Brother Michael Fehrenbach, FSC (’69)
“I was at CBC during the turbulent times of the Civil Rights Movement and was deeply impacted by the struggle for equality and equity. The assassination of Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. took place during my junior year at CBC. Life hasn’t been the same, and the struggle for justice has been part of my life since.”
Brother Michael Fehrenbach was a student at Christian Brothers College (now University) from 1966 to 1969 and earned a BA in Philosophy/Theology with a minor in English. In addition, he earned two Master Degrees: one in Educational Counseling from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the other in Pastoral Studies from Loyola New Orleans, Louisiana.
Upon graduation from CBC, Brother Michael served from 1969 to 1973 at Rummel High School in Omaha, Nebraska. From 1973 to 1977, he was based in St. Louis as vocation recruiter for the Brothers. For the next 18 years, from 1977 to 1995, he lived in Kansas City, Missouri, where he worked as a counselor at De La Salle Education Center, an alternative school for drop outs and court adjudicated youth; as Director of the Refugee Resettlement Office (Diocese of KC-St. Joseph, MO); as Director of the Peace and Justice Office (Diocese of KC-St. Joseph); as Director of the Family Life Office (Diocese of KC-St. Joseph); and as a teacher in the Center for Pastoral Life and Ministry (Diocese of KC-St. Joseph), where he and his colleagues initiated the New Wine program, a three-year training process for lay ministers in the Church. At the time, the Diocese had 27 counties, 90 Diocesan priests, and one Catholic per three square miles in the rural areas where lay ministry was critical.
One of the most influential faculty members during my tenure as a student at CBC was James McGinnis. Jim was our philosophy teacher and was highly influential because he brought philosophy out of the textbooks and into real life as we discussed the struggles of the Black community in a white, male, privileged society. Jim made us think and feel. He taught us how philosophy has something to do with real living. I loved those classes in the 1968 academic year.
From 1995 to 2001, Brother Michael served as Auxiliary Provincial Visitor of the Midwest District of the Christian Brothers, and from 2001 to 2002, he did doctoral work in Spirituality in Oakland, California. From 2002 until 2006, he served as COO of the San Miguel School in Chicago and served as co-founder of Catalyst Schools (Lasallian Charter Schools) in Chicago from 2006 to 2012. It was during these years that Brother Michael wrote a book on how Lasallian values could be incorporated in a public school. In addition, he also served as the coordinator of lay formation for the Midwest District between 2012 and 2019. On July 1, 2019, Brother Michael became Provincial Visitor of the Midwest District of the Christian Brothers.