‘What does love look like?’

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The following article by Maryknoll Bishop Edward A. McGurkin appeared in the October 1979 issue of Maryknoll magazine. 

Bishop McGurkin pays tribute to the late Brother Aloysius, who joined Maryknoll in 1916

One of the kindest, gentlest, most saintly men I have ever known had the same first name as my middle name-Aloysius. Sometimes I thought that was why I had such a deep affection for him but it was much more than that because everyone else loved him too. During his life at Maryknoll, Brother Aloysius Moliner bore the perfect witness of an authentic disciple. With deepest gratitude and reverence, he accepted God’s offer to share in His own divine life. In his daily round of tasks his motive was always apparent: to bring affection and friendship to everyone he met. To the command of Christ to love one another, he gave full-hearted assent and ac­tion, day after day. He was a Maryknoll Brother for 62 years.


Maryknoll Brother Aloysius

Br. Aloysius, courtesy of Maryknoll Mission Archives


Several months ago, Brother Aloysius slipped away from us in the same lovely manner in which he did everything-quietly, unob­trusively, almost apologetically, causing neither trouble nor con­cern for anyone. It was about eight o’clock in the evening and Brother Al had left the Seminary dining room in his wheelchair and re­turned to his room. He read for a while from his missal or the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, put the book back on the table, closed his eyes and the next mo­ment he was in the joyful presence of his God. He was 89.

One of the older Brothers told me this story about Aloysius when he was a young and vigorous man: That day each year when the over­seas mission assignments were announced was for Brother Al a day that began with great expecta­tions and ended in deep disap­pointment. He would listen care­fully, an excited expression on his usually calm face, hoping to hear his name on the list. When the reading was finished and his name had not been mentioned, he would slip away quietly, say his Rosary and open his heart to his Mother of Sorrows.


Maryknoll Brother Aloysius

Br. Aloysius, image courtesy of Maryknoll Mission Archives


I have never known a man with such humility. He would come to my room occasionally, about once a month. Usually, he brought me a little gift, probably something that had been given to him by a friend or admirer for he spent little of his modest personal allowance, send­ing most of it to the missions. I always had to reassure him that he was not disturbing me and he kept his visits very short.

Before leav­ing, he would kneel and ask me for my blessing. Whenever I asked for his blessing in return, he would be terribly embarrassed. He thought that was just about the funniest thing he ever heard. But I would kneel before him, take his hands and place them on my head. I knew I was getting the blessing of a saint. Saint Augustine, in one of his homilies, asks this question:

“What does love look like?”

I don’t recall just how Augustine answered his own question but while Brother Aloysius was with us, we at Maryknoll had the an­swer:

“Do you want to know what love looks like? Watch Brother Al as he goes about his day-kindly, helpful, humble, serving everyone with the exquisite grace of the per­fect gentleman. This is what love looks like.”


Maryknoll Brother Aloysius, Farm 1925


Featured, Maryknoll Brothers with Fr. Thompson, 1917. Photo courtesy of Maryknoll Mission Archives.

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