Arand, Father Louis Aloysius, S.S.
1995, November 22
Date of Birth: 1892, November 3
St. Charles Villa
December 8, 1995
“With length of life I will content him.”
There is a mist of poignancy which hovers over the last decades of a man who long outlives the co-workers and friends of the years of his and their most fruitful contribution to the work to which they have dedicated their lives, their efforts, and their being. So it was with Louis Aloysius Arand. He was, for long, one of the prime energizers of the life and growth of the American Province of the Society of St. Sulpice. Then, one by one, the Sulpician titans of the second quarter of the twentieth century went to an eternal reward for their labors -- Fenlon, Viéban, Gleason, Lardner, McDonald, and a few more. But Louis Arand did not merely survive the others; he remained vocationally productive for more than a quarter-century beyond the last of their deaths.
Louis Arand was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 3, 1892; his parents were Jacob and Josephine Wolfe Arand. Louis was a bright boy; he began his schooling in 1898 and finished high-school in 1906. He then attended St. Fidelis College in Herman, Pennsylvania.
In 1912 Louis entered St. Mary’s Seminary as a priesthood candidate for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. In the seminary he grew into a filial relationship with St. Mary’s Superior, Father Edward Dyer, S.S. Louis, a brilliant student and model seminarian, was attracted to the work of the Society. When he applied for membership, his ordinary, Bishop Regis Canevin, graciously turned over the young man’s future to Father Dyer. This, incidentally, occurred at a time when the Sulpicians were attempting to strengthen their presence in the community of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Sulpicians had always had a presence in that community, but now St. Sulpice was moving to establish itself more firmly there. There had indeed been some friction between St. Mary’s and the University. Perhaps it was in a spirit of reconciliation that Father Dyer arranged with the Rector of the University, Bishop Shahan, to have Louis Arand ordained to priesthood in the chapel of the University’s Dominican College. There Bishop Shahan ordained him on June 15, 1917. Later in the same year, Father Arand took up graduate studies at the University and gained an S.T.L. degree in 1919.
In that year Father Arand went to Issy in France to make his Solitude. At Issy he came under the influence of Sulpician Father Adolphe Tanquerey, the Solitude’s Superior. A fellow Solitaire (and fellow American) was Father Herman Branderis. Father Tanquerey entrusted the English translation of his La Vie Spirituelle (The Spiritual Life) first to Father Branderis. Dissatisfied with the Branderis translation, Father Tanquerey (who had spent years in the United States at St. Mary’s Seminary and was adept at English) turned to Father Arand to re-do his work. The Superior of the Solitude and his “co-conspirator” never let Father Branderis know about the re-rendering. Through their delicacy the name of Herman Branderis appears on the title page of this monumental spiritual work. After Solitude, Father Arand went to Rome to study at the Angelicum University. There he received his doctorate in Theology in 1921.
On Father Arand’s return from Rome, he was assigned to teach Philosophy at St. Mary’s Seminary. He did so until 1924 when he was appointed to the Sulpician Seminary at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The Sulpician Seminary had been erected from funds gathered by Sulpician Father Edward Gilgan, Vice President of the University’s Divinity College and Professor of Theology at the Sulpician Seminary. When Father Gilgan became President of the Divinity College in 1924, Father Arand began teaching Theology at the Sulpician Seminary where he became Treasurer in 1926, a position he held until 1935. He continued teaching at the Sulpician Seminary until 1940. Such were the circumstances giving the context for the beginning of Father Arand’s life-work in Washington.
Father Arand began that life-work by teaching Theology and Liturgy at the Sulpician Seminary. In 1926 he added to those duties that of Treasurer of that house. In this capacity he honed his skills as a manager of finances. He would hold the Treasurer’s post until 1935. He then turned it over to a man who would become very dear to him, Sulpician Father Walter Schmitz. (It was not until 1940, however, that Father Arand turned over the teaching of Liturgy to Father Schmitz, who was to become known as an authority in liturgical matters.) Along with being Treasurer of the Seminary, Father Arand, in his capacities as Vestryman and Procurator, handled the financial affairs of St. Sulpice for his confreres. There is no need to explain those terms beyond noting that they involved the expenses of the Sulpicians in the Seminary.
Remaining as Professor at the Sulpician Seminary, Father Arand in 1932 became Acting President of Catholic University’s Divinity College. The Divinity College, located in Caldwell Hall, was a residence for priests who were doing graduate work at the University. The College’s President was charged with overseeing the conduct of those students, providing for them a regimen for their spiritual, moral, intellectual, and physical well-being while they pursued their courses. When the President of the College in 1932, Father Edward Gilgan, became ill, Father Arand was asked to serve as Acting President. He would occupy that office until 1968, becoming de facto President in 1940. But let us return to 1932.
