Each of the two non-ordained chapter brothers are artisans of various fields. Brother Mark's favorite art is photography, which he teaches to the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth grades, but he his expertise is not confined to this field. The four specialties for his Bachelors in Studio Arts from Maryville University were: photography, watercolor, jewelry and metalsmithing (especially silversmithing), and ceramics. He also has had experience in stone cutting to the extent that he can tell by sight alone the quarry from which certain types of stones were taken. As with most artists, his love started with drawing, but he also remembers well a Drama class taught by Sr. Barbara Ann at Spalding High School in his native Peoria, IL. In similar fashion, it is easy to see by several great senior theses in photography and the excellent photos that grace our walls and publications that his students remember his classes quite well too. It is clear that Br. Mark has taught the boys not only photographic technique, but also how to be keen observers.
Yet, as much as Brother Mark loves art, he chose to follow a call from his first love, God, into religious life, rather than pursue a promising career in photography. As is often the case, God gave him both, as he now teaches and practices photography for most of each day. But his priorities can be easily seen from the discernment challenge he had by being accepted by Ansel Adams as an understudy. The great photographer liked the future Brother Mark's photography enough to take him under his wing, but he could only do so the year after the request, because of his schedule. Brother Mark's desire to follow his call couldn't wait that extra year, though. When he was younger, he had had to wait until he was 16 to convert to Catholicism, and he didn’t want another such delay. In fact, he had already waited several years since first feeling called to religious life upon a visit to a monastery when he was 18, and so he followed his heart to Saint Louis Abbey.