On the morning of December 3, 2011, at sunrise, around 6:55 AM, Brother James Kelly, CFX, our president, died peacefully in his home surrounded by his sister, Pat, and his Xaverian Brothers, Brother Lawrence Harvey, Brother Arthur Caliman, Brother Thomas Ryan, Brother George Donnelly, Brother Daniel Lynch, and Brother John Mahoney. He died, as he wished to, on the feast of Saint Francis Xavier, the patron of the Congregation of the Xaverian Brothers. The loss for his family, for the Brothers, and for Mount Saint Joseph is not measurable. As one of our own said recently, he is one of those rare individuals that cannot be replaced, and we shall not try to do so. What we shall try to do, with every fiber of our being, is to honor the legacy he has left us at his Mount, and we shall try to march on, as he would say, in the face of this loss. He was my friend for over forty years, and I know him well enough to know that he would not want us to wallow in deep sadness but to resurrect in great joy at what we might accomplish if only we trust in God’s divine Providence. That we shall do together, holding one another up, praying now TO Brother for our Mount community, for his Brothers, and for his family, especially his dear sister, Pat.
We need to call on him, as the psalm we have been praying asks, knowing he will come to us, arms full of wisdom and light, opening up our blocked paths, untangling our knots, and serving as our avenue to God. With him we will surely find our way.
I am reminded of the words of the hymn we sang at school on Thursday, which Brother heard us sing via Skype, “You are Mine,” and I can imagine his loving Father, saying these very words to him as He welcomed Brother home:
Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are Mine.
Home indeed! May Brother rest in peace.