The year 1932 was a significant one for Father Arand. As he took up residence in the Divinity College, a new Superior moved into the Sulpician Seminary, Father Anthony Viéban. They found that they were of one mind and heart in their common Sulpician endeavor. Father Arand was advisor and confident to his elder confrere; but, more than that, they shared a common ésprit, a congruent Sulpician ideal, a common approach about material, intellectual, and spiritual values. The esteem of each for the other was boundless. Father Arand, after the death in 1944 of the saintly Frenchman, never lost the love and respect he had for his deceased friend. To his dying day, Father Arand kept in a prominent place in his room a photograph of his alter ego.
A word must be said here of Father Arand’s labors at The Catholic University of America. His reputation as a teacher was almost fabulous. He offered his class matter with a simple, precise clarity. Students actually wanted to attend his presentations. His reputation as an administrator was evidenced by the positions he was asked to fill. His reputation as a counselor in matters both material and spiritual was enormous. His genius at finances was legendary. His reputation as a scholar was enhanced by his publications: in 1932 he published Doctrine and Devotion; in 1942 appeared his translation of St. Augustine’s Faith, Hope, and Charity; he also published articles and book reviews in theological journals.
In spite of so many accomplishments, Father Arand was forever a humble man. He accepted every assignment with a grace that reflected his simplicity of heart. He accepted the crosses of his life with a submission which reflected his conformity to God’s will, as was evidenced when the Sulpician Seminary became the Theological College of the University, and when age forced his retirement. Through successes and trials, he always remained his own self - always affable, always steadfast, always serene; but, in 1932 all that was in the future. With the presence on the campus on his dearest friend, Father Arand undertook the Presidency of the Divinity College.
Father Arand’s predecessor at the Divinity College was the already mentioned Father Edward Gilgan. In that presidential office, Father Gilgan had continued to exercise his remarkable ability as a fund-raiser for St. Sulpice. Father Arand, along with his other duties, inherited the chore of raising money for the Society. He took over the management of Father Gilgan’s fund. As in every other of his fields of endeavor, Father Arand proved to be superbly efficient.
Because in 1932 the ailing Father Gilgan had loosened his grip on his fund-raising operation, Father Arand’s first action was to dismiss most of the incompetent help in the fund’s office. He retained a single assistant, Tom Richardson, whose faithful service to the Sulpicians Father Arand would reward with a generous pension some decades later.
Father Arand, over the next years, would secure his stewardship over Sulpician assets - real estate, investments, incomes, etc. - in the nation’s capital. His skillful management through the decades enabled him to consolidate all St. Sulpice’s local financial operations and assets. Combining prudence and intuitive judgment, Father Arand was able to protect and strengthen St. Sulpice’s financial health.
It is important to stress that all this financial aptitude was used for the benefit of St. Sulpice. If Father Arand profited in any way personally from his genius, it was never at the expense of the Society. On the contrary, St. Sulpice was the recipient, and in overflowing measure, of its son’s generosity. There came a time in the last half of the 1930s, when the Society of St. Sulpice could have undergone financial distress, perhaps disaster. But Father Arand contrived to preserve the Society’s assets for its own purposes. Father Arand wisely, out of the funds he had consolidated, managed to safeguard what St. Sulpice possessed in Washington. Then, with the knowledge, permission, and encouragement of his Superiors, from the consolidated funds he established several distinct funds - vestry, building, pension, etc. At a relatively late date, he was instrumental in setting up what became his favorite fund, the Retirement Fund. Following Father Arand’s initiative, the alumni of Sulpician seminaries have demonstrated their love and loyalty to their old teachers by contributing, and continuing to contribute, to the fund.
Along with the exercise of financial acumen, Father Arand, for several decades, continued his duties as President of the Divinity College until 1968. During eighteen of those years he was a member of the Provincial Council. His wisdom – really a common-sense approach to all matters – was deeply respected by his colleagues, and by all fellow Sulpicians. That respect turned to veneration as the years passed. Besides his role as Nestor to his Provincial Superior, he was carrying on as Professor at the Sulpician Seminary and the Catholic University. As with the Provincial Council, Father Arand was much respected and loved by his peers in Academia. He enjoyed the company of such as George Higgins, John Cronin, Anabelle Melville and others but, most of all, John Tracy Ellis. Erant gigantes in diebus illis!
Father Arand’s professional life was a happy one, but it was not his whole life. An important part of his life - and deep in his heart - was love of his family. Louis was one of ten children. He outlived them all, though his sister Florence survived until 1986.
