high school for boarders. Four years later, in 1961, he returned to the U.S. mainland to serve one year as teacher, athletic director and soldality moderator in Hamilton, Ohio. In 1962, Bro. Neff was then called to serve as Cincinnati Province vocation director for four years, also assisting with recruitment and serving as scholastic prefect until 1968.
The next year, he traveled outside the U.S to serve in Marianist high schools in Melbourne, Australia, where he remained for more than 15 years. From 1969-1973, he served at St. Paul College as business manager, maintenance and cafeteria coordinator and provided fundraising, recruitment and vocation formation assistance. Bro. Neff then served as founding headmaster and assisted with recruitment and vocation formation for Marianist College (later named John Paul College) from 1973-1985.
He left Australia and returned to Colegio San Jose in Puerto Rico, this time as principal from 1986-1987, and alumni director and special events coordinator, 1987-1988. Bro. Neff returned to the home of his original teaching ministry in Cleveland to serve for one year, this time as vice-principal while assisting in the development office and coordinating fundraising. In 1990, he began serving at Chaminade Madonna High School in Hollywood, Florida, where he remained for 15 years, serving as alumni development director and community relations coordinator until 2005. That year, he returned to Dayton as Mount Saint John property director and provided assistance in the Marianist Mission Office until 2013.
During that year, Bro. Neff returned to Hollywood, Florida, where he provided mission preaching in parishes for three years until he retired in 2016. He resides at a Marianist Community in Hollywood and maintains Mission Office contact with area contributors through phone and correspondence.
Personal Reflection: “I am ever grateful and humbled for the blessing of being invited to become a member of Mary’s Special Family, the Marianists. For one with no interest in teaching, but planned a business career or entrepreneurship, Mary’s call was special and provided me with the opportunity of being an entrepreneur in education and witness my commitment to the world community.”
Brother Daniel Stupka, SM: Brother Stupka was born in and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended St. Ignatius Grade School and Cathedral Latin High School. He professed first vows on Sept. 8, 1950, in Marcy, New York.
Bro. Stupka attended University of Dayton, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in music education in 1954. He attended The Ohio State University, where he earned a master of music education degree in 1960. He later earned a master’s degree in liturgy at University of Notre Dame in 1970.
In his early years of Marianist service, Bro. Stupka served one year (1953-1954) as an English and music teacher at the Marianist postulate in Beacon, New York, followed by four years teaching English in his hometown (Cleveland) at St. Joseph High School. In 1958, he began serving as English and band teacher at Hamilton Catholic High School, remaining in Hamilton until 1963 when he began a one-year second novitiate program in Missouri. From 1964 to 1969, Bro. Stupka served as teacher and music director for the Marianist novitiate in Marcy, New York.
He left New York to serve in Tennessee at Memphis Catholic High School, from 1969-1977, serving in various roles including assistant principal, teacher and moderator for speech and drama clubs . In 1977, Bro. Stupka began serving as English teacher, and speech and drama club director for Moeller High School in Cincinnati. He left in 1979 and returned to Memphis Catholic High School where he remained for until 1988, also serving as community director for three years.
In 1988, Bro. Stupka began 11 years of service in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, first as a teacher at North Catholic High School and then in a grade-school program supervisory role. He later served as parish music director at several parishes in the Pittsburgh area. Bro. Stupka continued his music ministry and, in 1999, returned to Cincinnati where he served as parish music director at St Francis de Sales Parish for eight years and, additionally for two years, as chapel music director at the De Sales Marianist residence.
In 2007, he began serving at University of Dayton as chapel music director while also assisting at the Marian Library. He remained in Dayton until 2015 when he moved to the Marianist Residence in San Antonio, Texas, where he continues his music ministry as chapel music director for the community.
Personal Reflection: “Two major sources of happiness have been my devotion to Mary, the Mother of God and my intense interest in music. Yet another source of joy and service has been my Marianist family life. “Now, as I reflect upon that joy and service, I must rejoice that I have been greatly blessed — in both my community life and my teaching life. I thank the Good Lord for these graces and my desire to continue in His service.”
Society of Mary – 60 Years
Brother James (Jim) Brown, SM: Brother Brown was born and raised in Euclid, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, where he attended Holy Cross School in Euclid and St. Joseph High School in Cleveland. He professed first vows on Aug. 22, 1960, in Marcy, New York.
