Brother Luke Salm, F.S.C., professor emeritus of religious studies and a beloved member of the Manhattan College community for more than a half century, passed away on Monday. He was 88.
Salm was a past president of the Catholic Theological Society and delegate to the 39th, 40th, 41st and 42nd General Chapters of the De La Salle Christian Brothers. A native of Albany, N.Y., he graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in that city and received his bachelor’s, master’s and a licentiate in theology from The Catholic University of America.
A member of Manhattan’s faculty since 1955, Salm also taught at Maryknoll Seminary, St. Mary’s College in California, and De La Salle College in Washington, D.C. He began his teaching career at La Salle Academy in New York City in 1945. A prolific writer, Salm served for 10 years as the editor of Proceedings of the Catholic Theological Society of America and Proceedings of the Society of Catholic College Teachers of Sacred Doctrine.
In addition to numerous articles on theology and religious life, he authored 10 books, most of them dealing with the history of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, including the biography of the founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, entitled The Work is Yours: The Life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle.
In retirement, Salm served as the archivist for the De La Salle Christian Brothers archives of the New York District.
A wake will be held on Friday, Sept. 4 from 3:00-9:00 p.m and a funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 9:30 a.m. in Manhattan College’s Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers. Internment will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y.
Born John Francis Salm on April 26, 1921 as the first of eight children to John and Elizabeth, Salm graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in 1938 before entering the Brothers of the Christian Schools in 1940.
After becoming the first religious Brother and non-cleric to earn a Doctorate in Theology from the Catholic University of American in 1955, he was sent to Manhattan College to reorganize the religion department. Teaching within the new liberal arts program, he injected theology into the curriculum and developed new courses on dogmatic theology. He eventually went on to serve as chairman of the theology/religious studies department from 1962-1970 and as director of the graduate theology program from 1970-1978.
With his esteemed status as the ranking Brother theologian, Salm was elected to represent the New York Province at the 39th General Chapter, the “renewal” chapter called for by Vatican II and held in Rome in 1966 and 1967. He was re-elected to the 1976, 1986 and 1993 chapters.
Salm was awarded honorary degrees from La Salle University, St. Mary’s College and Lewis University. His other honors include the National Assembly of Religious Brother’s Proclaimer Award, which he received in 1986, and the Manhattan College Trustee’s Teacher Scholar Award in 1983.
A member of the Manhattan College board of trustees and board of directors of the Liturgical Conference, Salm also served eight years as treasurer of the Council on the Study of Religion. He was a member of the International Committee on Vows and the International Committee for the Redaction of the Rule of the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
Salm is survived by his sisters, Teresa Austin, Alice Moore, Cecilia (Honey) O’Leary; a brother, Marcus Salm; and many nieces and nephews.