Walsh to Host Memorial Mass and Tribute Luncheon for Brother Francis Blouin, Feb. 6


School News

The Walsh University community mourns the loss of its third President, Brother Francis Blouin, who passed into the loving arms of the Lord on Saturday, January 21, 2017, from complications due to ALS.

A Memorial Mass and Tribute Luncheon honoring the Life & Legacy of Brother Francis will be held on Monday, February 6, 2017, with Mass at 11:30 a.m. in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel. A Tribute Luncheon will follow at 12:30 p.m., in the Barrette Business and Community Center. R.S.V.P. by February 2 to Christine Lawton at or 330-490-7111.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory can be made to the Br. Francis Blouin, FIC, Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund. Donations can be made online here or mailed to Walsh University, Office of Advancement, 2020 East Maple Street, North Canton, Ohio, 44720 (Attn: Br. Francis Blouin, FIC, Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund)

Since joining the Brothers of Christian Instruction in 1946, Br. Francis gave his life without hesitation to education and social justice. Among his many accomplishments during his tenure as Walsh’s third president, Br. Francis was responsible for bringing five Nobel Peace Prize winners to campus, including Willy Brandt in 1983, Elie Wiesel in 1987, Adolfo Perez Esquival in 1986, Coretta Scott King representing her husband Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1986 and, most notably, Mother Teresa in 1982.  After fourteen years as Walsh’s president, Br. Francis retired in 1992 and spent the majority of his time in Africa serving as the Director of the Kisubi Brothers University Centre, in Kisubi, and participating in countless initiatives to bring higher education to the people of Africa.

Br. Francis Blouin was born February 9, 1929, in Rumford, Maine, to his father Raoul Blouin, and his mother Marie (Leblanc). Br. Francis joined the Brothers of Christian Instruction in 1946. He earned his bachelor's degree in History from La Mennais College, a master’s degree in European History from the Catholic University of America, his Ph.D. in Theology from Fordham University, and completed additional graduate studies at Notre Dame University, the University of Detroit and Highlands College in England.

In total, he dedicated more than 60 years of his life to education from 1949 to 2012, serving in various roles as a teacher, guidance counselor and administrator.  Br. Francis began his teaching career in Fall River, Massachusetts, at Msgr. Prevost High School teaching secondary school classes from 1950-1954.  He later taught in Plattsburgh, New York, from 1954-1960 before he became a principal at St. Ignatius High School in Sanford, Maine, (1960-1961) and Mount Assumption High School in Plattsburgh (1962-1970).

Br. Francis Blouin joined Walsh as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, a position he held from 1970-1976. Br. Francis Blouin was appointed Walsh University's third president in 1978, a position he held until his retirement in 1992.

He has also served as Superior of the American Province of the Brothers of Christian Instruction from 1970-76 and again from 1994-2000. While Provincial Superior, Br. Francis Blouin served as the secretary-treasurer of the New England Conference of Religious Superiors from 1970-1973. He was appointed President of the Coalition to End Homelessness from 2000-2002 and served as the President of Maine Council of Churches from 2001-2004.

Throughout his life, Br. Francis held membership in a variety of local organizations including St. John Villa Board of Trustees, Central Catholic High School Board of Trustees, Stark Development Board, Time Wasters Organization, Doctors Hospital Advisory Board, North Canton T.A.P., Canton Rotary Club, Timken Scholarship Committee, Canton Chamber of Commerce, Hoover Museum Historical Board. He also served as a Trustee of Leadership in Canton, Ohio, and as Chairman of Sangre de Cristo Renewal Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition, Br. Francis served as Delegate to International Conference of Religious Superiors, Bogota, Columbia, and American Representative to International Conference of FICs.

In 2003, he became Director of the Kisubi Brothers Centre, a constituent college of Uganda Martyrs University, and was a Founding Member of Kisubi Brothers University College. On February 6, 2012, the Brother Francis Blouin Academic Centre Building was formally dedicated in his honor at the Kisubi Brothers University.

Brother Francis was honored with the Walsh Founders’ Award in 2012. The Founders' Award was established in 1985 and is awarded to those who have achieved national stature by illustrating in their lives the same ideals that inspired the venerable Father John de La Mennais and Father Gabriel Deshayes in founding the Brothers of Christian Instruction. These ideals are faith in God, fidelity to the Catholic Church, active concern for Christian education, dedication to authentic social justice and courageous promotion of human welfare especially among those less fortunate and disenfranchised. Most recently, he served as the Honorary Chair of the We Believe Campaign for Walsh University.

The legacy of Br. Francis recently inspired the formation of two of Walsh’s newest service learning groups dedicated to continuing his humanitarian work globally and locally, the Br. Francis Blouin Global Scholars in 2012 and The Blouin Leaders in Social Justice in 2013. His faith in God, fidelity to the Catholic Church, active concern for Christian education, dedication to authentic social justice, and courageous promotion of human welfare, especially among the less fortunate and disenfranchised are a testament to his legacy and an inspiration to future generations of servant leaders.

He was preceded in death by his brothers Louis and Jean Paul and sister Alice Theriault. He will be greatly missed by his grateful confreres among the Brothers of Christian Instruction in the U.S., Canada and Uganda, and by his surviving siblings Rita Brodeur and Gloria Bernard of Maine, Raymonde of Rhode Island and by many nieces and nephews.

Eternal rest grant to Br. Francis, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.