Bro. Brown attended University of Dayton, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in business education in 1964.
In his early years of Marianist service, Bro. Brown served one year (1964-1965) as a religion and business teacher at Covington Catholic High School in Covington, Kentucky. He returned to Ohio in 1965 to serve as secretary for the Marianist Provincialate in Dayton until 1968. He spent one year in Cincinnati where he taught business classes at Purcell High School.
Bro. Brown then moved to Dayton where he began 20 years of ministry at Chaminade-Julienne High School. From 1969-1973, he taught religion; from 1973-1986, he taught both religion and business classes; and from 1986-1989, he served as director of Chaminade-Julienne’s alumni association.
He left the high school in 1989 to begin what has become more than three decades of service to the Marianist Mission. Throughout his tenure, Bro. Brown has served the Mission, first, as associate director of planned giving, after which he moved into the position of director of planning giving. He currently serves as Legacy Giving director for the Society of Mary’s Mission.
Bro. Brown lives at Alumni Hall at University of Dayton where he continues his ministry that supports Marianist ministries and works around the world.
Personal Reflection: “The past 60 years of being a Brother of Mary have been filled with blessing upon blessing I am thankful to my parents, my siblings and their families, and to the members of the Society of Mary who have graced my life with their support and love.
Words cannot express the gratitude in my heart for these past 60 years. Let all of us be forever thankful for the blessing that we have received and continue whatever we do in the name of the Lord Jesus, Mary’s Son.”
Brother Raymond L. Fitz, SM, PhD: Bro. Fitz was born in Akron, Ohio, and attended St. Joseph Grade School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and high school at St. Vincent High School in Akron. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from University of Dayton in 1964 and both a master of science degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University in 1967 and 1970, respectively.
He began his Marianist service in 1964 as a high school math and science teacher, and coach in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After completing his master’s and doctoral degrees, he returned to Ohio in 1969 to begin what has become a five-decade ministry at University of Dayton.
In 1969, Bro. Fitz joined the University’s engineering faculty as professor of electrical engineering and engineering management, a ministry in which he served for 10 years. In 1979, he was named president of the University and, as the longest-serving president in University of Dayton history, is known for creating a strong connection between learning, and leadership and service. Bro. Fitz stepped down from that role in 2002, after serving for 23 years.
He continued to serve the University, initially, as a Fr. Ferree Professor of Social Justice for the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community, and where he served for 17 years, until 2019. Currently, Bro. Fitz is professor of social change in the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to his social justice teaching role, he also serves Dayton and surrounding Montgomery County in addressing the area’s poverty and racial injustice issues. Last year, he served as co-chair of the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund, following the 2019 mass shooting in the city’s Oregon District nightlife area.
Bro. Fitz continues teaching at University of Dayton and resides in the Stonemill Marianist Community on campus.
Personal Reflection: “I come to this 60th jubilee year convinced that the world is better for this that we Marianist religious have dared to dream and hope. We have committed ourselves to the dream of Jesus Christ and Blessed William Joseph Chaminade. I promise to give my energy to this proclamation of Christ’s kingdom: ‘a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of grace and holiness, a kingdom of justice, love and peace’ (preface for the Feast of Christ the King).”
Brother Robert M. Flaherty, SM: Brother Flaherty was born in and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he attended Annunciation Elementary School and North Catholic High School. He professed first vows on Aug. 9, 1960, in Marcy, New York.
Bro. Flaherty attended University of Dayton, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in political science in 1964. He earned a master’s degree in education from Xavier University in 1974.
He began his Marianist ministry in 1964 as a teacher at Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati, where he remained until 1967 when he was called to serve as teacher and activity moderator at Chaminade College School in Toronto, Canada. After one year, he spent another year (1968-1969) in those same roles at Chaminade High School in Dayton.
Bro. Flaherty returned to Cincinnati and Archbishop Moeller in 1969 and, since that time, has established himself as a legendary mainstay. With just two of his 56 years of ministry spent teaching elsewhere, Bro. Flaherty has served the school for more than a half-century providing a variety of services and support to students.
