1953 – 1988 (January 26)
Thomas Gerard Johnston was born on December 31, 1953, in Detroit, Michigan, to George Johnston and Catherine O'Malley. He had one sister and three brothers. Baptized in Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, he attended Sacred Heart Grammar School in Detroit. The family moved to Pennsylvania, where Thomas finished grammar school at Saint Lawrence Parish, Upper Darby, PA, graduating in 1968. He attended Monsignor Bonner High School, Drexel Hill, PA, and graduated in 1972. Following graduation, he entered the pre-novitiate program while attending Villanova University from which he graduated with a B.A. in fine arts in 1977. He did graduate work in fine arts and liturgical music at Saint Joseph College, Rensselear, IN, and Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, from which he received a M.A. in fine arts in 1982. He entered Our Mother of Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, NY, where he professed simple vows on August 28, 1976, in Saint Thomas of Villanova Church, Villanova.
Brother Thomas' first assignment in 1977 was to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, the Bronx, NY, where for three years he taught English and art in the high school as well as lending his talents in liturgical music to the parish church. In 1981, he was transferred to Mount Augustine Retreat House, Staten Island, NY. From 1982 to 1985 he taught fine arts at Villanova University, as a member of the Saint Denis community, Havertown, and later Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova. He was active in campus ministry at the university and in liturgical music in area parishes. In 1986 he was diagnosed as suffering from a terminal illness. At the time of his death on January 26, 1988, he was assigned to Saint Denis Parish, Havertown, PA.
Brother Thomas' artistic creations were recognized both locally and abroad and his designs were exhibited in the area. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on January 29, 1988, by Prior Provincial, Joseph A. Duffey, O.S.A., at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church. Homilist for the Mass was Donald Reilly, O.S.A. Brother Thomas is buried in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, PA.