Alphonsus Pluth, FSC
Br. Alphonsus Pluth was one of the pioneers in catechetics, breaking new ground as a Christian Brother, an author, an editor, a printer, and a publisher.
Brother Alphonsus, while at De La Salle High School (Minneapolis, Minnesota), purchased a used printing press in 1947. Operating on a shoestring budget in a back room and with little affirmation, he composed the first in a series of high school texts, Living with Christ, based on lesson plans submitted by the Brothers.
In 1954, he and his press moved into a former laundry room in a basement at Saint Mary's University (Winona, Minnesota). As sub-director of the student brothers' community, Brother Alphonsus had the young brothers prepare for publication the revised lesson plans submitted by high school teachers.
Saint Mary's Press moved into its own building in 1967. Brother Alphonsus directed Saint Mary's Press until his retirement in 1974. The company survived the post-Vatican Council II uncertainty in religious publishing in the 1970s, and in 1997 Saint Mary's Press sold approximately 634,000 books, of which 276,000 were high school textbooks. The 634,000 books represented 507 titles. In March, 1990, Saint Mary's Press dedicated a major addition to its building.
Brother Alphonsus constantly emphasized high-quality work. "Nothing flawed," he insisted, "leaves this room, except in the wastebasket." His life reflected the beauty of creation through his lifelong interest in gardening, music, and nature.