For most of those 54 years, Bro. Flaherty served as teacher, counselor and activity moderator. Throughout two decades of his service to the school, (1988-2008), he spent summers in Dublin, Ireland, as a summer English Academy teacher at St. Laurence College. Starting in 2015, he began assisting in the high school’s campus ministry program as a pastoral counselor, a moderator for grief groups and also works with the National Honor Society students.
Bro. Flaherty lives at a Marianist Community in Cincinnati where he serves as director and continues his counseling and ministry work at Archbishop Moeller High School.
Personal Reflection: “I am privileged to have become a better Marianist as a result of teaching and counseling in a high school over these many years. I have always looked forward to coming to school each day, and it has been a joy to serve, rather than to be served!
From the first day I set foot in North Catholic High School (as a student) to the present, all that I am and all that I have become, I owe to my family and the Society of Mary. Every encounter with my brothers, colleagues and my students has helped me become both a better person and a better Marianist. My life as a Marianist has been gratifying and fulfilling.”
Brother Robert Politi, SM: Brother Politi was born in Cleveland and raised in nearby Parma, Ohio, where he attended St. Francis deSales Grade School and Holy Name High School. He professed first vows on Aug., 22, 1960, in Marcy, New York.
He attended University of Dayton, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education and comprehension in business in 1964, and later attended University of Cincinnati where he earned a master’s degree in education in 1972.
Bro. Politi began his early years of Marianist service in 1964 at Purcell High School (later Purcell Marian), where he would end up dedicating 50 years of service in various roles at the high school. Initially, he served as the high school’s business teacher from 1964 to 1969 and then settled into his special education ministry, to which he dedicated 41 years from 1969-2010. It was during this time that Bro. Politi established an alternate learning program that eventually developed into the school’s four-year special education program.
He left his teaching ministry at Purcell Marian to serve as the school’s business manager, a position from which he retired in 2015. Throughout his 50-year tenure at the high school, Bro Politi was very involved in co- and extracurricular activities, serving as band and band parents group moderator, bingo manager and Mission Integration Team co-chairperson.
While still in ministry at the high school, in 2010, Bro. Politi began serving as Sacristan at St. Francis deSales Church part-time. He currently resides at De Sales Marianist Community, where he has lived since 1998, and serves as full-time Sacristan at St. Francis deSales Church.
Personal Reflection: “The most rewarding experience as a Marianist has been answering the call to special education — as a teacher and an intervention specialist. Teaching, serving and working with these students with special needs has been a blessing, as they have taught me about life: Be yourself, enjoy the life God has given you. They have challenged me — to be a part of their lives, to form their gifts and talents.
“My life as a Marianist has been one of living in faith, as Mary did—many unknowns. Each year has been an interesting one. I have been able to hope and trust, while not knowing what lies ahead of me. I am now in parish ministry, serving as a sacristan serving the parishioners at St. Francis de Sales Church.”
Brother Robert (Bob) Wiethorn, SM: Brother Wiethorn was born in and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he attended St. Mark Grade School and Purcell High School. He professed first vows on Sept. 8, 1958, in Marcy, New York, and was ordained on Aug. 22, 1960, in Marcy, New York.
He attended University of Dayton, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1964. He also earned a master of science degree in chemistry at Purdue University in 1972, with certification in secondary school educational administration. He later earned certification to teach computer science through The Ohio State University and C++ certification in computer programming language through Carnegie Mellon University in 1987 and 1988, respectively.
Bro. Wiethorn spent 1964, his first year of Marianist ministry — and his only year of service outside the Cincinnati Archdiocese — in Pennsylvania, where he taught math at North Catholic High School. In 1965, he returned to Ohio to serve in the teaching ministry at Chaminade High School in Dayton. He remained in that role for eight years, teaching math, chemistry and physical science, while serving as moderator for various student groups and activities. Within that time, he also served as Chaminade’s president and facilitated the merger with Julienne High School.
After the merger, Bro. Wiethorn served Chaminade Julienne High School from 1973-1976 as director of student services and vice principal of students. In 1976, he resumed a teaching role, serving as chemistry and math teacher for three years.
