Brother Alois O’Toole was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1915 into a family that nurtured in him a desire to serve God. He graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and then earned a Master’s degree from Fordham University. Thus prepared by a solid education, he began what would be 50 years of classroom teaching, writing projects, and mission work, all through his service in the religious congregation of the Brothers of St. Francis Xavier. Highly qualified in the fields of French and Spanish, Brother Alois must have been pleased to research the life and work of a French-American missionary like Fr. Gabriel Richard.
At the time of writing this biography on Fr. Richard, Brother Alois was teaching at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York. Later on in his career as a Brother he would spend 17 years in East Africa. When that period of his life came to an end—a time of learning as much as teaching—he wrote a well-received and often witty memoir of his experiences called An Echo in My Heart.
Brother Alois spent the last eight years of a long and generous life in Florida until his death in 2006. He was remembered by many friends for his “wonderful spirit and great sense of humor.”