He felt in his old age to be blessed to be with his nieces and nephews and their children. Another sister, Margaret, married a John Scherer. Two of the Scherer’s children attended Father Louis’s funeral – Don (and his wife Betty) and Sister Louis Mary, S.S.J. Others, who lived at a distance, could not be there.
But in 1968, Father Arand’s funeral was more than a quarter-century away. He still had much living to do, much work to be accomplished. And after 1968, that living and that work of the aging Sulpician would prove to be of immense value and importance to St. Sulpice and the confreres of its American Province.
Long before 1968, Father Arand and his dearest friend, Father Viéban, came to a turning point in their lives. Between the years 1937 and 1940 they had to struggle with the metamorphosis of the Sulpician Seminary into the Theological College of the Catholic University of America. The Sulpician Seminary had, from its beginnings, been the pre-priesthood school of the University. Having been erected and maintained on land owned by St. Sulpice, it had a certain independence. When the time came for its building to be erected on that land, Father Gilgan, starting from sum zero, had provided for all its material needs; and St. Sulpice had provided for all its staffing. It was in all respects a Sulpician institution integrated into the warp and woof of the University’s fabric. For administrative reasons, the University wanted to incorporate the house into its own structural design. St. Sulpice had poured millions into the Washington seminary. But more than money, St. Sulpice poured its spirit into the house. Through its system of priesthood preparation, the Society had made the Sulpician Seminary an ideal seminary. Its teachers and counselors had made the Sulpician Seminary dear to its students and alumni. Would all that be lost if the University succeeded in its quest? The University did succeed. But, largely due to the efforts of the Sulpicians on the scene, it continued to retain and enhance both its dignity and its influence. Father Arand managed to shepherd the Society’s resources, which otherwise might have been lost or severely reduced. The Washington Sulpicians continued to imbue the students with the Sulpician spirit. If millions had been spent by St. Sulpice when the house had been called the Sulpician Seminary, more Sulpician millions continued to be spent when the house became the Theological College of the Catholic University of America. While the students now pursue their theological courses at the University, their spiritual growth is still the responsibility of St. Sulpice.
By 1940 the changeover had become effective. Father Arand, with no cosmic perturbation, switched from being a professor at the Sulpician Seminary to being a professor at The Catholic University of America. In 1944, as has been said, he lost his dearest friend; but he went on calmly with all his normal activities until he retired in 1968, just past the seventy-fifth year of his life.
In that year, Father Arand moved from the Divinity College to take up residence in Theological College. Although he was not without some health problems, he was nonetheless very active physically. He made it a point to walk several miles each day, stopping here and there for a brief chat or to gaze at something that caught his eye. He was happy to be close to Father Walter Schmitz, still Treasurer of the house. But the chief beneficiary of Father Arand’s residency at the Theological College was its Rector, Sulpician Father Edward Frazer. Father Frazer recognized what a prize he had in Father Arand. The two began a relationship that persisted – through Father Frazer’s rectorship, his term as Provincial Superior, and his years (still in esse) as pioneer of the Province’s mission in Africa – down to the time of Father Arand’s death.
Though that death was more than two decades away, Father Arand was becoming more and more aware of the health hazards of the aging. He was still very active in the Society’s work, and a succession of Provincial Superiors and Provincial Treasurers were dependent on his knowledge, financial expertise, and advice. It was in his years at Theological College that he became point man in the establishment of the Retirement Fund. He had his own resources; but he was very much concerned about the care and needs of his aging or ill confreres. I think it can be said that much of the money that paid for the Sulpician retirement home, St. Charles Villa, came from funds Father Arand had set up over the years.
St. Charles Villa is a “satellite” of St. Martin’s Home. That Home had been erected in Catonsville, Maryland, in the late 1960s by the Little Sisters of the Poor to replace their outmoded facility in downtown Baltimore. The Little Sisters generously consented, on the request of Sulpician authorities, to operate St. Charles Villa. The Villa opened in 1971. Father Arand, accepting the fact of waning physical powers and the need of more care than Theological College could supply him, decided to move into St. Charles Villa. He entered on June 30, 1977. “Waning powers” did not, for Louis Arand, mean quasi-invalidism. It is true that his vision and hearing were beginning to be affected. But he was a very vigorous retiree. He soon became a familiar figure to the residents of St. Martin’s Home as he strolled about the grounds of the Little Sisters’ property. He was an imposing figure, tall and erect, fedora-topped, cane-sporting, and almost debonair. He would stop now and again to exchange greetings with an individual or a small group of residents.
