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Ruch, Louis (Christopher Lewis FSC)

 Record Group — Box: 1-6
Identifier: NY-409-4201

Dates

  • Other: All Dates

Biographical / Historical

Louie was born on February 17, 1931 of Helen and Emil Ruch in Detroit, Michigan. He was the youngest of 9 children. He is survived by his brother, Emil, his sister, Marge, numerous nephews, nieces, grand nephews, and grand nieces. Louie made his novitiate in Barrytown, New York during the 1953-1954 school year and graduated from Catholic University in Washington in 1958. He started teaching at Sacred Heart Elementary School in September of that year. It was during his time at Sacred Heart that he was adopted by the Egan family or he adopted the Egan Family. I did not get to know Louie until September, 1970 when I arrived in Ethiopia. I remember visiting him in the Old Novitiate in Addis Ababa where he was living while the New Novitiate was under construction. I was shocked at visiting th house. He was living in a very damp mud house on the side of a hill above a river. I kept asking myself how he could live in a house like that; It was rather primitive by U. S. standards. Louie was an artist who liked nice things and could make things look beautiful but he was a Brothe who could live in the simplest of surroundings. But no matter where he lived he seemed to make the house niver and the community beter. He had a great love for his students whether it was in New York, Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, or Asmara. And his students returned that love. He ws a craftsman in wood, plastic, paint, decorating, and in celebrating life. It was amazing what his crippled hands could do. He had a great sense of humor that sometimes tended toward the earthy or raunchy side. He loved a party... He was also a man with a deep prayer life. He did not hide his light under a bushl but let it shine to brighten all of our lives. His laugh was infectious and he made so many of us laugh when life got hard. He was generous with his time and with his talent. I can remember him making a ping pong table for some Sisters who worked at a Mission Hospital about three hours outside of Addis Ababa and then getting me to go with him to deliver and assemble to table. He overflowed with life and love. I can remember him suffering with a Brother who was having a breakdown and how Louie brought him home to the United States. And for better or for worse he could get you to o things that the little voice in the back of your head kept telling you, this is crazy: you can not drive a couple of hundred miles on a 100cc bike. But we did do it and we did it with only minor mishaps and injuries. As time wne ton and as his body more and more limited what he could do, he grew spiritually. I believe his life was a spiritual journey right up to the end. This was attested to by his devotion to prayer, and his loyalty to the Saturday evening prayer group. If you look at Louie's life from Sacred Heart School and St. Augustine's School in New York, to St. Joseph School, Nativity Mission School, Bistrate Gabriel School, Abuna Endreas School, Formation for the young Brothers in Asmara and keren you can see the option for the poor being exercised. And when you look at his life when he left Ethiopia and Eritrea and returned to the United States after 16 years, you can see again his option for the poor and marginalized in his work at the La Salle School in Albany, AIDS Ministry, College Counselor at La Salle Academy and finally as Overseas Mission Coordinator for the New York District. Louie loved New York, his adopted city. Some people like to visit this city but he loved to live and travel in it. He was a New Yorker. He was an active Spiritual Director for several Franciscan Seminarians and for an Episcopal Priest and I want to relate to you a story from his days in AIDS ministry. Now, I do not know how many of you knew that he had two women under his bed. He confided that secret to me several years ago. From what I understand it was a mother and daughter situation. I am not sure which one died first but they both died of AIDS. They were his AIDS patients. From what he told me I understood that when the first one died she was cremated and he agreed to keep her ashes until the other one died. The Other one died and she was cremated and again Louie got the ashes. But for some reason he never got rid of the ashes and they stayed under his bed in his room along with all the other things he had collected, including a shrunken head that he had on his windowsill. For a long time he was a bicycle rider but in time he moved from his bicycle ot a scooter. Louie was a man who loved and enjoyed helping people. - Exerpts and mostly full passsages taken from a euology given at Br. Louis's funeral by an unspecified friend

Extent

1.25 Linear Feet (1 document box (5"), 1 document box (2.5"), 4 flat boxes)

Repository Details

Part of the De La Salle Christian Brothers Archives of the New York District Repository

Contact:
O'Malley Library, Room 200
4513 Manhattan College Parkway
Riverdale New York 10471
718-862-7139