Brother Mel became a member of the Marianist order, a Catholic community of brothers, just out of high school in 1942. He was sent to the University of Dayton for his bachelor's degree and later to Notre Dame for a master's degree in art, which included also a year of traveling 14,000 miles on a moped to visit cathedrals, shrines and museums throughout Europe. After teaching English and art in some of the Marianist schools, he was given the opportunity to work full time as an artist. He was given no constraints, no particular demands, other than to fulfill his spiritual vows as he saw fit as a working artist. This was a groundbreaking idea in the 1960s of what vocational choices might be appropriate for a monk. Much of his work shows no specific signs as being religious art. However, when asked, Brother Mel will always reply, “All of my work is religious.”
In his mid-eighties, he continued to work 6 days a week as his creative energy endured. He continued to meld his art and faith in a variety of vibrant artworks; and most recently, St. Louis University honored him with an honorary doctorate and a permanent sculpture garden in one block in the middle of downtown St. Louis. In addition, the Museum of Art at St. Louis University has mounted a retrospective of his work.
The Arts Company mourns the loss of our artist, friend and mentor upon his death in October of 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Written by Anne Brown
Published by The Arts Company Press
The first 250 books are signed, numbered, and accompanied by an original one-of-a-kind book sconce wall sculpture by Brother Mel. For purchase, please call 615-254-2040 or email.