In 1979, Bro. Wiethorn left the high school to return to his hometown where he served as Cincinnati Province vocation director. He remained in that role for seven years. In 1988, he returned to Chaminade Julienne and the teaching ministry for a 10-year stint during which he taught computer science and education classes, and also established a new computer lab and classroom.
He was called back to Cincinnati in 1998 to develop and direct Mercy Connections, providing computer-based GED and job-training programs, and to establish DeSales Crossings Project and the Marianist Movement network of Marianist groups involved in the Family of Mary. He served Mercy Connections (now Mercy Neighborhood Ministries) until 2011 when he was called to serve as community director, support team and medical staff director for Siena Woods.
After serving as director for six years, and taking a one-year sabbatical, Bro. Wiethorn returned to Siena Woods in 2018 as a community member. He resides there currently and continues to serve his community’s support team, office of temporalities and community council.
Personal Reflection: “When I reflect on the past 60 years of Marianist life, the word that comes to my mind is GRATITUDE. I am so grateful to God and Mary for the gift of my call to live the Marianist charism. I’ve been so blessed with a supportive family, my Marianist brothers, the many lay Marianists with whom I have shared life, my communities and the ministries to which I have been called. These Marianists have guided, supported, and at times, carried me in so many ways over all the years.
Society of Mary – 50 years
Father J. Eugene Contadino, SM: Fr. Contadino was born and raised in Cincinnati where he attended Holy Name and Our Mother or Sorrows elementary schools, and Purcell High School. He professed first vows on Sept. 2, 1959, in Marcy, New York.
He attended University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1962. Fr. Contadino earned a certificate in theological studies in 1964 from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and entered the seminary at University of Fribourg’s Regina Mundi Marianist Seminary in Fribourg, Switzerland, where he earned an STB in theology in 1968. He continued seminary studies at St. Louis University where he earned a master’s degree in moral theology in 1970. He was ordained on Jan. 31, 1970, at Mount Saint John in Dayton.
Prior to entering the seminary, Fr. Contadino began his Marianist ministry in Cleveland in 1962, teaching high school and serving as moderator of the school newspaper. He served two years there before moving to Dayton in 1964, where he taught religion and English at Chaminade High School. Two years later, he entered the seminary and, upon completion of his studies, returned to Cleveland.
Fr. Contadino taught religion and served as school chaplain in Cleveland from 1971 to 1977, when he returned to Cincinnati to serve as pastor at Queen of Apostles Community. He served in that role for six years and left Cincinnati in 1984 to begin what became a more than 25-year ministry at University of Dayton. While at the University, Fr. Contadino served from 1984 to 1996 in campus ministry; from 1996 to 2005 as rector of the University and board of trustees; and from 2008 to 2010 in the advancement providing alumni relations and development services.
In 2010, Fr. Contadino returned once again to Cincinnati to serve as pastor of St. Francis DeSales Parish where he continues that ministry. He resides at the DeSales Marianist Community.
Personal Reflection: “This life is a gift from God! It is not only the very breath I breathe, but I have been blessed with opportunities to work with people and in places I never dreamed possible. It has been a wild ride filled with successes and failures, sin and grace, light and darkness. My life has been both a walk with a community of believers and a constant search for the now-revealing God.
Looking back, I see the hand of God in the brothers and friends, men and women, who have come into my life. After all, I have never been out of those divine hands, and the God who promised eternal life has delivered over and over again to make resurrection a real experience in my life. ”
Father Lawrence A. Schoettelkotte, SM: Fr. Schoettelkotte was born in and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he attended St. John the Evangelist in Deer Park and Purcell High School. He professed first vows on Sept. 8, 1958, in Marcy, New York, and was ordained on Jan. 31, 1970 in Dayton, Ohio.
He attended University of Dayton, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in education in 1961. He entered the seminary in Fribourg, Switzerland, where he earned an STB in theology at University of Fribourg in 1968. He also earned a master of arts degree at St. Louis University in 1970.
In his early years of Marianist service, Fr. Schoettelkotte served two years as a high school teacher in Cleveland from 1961-1963. Throughout the next two years, he taught one year in Pennsylvania and served as teacher and assistant administrator at Chaminade High School in Dayton. He entered the seminary in 1966 and completed his seminary studies in 1970. After his ordination that year, he served briefly as chaplain at Mount Saint John in Dayton before beginning nine years of ministry in Cleveland where he served from 1970-1979 as teacher and director at St. Joseph High School.
