Part VII: Divisions & Re-founding
The impasse that separated the original community was formalized by a legal division of property among three groups, the Benedictines, the Sisters of Saint Ann’s House and our community. It was at this time that our re-founding took place – with Father Feeney’s blessing – under Brother Hugh MacIsaac. The smallest parcel of land was allotted to us on which a house was established for the Brothers under Brother Hugh and one for the Sisters under Sister Marie Louise.
Overcoming great obstacles, Brother Hugh did everything in his power to perpetuate the original charism and apostolic work of the community. In 1976, he began to republish From the Housetops magazine, keeping the initial evangelizing spirit of the Center alive. The impressive leadership and spiritual guidance of Brother Hugh was monumental and about 10 new members joined that same year. The community was able to acquire property close-by where our chapel was built and Immaculate Heart of Mary School was started.
Father Feeney remained in residence with the Benedictines during his last years. Having fought the good fight, the deeply revered and loved defender of the faith died on January 30, 1978. The same year Brother Hugh was diagnosed with terminal cancer and on July 11, 1979, he was called home to God, after having set in motion in three short years, a foundation and spirit that reflected the charism of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Brother Thomas Augustine Dalton was then elected the superior to succeed Brother Hugh.
Unfortunately, three years after the election of Brother Thomas Augustine as the new superior, some of the older members contested his authority and asked him to step down. Voting members of the community were consulted, as he was willing to relinquish his position for the sake of peace. But the voting members re-affirmed their choice. Brother Francis Maluf, an original member of Saint Benedict Center, then initiated a civil law suit to acquire superiorship. The court action lasted five humiliating years, ending in a negative verdict for Brother Francis, who subsequently left with four followers and established a community in New Hampshire.