Br. Clement Brady, RIP
17 December 1936 – 05 June 2020
As our Brothers in Ireland, Family and Friends bid a final farewell to our beloved Clement Brady we who are not able to be there physically will be with him and them in spirit. Those of us who were privileged to know him and share his life will reminisce on a unique personality who was a real brother and a loving friend. We thank our loving Creator for creating such, a gentle loving person and for calling him to our way of life.
While Clement would be 84 years on 17 December this year, he was always young at heart with no inhabitations about sitting down for hours chatting on everyday life issues. He loved visiting his friends for a chat and a cup of tea and when available, sharing the produce of his garden and in later years his plastic tunnel. Professionally he was a horticulturalist and loved plants and nature.
Clement, was born in Butlersbridge, Co. Cavan to parents who had being married in New York 1929. They returned to Butlersbridge in 1933 to start a new life as farmers. Clement or by his baptismal name, Michael, was born there is 1936, the youngest of four children. He joined the Franciscan Brothers as a young man in the early 1950s. Having completed general education at intermediate certificate level he went on to do the general agriculture course in Mountbellew in 1955. This was followed by another one-year course in horticulture in Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford. Despite receiving a scholarship from Johnstown Castle to continue studying horticulture at the Botanic Gardens in Dublin, his superiors transferred him back to Currandulla, ‘to look after the garden’ – one of the depressing signs of misuse of power in religious life in our pre-Vatican 11 Church! It was something that hurt him deeply and even in my last conversation with him in September 2019 he referred to the hurt caused by that decision.
In 1960 when the new scholasticate was opened in Piltown, Drogheda, Clement was transferred there and he spent six happy years in Piltown working as a horticulturalist. With the major upheavals after our post Vatican 11, 1966 General Chapter, Clement was transferred to Mountbellew with his great friend and Belturbet neighbour, Denis Lawlor. They opened up Mountbellew, knocked down the big surrounding walls, built the new college and changed the face and curriculum of the College. In January 1974 he was asked to go to New York to fund raise for the new college building but in the summer of 1976 he was transferred back Mountbellew as minister of the local community. In 1980 he returned to USA to take over the fundraising responsibilities from Br. Laurence Grimes. He remained in the USA until the late 1990s. During his time there he completed his primary degree in Lehman College and continued on in Fordham University to graduate with a Masters Degree in Social Work. In addition to practicing his social work training he also worked as sacristan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a number of years.
It the late 1990s he came to Kenya working in Baraka. He was enjoying Kenya until the night Tuesday, 8 February 2020 when there was a violent robbery of his community house at 12 midnight. David Muchemi was badly injured and Clement was made walk at gun point the 200metres to Baraka Agriculture College where the robbers broke into the college accounts office. While he wasn’t physically harmed, he was traumatised and he left Kenya shortly afterwards. In his nice message of sympathy Muchemi asked ‘I trust he forgave Kenyans for the attack meted on him that night’. I had to tell him that it took at least 10 years for him to deal with the scars left from that attack.
However, back in Ireland, he continued through his friends and networks in New York to support the Franciscan Brothers mission in Africa by raising from $8,000 to $10,000 annually. With the starting of the Mountbellew Active Retirement Association (ARA) in 2005 Clement was one of the founder members and an active member up until the day he died. He loved the social interactions, the outings all over the country and outside and the craic. He liked travelling and had the chance to visit many places in Europe and in the USA. In 2012 he went on a pilgrimage to the places associated with early Christianity including the house in Ephesus where Mary is reputed to have lived with St. John between 30 – 35 AD. On that trip the group were accompanied by the now Bishop of Killaloe, Rev. Fintan Monaghan.
Clement, was as Bishop Monaghan says in his www.rip.ie message, ‘the embodiment of the Franciscan ideal in many ways – gentle, caring, happy, friendly’. He was a prayerful person who had a great sense of God and good working relationship with Him/Her; he loved Mary and had a consistent devotion to her; he loved Jesus in the Eucharist and practically every day he would spend at least an hour in prayer and reflection before the Blessed Sacrament.
During our visits to Mountbellew he was always a presence and most hospitable. We will dearly miss him! But even more so will his Mountbellew Community. Alf is here with me and he was shocked and saddened when the news came through from Sean on Friday afternoon. He joins with me in sending our prayers and sympathy to Mountbellew Community, all our Brothers in Ireland and abroad and to his much-loved family members and his wide circle of friends.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dhilis.
Brother Tony Dolan