It was serendipity that led Mike Walsh '64 to meet Father Herman Falke '57, more than 50 years after they both graduated from what was then named Christ the King College. And it was this introduction that resulted in the publication of Father Falke's latest book, A Celebration of Life in Art, in March 2022.

Mike Walsh has worked in publishing since 1967 and founded Mosaic Press in 1975. He has written and published a book of his poetry, Singing in the Mist, and two volumes of his memoirs, Roughin' it in the Bush and Roughin 'it in Kanata, Eh! He is currently working on volume 3, Revellin' in the Halls of Academe, which will reflect on his time as a student at “CKC” (Christ the King College) in the 1960s.

While trying to track down schoolmates from his grammar school days in England, Mike contacted the Priests of the Sacred Heart in Toronto, who offered to connect Mike with fellow King's alumnus Father Herman Falke, SCJ.

Herman Falke was born in Holland in 1928 and chose religious life at a young age. However, the German occupation of Holland during World War II halted his education at a junior seminary. It wasn't until Canadian forces arrived in 1945 that he was able to complete his studies.

In the early 1950s, the Sacred Heart Fathers expanded to Canada and Father Falke was given his first mission teaching art and music while completing his Bachelor of Arts at Christ the King College. In the 1960s, he was given a new mission in Uganda, Africa, where he taught at an art school. His time in Africa dramatically changed his artistic expression. He discovered a new way of interpreting the human figure and adopted a more contemporary feel in his depiction of biblical scenes.

Following their introduction in 2020, Father Falke provided Mike with a 150-page handwritten manuscript with images taped throughout the document.

“I proposed how I felt the book should be and what images should be used,” said Father Falke in a conversation with The Catholic Register. “[Mosaic Press] gave me the freedom to curate the book however I liked.”

From there, Mike worked diligently to convert Father Falke's content and vision into an electronic format for publication.

With decades of stories to tell, Father Falke has authored several art books, but he describes A Celebration of Life in Art as his “most personal yet.”

The book is the artistic story of the evolution of Father Falke as a man and member of the religious community whose passion for art has been nonstop over the years. It chronicles his life and art from his roots in Holland, his development as a young artist, his personal renaissance during his years in Uganda in the '60s and '70s, resettlement in Canada, and into his golden years. At the age of 94, Father Falke can often still be found working on a new sculpture in his art studio in Ottawa, Ontario.

“Father Falke is an internationally recognized artist who has made significant contributions to Canadian art,” says Mike. “There are many churches in Ontario where people can find Stations of the Cross that he created. He also created sculptures for Pope John Paul II.”

Mike added that the Vatican requested copies of Father Falke's latest book, which were sent just in time for Christmas. “A member of the first graduating class of Christ the King College, Father Falke is truly a distinguished King's alumnus.”

A Celebration of Life in Art is available at your local bookseller or Mosaic Press at mosaicpress.ca.