Watch the emotional election of Brother Driscoll above. Read more about the St. Xavier veteran educator and principal below.
By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor
Long-time St. Xavier High School teacher and principal, Xaverian Brother Edward Driscoll, has been elected General Superior of the Congregation of the Brothers of St. Francis Xavier, a congregation that serves in education ministry on four continents.
The post will take him away from St. Xavier High School, where he has served as a teacher, principal, guidance counselor and resource coordinator for a total of 37 years.
He acknowledged during an interview recently that accepting the six-year post — based in Baltimore, Md. — wasn’t easy.
“It’s been tough,” he said. St. Xavier “is something I love and get so much energy from.”
The departure of this dignified, yet warm, individual won’t be easy for St. Xavier either.
Senior Carlos Muñoz said Brother Driscoll became a mentor to him early in his time at St. X and “he lived up to his name — he really became a brother to us.”
Muñoz, who came to the United States from Panama at age 5, said he struggled during his first year at St. X.
“I’m an immigrant and had some self-esteem issues,” Muñoz said during an interview at St. X. “He noticed that. He saw the need and got to know me.
“Brother Ed helped me see the positive, always. He kind of said, ‘You are good enough,’ and that kind of stuck with me. I can be myself,” Muñoz said. “He looked sad any time I said something negative about myself — he had empathy. It taught me empathy, kindness, compassion — to be there to help, not to criticize or judge.”
What Brother Driscoll did for Muñoz is exactly what he has done for countless students, said Mary Jefferson, a freshman theology teacher at St. X.
“Brother Ed is so gifted at somehow seeing every student individually,” she noted during a phone interview. “He doesn’t look at them as a student body. He sees them as unique individuals and the students know that.
“He has a radar for the students who need him the most,” she added. “And he dedicates himself to them and keeps them from feeling invisible.”
Jefferson, a veteran teacher with 23 years at St. X, said Brother Driscoll helps teachers like herself, too.
“He has really influenced me and made me a better teacher,” she said, noting that he helps educators “to not lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
“He’s so gifted in bringing out what’s best in everyone,” she noted. “He’ll bring that to the brothers. He’ll remind them that each one of them are valuable — no matter what stage of life they’re in.”
Brother Driscoll will be leading 195 Xaverian Brothers living in the U.S., Belgium, Congo, Kenya, Haiti, Lithuania, Bolivia and Mexico.
The congregation was founded in Belgium in 1839 and its brothers came to Louisville soon after, in 1854, to establish St. X.
The majority of brothers — 145 of them — live in the U.S. The congregation sponsors 13 schools in this country, including St. X and Nativity Academy at St. Boniface. Currently 12 brothers live in a home on the St. X campus and two brothers serve at St. X.
The next largest concentration of brothers is in Africa with 42 brothers. Most of them are young and many are still in formation, said Brother Driscoll. They operate six schools in Congo, where 30 brothers live, and one in Kenya, where a dozen Xaverians live.
“The growth area is in Africa,” Brother Driscoll said, adding that one of his goals is to ensure that these young men are “well-formed.”
He also said it will be important for the congregation to prepare for the future. To that end, he’s hoping the congregation will successfully revive a lay associate program that invites lay people to join the brothers in ministry.
Brother Driscoll, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., said he thinks his time at St. X has prepared him for this new role.
He came to St. X as a teacher in 1968, a time when the campus had about 40 Xaverians in residence. He also served as a retreat director and was described in an announcement from the school as being “instrumental” in developing the school’s Christian Awakening Retreat.
He became principal for the first time in 1980 for a 13-year term. He spent six years after that directing an education program in Bolivia. He returned to St. X in 2001 to teach, and later served as a guidance counselor. He served as principal again from 2008 to 2012. He is the school’s longest serving principal with a total of 17 years at the helm. He currently serves as the director of learning resources.