Father Arand was equally affable with his confreres in St. Charles Villa. He enjoyed being with them, he enjoyed talking with them, he enjoyed eating with them. He joined happily with some of them in a nightly, after-dinner game of bridge. He took delight in conversations with the Fathers and was quick to respond to kindnesses - a trait which won him, beyond respect, the affection of the Villa’s staff. He subscribed to the daily newspaper and, with the help of a magnifying glass, read it with eagerness. Not on the ephemeral only did he use his fading sight; he kept on his desk a volume of Horace’s poems. He had in his room a small library of literature and theology, a collection which he generously shared with others.
Generosity was second nature to Louis Arand. While in the 1970s at the Theological College, he began (continued would be a better word), from his personal means, to make donations to worthy causes. He was kind to his family; to Mother Teresa; to his Alma Mater, St. Fidelis College; to the Vietnamese Mission of St. Sulpice; and to other Sulpician causes (e.g., to the fund for the education of Sulpician candidates). But his favorite charity was the Retirement Fund. In his time at St. Charles Villa and later in St. Martin’s Home, his frequent gifts to that fund amounted almost to bombardment of the Provincial House. His file at the Provincial Office is thick with hundreds (no hyperbole!) of letters from Provincial Treasurers thanking him for his substantial gifts to the Retirement Fund. As early as 1982, when Father Frazer was Provincial Superior, he noted in a letter to Father Arand that Father Arand had in a single year given to St. Sulpice from his own funds $6,275.00. If you add that one-year donation to those of the years previous to and after 1982, you can begin to appreciate the enormousness of Father Arand’s generosity. And to that contribution must be added that of the benefactors of St. Sulpice who had been inspired by Father Arand. As Father Gerald Brown, Father Arand’s Provincial Superior, said at the wake service on the eve of Father Arand’s funeral: “Father Arand raised millions of dollars for the work of St. Sulpice.”
Father Brown also said that Father Arand was a direct person who radiated truth and honesty. He was particularly honest about himself. When the time came, he acknowledged to himself that he needed even more care than even St. Charles Villa could offer him; so he asked to be allowed to move into the infirmary (the St. John of God unit) of St. Martin’s Home.
Father Arand moved into St. Martin’s Home on October 24, 1989. He would live in his room there for the next six years. At first there was little change in his routines; he kept up his walking, was still interested in the residents, still read his daily paper, visited his confreres back at St. Charles Villa occasionally. One thing changed – instead of his privately offered Mass, he concelebrated at the regular daily liturgy in St. Martin’s chapel. Still tall and erect up to the last weeks of his life, his presence in that chapel was felt because, as he aged, he became more and more deaf. Because he did not realize the loudness of his voice, his prayers and queries could be heard throughout. His booming query: “Who is the Prime Minister?” was his way of asking the name of the Mass’s principal concelebrant. Good-natured though the question was, it is sad to think that it was asked because Father Arand’s eyesight had become all but non-existent. He was, after all, ninety-seven years old when he went to St. Martin’s Home. Despite physical frailty, which increased as the years passed by, he was as alert as he had been at his ordination. He fitted in graciously with the others in St. John of God. He enjoyed the visits of his confreres from St. Charles Villa. In time he stopped his daily walks and his attempts to read, but he never lost his good humor nor his interest in the activities of St. Sulpice. He had a keen interest in the Sulpician mission in Africa and was much pleased that his younger friend, Father Frazer, was in charge of that mission. Always a man of faith and prayer, Father Arand became overtly so in his last years. He was almost lavish in his promises to pray for others and for the work of his active confreres.
But the time came when Father Arand was no longer tall and erect, no longer voluble and resonant, no longer quick to recognize the voices of old friends. His memory deserted him. He felt pain. He longed for death. It was only a few weeks before his death that he ceased attending Mass. Now he was only semi-conscious; then unconscious. But he was still praying, still suffering. The merciful end came on the afternoon of November 22, 1995.
It was almost a week later, on November 28th, that Father Arand’s funeral Mass was celebrated. To his wake and to that Mass came dignitaries and colleagues from The Catholic University of America, relatives of course, priests of the Sulpician houses of Baltimore and Washington, former students, lay friends, and dozens of the clergy. The principal celebrant of the Mass was the retired Archbishop of Baltimore, the Most Reverend William Borders; one of the concelebrants was William Newman, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore. The homily was preached by Father Albert Giaquinto of Theological College. Graveside services were conducted by Father Brown in the Sulpician cemetery in Catonsville.
Thus, did the world’s oldest Sulpician pass from the darkness and silence of his final days to the eternal light and harmonies of the realm he had so long prayed for. May Father Arand rest in peace.
Vincent M. Eaton, S.S.