In 1979, Fr. Schoettelkotte left Cleveland for Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he taught and served as chaplain at Hackett High School until 1985. After a one-year sabbatical in California, he began serving in 1986 as chaplain, director and guidance counselor at Memphis Catholic High School in Tennessee. He left Tennessee to return to Pennsylvania and served as guidance counselor and chaplain at North Catholic High School in Pittsburgh from 1991-1993.
He left the teaching ministry in 1993 and served as associate pastor at St. Catherine of Siena parish in Portage, Michigan, for six years. In 1999, he returned to his hometown to continue in parish ministry at All Saints Church.
Fr. Schoettelkotte resides at a Marianist Community in Cincinnati and continues his parish ministry at All Saints.
Personal Reflection: “During my senior year of high school, I decided to be a priest or religious, attracted to both the diocesan priesthood and to the Society of Mary. After a real struggle and a lot of prayer, I decided on the Society of Mary and have been happy and grateful with the decision ever since. Over the years, I have been grateful for all the support from the Marianists with whom I lived and worked. Each new assignment brought new challenges and new opportunities for growth. Most of all, I thank our Blessed Mother for her guidance and inspiration through the years.”
Sister Gretchen Trautman, FMI: Sister Trautman was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, where she attended Our Lady of Mercy Grade School and Julienne High School. She professed first vows on June 8, 1970, in San Antonio.
She attended University of Dayton and St. Mary’s University where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in education with teacher certification in 1975 and University of Texas at San Antonio, where she earned a master of arts in education in 1980.
Sr. Trautman’s early years of ministry began in San Antonio where she served as a grade school teacher from 1970-1972, and a kindergarten teacher from 1972-1976 at Catholic schools. She began serving at St. Mary’s University in 1976 as campus minister and administrator of women’s residence halls, positions she held for two years. It was during that time, in 1975, that Sr. Trautman also served as vocation director for the Marianist Sisters, remaining in that role until 1980. In 1978, she was appointed director of formation for the order, a role in which she served for eight years, from 1978-1986. During her last two years while formation director, she also served as a retreat presenter (1984-1986). In addition, throughout her first decade of service, Sr. Trautman spent summers serving on the staff of Marianist retreat centers in New Jersey and North Carolina.
In 1987, Sr. Trautman left San Antonio to become lead teacher at University of Dayton’s Children’s Center. After two years, she began serving in 1989 as director for the Overfield Early Education Program in Troy, Ohio, where she remained until 1992. The next to benefit from Sr. Trautman’s early childhood expertise, was the HeadStart program at Miami Valley Child Development Centers, Inc., which she supervised from 1992-1998. Throughout that time, she assisted the opposite end of the education spectrum by serving in 1992 as adjunct professor of education at Edison State College in Piqua, Ohio, and in that same role at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, from 1993-1996.
In 1998, Sr. Trautman returned to San Antonio, first, as principal at Holy Rosary School, where she served until 2006 when she began a four-year service as coordinator for the Marianist Leadership Program at St. Mary’s University. During that term, she also returned to a previous position, serving as Marianist Sisters’ formation director from 2005-2007. After her formation directorship, she served from 2008 -2012 as vocation coordinator for the San Antonio region’s Society of Mary and Daughters of Mary Immaculate. In 2010, Sr. Trautman was appointed U.S. Provincial for the Marianist Sisters, a two-year service, until she left in 2012 to serve as the Marianist Sisters’ general head of temporalities in Rome, Italy, until 2017.
After serving in Rome, she returned to San Antonio in August 2017to begin serving as U.S. provincial. She resides in San Antonio and continues serving as provincial today.
Personal Reflection: “I have taught all ages — preschool through college — with other ministries sprinkled in along the way: campus ministry and college dorms; school administration, retreat work and spiritual direction; vocation ministry, formation and serving as provincial and general head of temporalities.
“I am thankful to have lived and worked with other Marianists — impressed by their strong faith values, community spirit, and service in ministry. Words from Chapter 15 of John’s Gospel —“Remain in My Love — have carried me through thick and thin, through good times and rough times. It is the Lord who has always been faithful, being with me and guiding me.”