The second small window in the Marble Chapel inscribes Father Michael Browne, the 81st Master General of the Order of Preachers. I suspect his inclusion in the Marble Chapel was not part of the original plan, considering the St. Rose Priory began construction in 1954 shortly after Father Suarez died and completed in 1955, shortly after Father Browne was appointed his replacement. But I could be wrong. I can’t find any records that discuss the plan for the stained glass windows, so who knows? In any event, let’s learn a bit about Ireland’s own Father Michael Browne.
A Long Way from Tipperary
Michael Browne was born on May 6, 1887, at Grangemockler, County Tipperary, Ireland. After graduating Rockwell College in Tipperary at the age of 16, Browne began his Dominican studies at the Dominican Novitiate in Tallaght, County Dublin in September, 1903. Four years of philosophy and theology training later, Browne went to Rome to complete two more years of study, whereupon he was ordained May 21, 1910.
Browne’s academic career continued to flourish, with awards and lectureships in Fribourg in Switzerland, eventually returning home to teach at Tallaght.
Five years later, at the close of World War I, Browne returned to Rome and the Angelicum, teaching at the same time as Father Suarez. From 1919 to 1932, Michael Browne taught logic, metaphysics, the history of philosophy, and sacred theology. During his tenure, he received many further positions, titles, and roles throughout Rome beyond the Angelicum.
Two Masters (in a good way)
Father Browne’s long history of faithfulness to the Catholic Church spiritually and intellectually saw great reward in the ’50s. On January 13, 1951, Pope Pius XII appointed the Most Reverend Michael Browne as the Master of the Sacred Palace, one of the most important roles in the Catholic Church. Effectively, the Master of the Sacred Palace (the title is now called “Theologian to the Papal Household”) is the pope’s personal theological advisor. Additionally, all authors who wished to have a religious book published in Rome had to receive approval from the Master of the Sacred Palace. To this day, the holder of this role is held in high esteem.
Four years later, Father Browne was appointed Master General of the Order of Preachers, the first Master General from an English-speaking country. He remained Master General until 1962, when Pope John XXIII elevated him to Cardinal-Deacon and then Bishop by April 1962.
Cardinal Browne, along with many of his colleagues, attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962-1965, though he disagreed with many of the reforms of that Council. Still faithful despite his disagreements, Cardinal Browne remained in Rome. He was one of the cardinal electors in the 1963 papal conclave that selected Pope Paul VI. Browne served the church as Cardinal Protodeacon until his death March 31, 1971 at the age of 83. He is buried in Tallaght, County Dublin, Ireland.
His small window in the chapel bears an image of the crucified Savior, and underneath is Browne’s motto, Viae tuae veritas, something like “the roads are truth.” The shield to the left of the window is the shield of the Domican Order, and the shield to the right is Browne’s family coat of arms.
“Master of the Sacred Palace.” Vatican.com. 18 May 2018. https://vatican.com/Master-of-the-Sacred-Palace/. Accessed 3 June 2020.
“The Most Reverend Michael Browne, O.P., Eighty-First Master General.” Dominicana. Vol. 40, no. 2. https://www.dominicanajournal.org/wp-content/files/old-journal-archive/vol40/no2/dominicanav40n2mostreverendmichaelbrowneop.pdf
Wikipedia contributors. “Michael Browne (cardinal).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 May. 2020. Web. 3 Jun. 2020.