Brother Francis Maluf, M.I.C.M., (July 19, 1913 – September 05, 2009) Founding member of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Superior of Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, Philosopher, College Professor, and published author died on Saturday, September 5, at the age of 96.
Fakhri Boutros Maluf (his name before entering religion) was born in the town of Mashrah, Lebanon, about thirty miles from Beirut, in 1913. His father, Boutros Maluf, was an educational pioneer in Lebanon, and young Fakhri was educated at a school for poor children run out of the Maluf home. He would later teach there.
Fakhri graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics. From 1934 to 1939, he taught physics at that same University. In addition to his academic career, Fakhri was also involved in Lebanese statecraft, being the philosopher, and later president, of the Syrian National Party. He was, during this time, a friend, disciple, and associate of Dr. Charles Malik, the noted Lebanese philosopher and diplomat.
In 1939, he moved to the United States to attend the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he received first an M.A. and, in 1942, a Ph.D. in philosophy. He then undertook post-doctoral studies at Harvard University and Saint Bonaventure University.
From 1942 to 1945, Dr. Maluf taught mathematics and science at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. From 1945 to 1949, he taught philosophy, theology, and mathematics at Boston College. In 1942, the young professor met Father Leonard Feeney, S.J., and soon became involved in the activities of Saint Benedict Center, a Catholic center operating in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Dr. Maluf married Mary Healy, of Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1943.
In 1949, Dr. Maluf became one of the pioneer members of Father Leonard Feeney’s religious Order, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As has happened in rare cases in the Church’s history, by mutual consent, both Dr. Maluf and Mrs. Maluf took religious vows and lived separately in the monastery and convent, where they were known respectively as Brother Francis and Sister Mary Bernadette. Both participated in the publishing and missionary work of the fledgling Congregation.
For the rest of his life, until overtaken by illness while in his 90s, Brother Francis taught Sacred Scripture, philosophy, theology, science, and mathematics at various levels. For almost twenty years he was the Superior of Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, teaching in the Center’s High school, overseeing the Saint Augustine Institute of Catholic Studies, and the Center’s publishing apostolate. He authored four published books of poetry and philosophy, published scores of articles on various Catholic subjects, and gave thousands of lectures, many of which were taped and professionally produced. He has also left to posterity many notes for future volumes.
Besides his philosophical and poetical wisdom, Brother Francis was well known for his memory. He memorized all four Gospels, being able to recite the entirety of Matthew, Luke, and John each in Latin, and Saint Mark in Greek. He could name all the popes from Saint Peter to the present, and had numerous other lists of persons, dates, and facts equally at his command. But he was best known as a teacher.
On July 19, 2009, Brother Francis marked his 96th birthday. Although his Order is of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, Brother Francis is a Melkite Rite (Byzantine) Catholic.
Brother Francis is survived by Sister Mary Bernadette Maluf, M.I.C.M., of Richmond, N.H.; by his children, Mariam Maluf of Leominster, MA., Peter Maluf, of Worcester, MA., Leonard Maluf, of Leominster, MA., Sister Anna Maria Maluf, M.I.C.M., of Vienna, OH, and Agnes Malouf-Hood of Halifax, Nova Scotia; and by one grand-daughter, July Anne O’Brien, of Los Angeles, CA. The religious Brothers and Sisters at Saint Benedict Center also regard him as their Father in God, and will mourn him accordingly.
Brother Francis will be waked in the chapel of Saint Benedict Center on Martin Road in Richmond, New Hampshire on Wednesday, September 9 from 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM.
The funeral will be a sung Requiem Mass in the traditional Latin Rite, offered by the Very Reverend Father Daniel O. Lamothe at Saint Margaret Mary Church in Keene. The Mass will be Thursday, September 10, at 11:00 AM.