Paying tribute to two vibrant Lay Centre Alumni

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Paying tribute to two vibrant Lay Centre Alumni

The Lay Centre community was saddened to learn of the deaths of two alumni. 

Angus Trumble, a member of the first Lay Centre community that formed in 1986, died suddenly Oct. 8; he was 58. Marie Czernin, who lived at The Lay Centre from 1994 to 1998, died Oct. 28; she was 51.

Angus was born in Melbourne Oct. 6, 1964. He graduated with a degree in fine arts and history at the University of Melbourne in 1986, after which he enrolled in a graduate program that included study at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, where he joined the first cohort of The Lay Centre at its original location on Piazza Navona. 

Upon graduation, Angus worked a few years as an aide to the governor of Victoria, Australia. He pursued further study as a Fulbright scholar at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 1994. 

In 1996, he began serving as associate curator, and later as curator, of European art at the Art Gallery of South Australia. In 2003, he returned to the United States to work as the curator, and later as the senior curator, of paintings and sculpture at the Yale Center for British Art.  

In 2014, he was named the fourth director of Australia’s National Portrait Gallery, leaving in 2018 to pursue personal writing projects. Between 2019 and 2022 he was a senior research fellow at the National Museum of Australia. 

“Angus was incredibly witty and brought much joy and laughter to the community,” said Lay Centre Director Donna Orsuto. “It was no surprise that later he wrote a book called ‘A Brief History of the Smile.’”

Angus also wrote “The Finger: A Handbook” (2010), co-authored “Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century” (2013), and was a regular magazine contributor. At the time of his death, he had secured a book deal for another manuscript he had written.

Angus will be remembered for his vibrancy, scholarship and deep love of family.

Marie was born in Klagenfurt, Austria, July 18, 1971. She moved to Rome to study literature and art history at Roma Tre University. Feeling called to explore art and spirituality, as well as life in an intentional Christian community, she began theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University and joined The Lay Centre community in 1994.

She embraced a career as a journalist, working freelance for several years. In 2011, she joined the editorial team of “allewelt” (“The Whole World”), the monthly magazine of the Pontifical Mission Societies, known as Missio in Austria, in Vienna. She covered stories about the life of the church in far-off, unknown — and sometimes dangerous — places. She also co-authored a book about retired Archbishop Elias Chacour of Haifa.

“With her winning nature, she met countless people on her tireless journeys to the sacred places of this world and a large number of them became true friends of life,” reads a tribute published by, an Austrian Catholic news site.

“I visited her for the last time on Oct. 24,” said Father Karl Wallner, national director of Missio. “Her parting words were, ‘I sacrifice everything for the Pope, for the Church and for the Pontifical Mission Societies.’”

“She was unique in making contacts,” he said. “She was a missionary with heart and blood.”

“Marie was a generous, kind, and prayerful person,” said Dr. Orsuto. “I remember especially her beautiful clear voice as she sang in our chapel. May she continue to sing to the Lord for all eternity as ‘his mercy endures forever.’”

Marie died in Vienna, surrounded by family and friends, after a three-year battle with cancer. 

We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Angus and Marie.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

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