Brother Conan Houy, O.S.F.
rother Conan (Andrew J. Houy), son of Rosalia and Andrew Houy, was born on March 7, 1932 in Wheeling, West Virginia. Several years later his parents moved to Dearborn, Michigan where they enrolled him in the parish school of Sacred Heart. Here the nuns teaching the upper grades noted his appreciation for good music and in time recommended him for a scholarship to the Cardinal Mooney Palestrina Institute of Music in Detroit. This fortunate happening enabled him to further his knowledge of an appreciation for music, sacred as well as secular, classical as well as popular, and choral as well as instrumental. It was here too, that he developed his talent for playing the piano. But it was the parish organist, who, observing his interest in church music voluntarily taught him to play the organ. In 1948, Brother Conan, as young Andrew Houy entered St. Anthony's Juniorate, Smithtown. Following his graduation in 1951, he entered the postulate at St. Francis Novitiate, Wyandanch, Long Island. Six months later on February 3, 1952, he was clothed in the habit of the Franciscan Order and began his novitiate. On January 24, 1954, he was pronounced his first vows for three years and his perpetual vows on January 24, 1957 He acquired his B.A. Degree from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, in 1960 and his M.A. in German from New York University in 1964. During an intervening summer he studied methodology in teaching German at the University of Wurzburg, Germany. As a religious teacher, Brother Conan taught in the following schools: St. Joseph's, Babylon, St. Brigid's, Brooklyn, St. Anthony High School, Smithtown, Mary Louis Academy, Jamaica, and St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows. During the General Chapter of Elections held in May 1970, Brother Conan was elected by the Brothers to the Office of Gerneral Consultor for a term of three years. At the same time, he was elected Secretary General by the Superior General and his fellow consultors.At the time of his death, March 12, 1975, Brother Conan was teaching Religion at St. Francis Prep while serving after school and on weekends as a member of the staff of St. Francis Center at Upper Brookville where he resided and from which he commuted each school day. In a letter to Sister Alta Maria Keppel, C.S.J., Director of the St. Francis Prep Glee Club, dated June 11, 1975. Brother Conan's mother, Mrs. Houy, thanked Sister, the glee club, and all associated with it for dedicating their Spring Concert to the memory of her son, Brother Conan, and for their thoughtful kindness in sending her and her family a taped recording of the recital. As an aside reflection, Mrs. Houy remarked how very much Brother Conan loved choral music, and as well, quiet, harmonious environs like Upper Brookville where he could take long walks, perhaps the better to meditate on his personal values and to communicate with his God. Paradoxical though it may seem, it was by his daily retreat to the quiet, serene atmosphere of Upper Brookville that Brother Conan became one of the most involved Brothers. For it was in this wholesome atmosphere through prayer and meditation that he strengthened the ties and bonds which united him with his confreres, students, loved ones, and fellowmen in accordance with the tradition that had formed him as a Christian and a Brother.