Brother Brian Henderson was born in 1959 and grew up in Southwest Philadelphia. He graduated from West Catholic High School for Boys in 1977 and La Salle University with a B.A. in Religion and Psychology in 1981, and later earned a Masters Degree in Pastoral Studies in 1992. He has been a De La Salle Christian Brother since 1979, taking final vows in 1987. All of Brother Brian’s apostolic assignments have placed him serving inner city youth. His first assignment was as a youth care worker and religion teacher at Saint Gabriel’s Hall in Audubon, PA, a residential treatment facility for court referred teenagers. From 1984 to 1988, Brother Brian taught full time and moderated numerous programs at West Catholic High School, his alma mater. He then spent the next 10 years in Baltimore, Maryland, first as a religion teacher and Dean of Students, and then as Assistant Principal at Saint Frances Academy, the oldest African-American Catholic High School in the country. While in Baltimore, he earned a Masters of Education in Administration from Loyola College. In 1998, Brother Brian returned to Saint Gabriel’s Hall as Residential Director and Assistant Director, and has recently completed twelve years as Director (2001-2013). He currently serves the Brothers of the Christian Schools within the District of Eastern North America (DENA) in providing accompaniment of Young Lasallian Professionals, hoping to form the next generation of forever Lasallians; both brothers and lay partners, committed to “making this world a more humane, respectful, and dignified place to live.”
Brother Brian has also worked with the Lasallian Volunteer Program since 2001, facilitating their annual spring weekend debriefing retreat, and received their Brother John Johnston Faith Award in 2014 for his generous service and support. He has received awards for service from West Catholic, Saint Frances Academy, and the Knights of Columbus, and has served on numerous Catholic school boards throughout his professional career. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for La Salle University.
In this interview, Brother Brian was very forthright about his early experiences growing up in Philadelphia, and his unique perspective as an African-American Christian Brother. I think this interview will be useful to those interested in the history of Philadelphia neighborhoods, Catholic education and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the vocation of De La Salle Christian Brothers, particularly how they have changed or compare to other religious orders in recent years (ca. 1965 to present day), and issues of race and human respect in general.
Henderson, Brian F.S.C. and Oviedo, Rebecca, "Interview of Brian Henderson, F.S.C., M.A." (2015). All Oral Histories. 86.
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