On November 14th, over 100 Stanners and friends gathered on Zoom to honor the memory of the late Br. Leo Richard, FMS, and past counselors of the SMILE program who are no longer with us. 2020 marks 25 years since Br. Leo’s passing. The idea to host an event honoring the legacy of the beloved SMILE founder was first conceived by Br. Dan O’Riordan ’85. After mentioning the idea in passing to current SMILE moderator Mr. Chris Dougherty ’91, there was no way the event wouldn’t happen!
The Virtual Remembrance of Br. Leo was initially planned for June, but the pandemic pushed those plans back. Fortunately, Zoom allowed perhaps even more members of our community to gather virtually from across the country. Those who attended represented each decade of graduates from the 1960s all the way to the 2020s. Those who attended were a blend of past and present SMILE and Peer Group participants, counselors, PGLs (Peer Group Leaders), and members of the Morris family (Br. Leo’s family). Other special guests included Msgr. Ed Doran, Br. Dan, Richard Lally, Br. James Norton ’63, Ray DiStephan ’87, Joe Egan ’89, and Jim Kinnier.
The event included an opening prayer led by Msgr. Doran, a reflection and presentation led by Br. Dan, a virtual guided tour of SMILE locations around Molloy led by Mr. Dougherty, and breakout rooms that allowed generations of Stanners to discuss the legacy of Br. Leo and what SMILE means to them. And of course, as with all past SMILE events, all participants were encouraged to secure a slice from their favorite local pizzeria. Mr. Dougherty made sure to have an Alba’s pizza in The Cave, noting that Alba’s was a Br. Leo’s favorite spot.
“Seeing the Morris family and friends, and Molloy alumni from New England to Las Vegas, and from Kentucky to Ontario, just added so much to this amazing celebration of the life and legacy of Br. Leo Richard,” said Mr. Dougherty.
Guidance counselor Ashley Callagy ’05 shared her reaction to the event. “It was very special. I’m so honored to have been part of it, as well as this great work that continues. As our breakout room said, Br. Leo is still at Molloy, and in other schools, and on the beach, and all around.” College Guidance Counselor Mr. Ted McGuinness ’81 shared something interesting after the event. “I recently uncovered 10 Laws of Self-Esteem, which is a document put together by Br. Leo with Dr. Davis. I am pleased to share it with all who attended the event, and those who couldn’t, via the Virtual SMILE Museum.” You can download the 10 Laws of Self-Esteem by clicking the blue button below to visit the SMILE Museum.
THANK YOU to everyone who attended the event, as well as to all SMILE and Peer Group alumni everywhere. Please know that the good work of Br. Leo and all past SMILE counselors continues each day on Manton Street with every new generation of counselors and PGLs.
Note: We plan to upload the event to Youtube, however it requires some fine-tuning before it is ready! We hope to have it uploaded by the release of our next Beehive. In the meantime, you can watch the guided tour led by Mr. Dougherty in the video player below. Thank you for your patience!