Marist Brothers Superior General Charles Howard, who has died aged 87, was one of Australia's most outstanding educational trailblazers. He died on 14 January at the Brothers’ Community in Campbelltown, Sydney, where he had been receiving palliative care.
He was the first and so far only Australian to be elected Superior General of the international congregation of Marist Brothers (1985-93). Brother Charles also served as Provincial of the Sydney Province from 1972 until 1976, when he became the first Australian to be elected to the General Council of the Marist Brothers in Rome.
“He was deeply committed to Catholic schooling in Sydney and was very conscious it should be affordable to ordinary families, no matter what their income, and should remain affordable into the future,” said Brother Kelvin Canavan, the former long term Director of Schools for the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Brother Charles founded two teacher training schools in Africa and the Philippines to ensure Marist Brothers could obtain a certificate, diploma or degree in education as part of their post-novitiate studies.
While completing his own schooling at the Marist School, Randwick, he discovered his vocation and at 18 received the religious Habit.
A standout due to his intelligence and pedagogical knowledge, he was sent to France in 1961 to complete his religious formation. On his return to Australia he was appointed headmaster of St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, where he was responsible for more than 1000 students. This was a period of great change and the Wyndham Scheme reforms and introduction of the High School Certificate.
At St Joseph's, Brother Charles proved himself a strong consultative leader full of humour, serenity and compassion. In 1976, he was elected as General Councillor to the General Chapter, and after his 1985-93 term as Superior General, he lived and worked in the novitiates of Kutama (Africa) and Lomeri (Pacific).
Finally, aged in his mid 70s, Brother Charles returned to Australia where he continued to be involved in education. In 1997 he was declared a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
His funeral mass was celebrated at the chapel at St Joseph's College at on Tuesday this week.
Brother Charles Howard Remembered as Leading Educator and Trailblazer (Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney - News)
Video of Brother Charles’ funeral