BROTHER DANIEL (MARTIN) SCHOTT, CSC  (1875-1943)

FIRST PRINCIPAL OF REITZ MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL

“In the fall of 1937, a noted Russian basso died suddenly, and Brother Daniel asked a curious question: ‘I wonder if God will ask Chaliapin to sing in heaven?’ The question was both thoughtful and provocative. On July 18 of this year [1943] Brother Daniel died, and one of his associates wondered sincerely if God would ask Brother ‘Dan’ about that ‘old blue coat.’ Brother Dan was very fond of this coat; in fact, he never felt better dressed than when he wore it.  ‘It’s a good one,’ he would say. ‘Brother Marcellinus [Kinsella] only had it a short time when he gave it to me.’ But people who never concern themselves with anniversaries could never appreciate the fact that Brother Marcellinus had been dead now for more than a quarter of a century.  Brother Daniel would take the coat off, puff a little, and enumerate the people he had met on his way back from town.  But there was never a mention of the street car tokens that he had never had occasion to use even after his rheumatism and he had become friends of long standing.  It was other people that Brother Daniel liked to speak about.  No one, he thought, was interested in what concerned himself.  And this caused his superiors a little inconvenience the day that his obituary was to be written: no one knew for certain the name of the city in Germany where he was born. Then, from the tomb of oblivion, came the guess that the city was Hanover. Well, the year was 1875; the date October 29.

“Poverty, humility, and two hours a day before the Blessed Sacrament are only a partial portrait of Brother ‘Dan.’ Justice and prudence complete the picture.  Twenty years ago, when he was getting ready to die of a kidney infection, he summoned the steward of the house to his ‘deathbed’ and bade him bring the unpaid bills and the checkbook.  In vain the steward persuaded him to composure as befitted the last moments of a good Christian. But Brother ‘Dan’ was adamant: ‘The butcher and the grocer have their rent to pay,’ he said; ‘besides, if we want the usual discount, we must get these checks into the mail before the 10th of the month.’

“Teachers no longer glory in the honorable title of schoolmaster, but Brother Daniel was, and remained, a schoolmaster until the day of his death.  His death marked the passing of another one of those exceptional teachers who possess genuine and rare characteristics, intense knowledge and love of the studies they teach [Latin], deep interest in and understanding of youth, a compelling force which cannot tolerate mediocre accomplishment, and an inspirational drive which induces high school students to make efforts when the subject matter seemingly has no significance. 


“He entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1889 and his first teaching assignment was at St. Joseph’s College, Cincinnati.  Later, he was assigned to Central Catholic H.S. in Fort Wayne, IN first as a teacher and later as principal.  He was transferred to Reitz Memorial H.S. in Evansville, IN in 1925, where he served as [the first] principal, vice principal or teacher until the time of his death.” (The Association of St. Joseph, 1943, no author.)

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