Brother Leo J. Murray, MM
Born: August 20, 1911
Oath: September 29, 1940
Died: May 31, 1987
Brother James, born Leo James Murray, died in his sleep at St. Teresa Residence on May 31, 1987. He was born August 20, 1911, in Belmont, Massachusetts of William Henry and Mary Ellen Murray. He had one brother, Paul, and three sisters, Mary Frances, Susan Elizabeth, and Beatrice Alice.
He attended the Belmont public schools through high school and two years of evening school at Boston University for accounting training. After 8 years as a bookkeeper for two small firms, Leo applied for admission to Maryknoll in 1937. He wrote that he was first attracted through reading the Field Afar Magazine plus the influence of his uncle, Fr. John H. Murray, M.M. who died in Honolulu in 1945. His pastor recommended him as “a young man of excellent character, religious and of good family.” Later, his novice director characterized him as “a gentleman, generous and well-balanced…with a splendid spirit.” And so he proved himself to before forty nine years as a Maryknoller. At 26 years of age he was accepted in Maryknoll in 1938 and took the religious name of James. He pronounced his First Oath September 29, 1940 and Final Oath on Sept. 29, 1946.
Brother James had a series of assignments in Development Houses throughout the U.S. – first in San Francisco in 1940; then at the Venard in 1943; New York City in 1945; Lakewood in 1947; and finally at the Center in 1954.
A foreign mission assignment to Guatemala came his way in April, 1959, where he served for seven years. He used to help financially various poor people without letting anyone know about it. After he returned to the Maryknoll Center Business Office in 1966, he donated a large sum which he had inherited to be used for the building of a home for a poor family in Huehuetenango selected by the Maryknoll pastor of the parish. Later he continued to support the family and others until his death.
Brother served faithfully and well in the Controller’s Office at the Center from August, 1968 until his full retirement in 1981. Although he entered the Special Society Unit in 1976, he continued to live in the Seminary building until April, 1987, when he moved to St. Teresa’s. An unassuming, quiet man, he made a deeper impression on coworkers than one would suspect. Several of his coworkers from Treasury and Controller’s Offices came to visit him at St. Teresa’s during his last weeks. Many of the seminarians remarked that he went out of his way to know all the students each year.
For forty-nine years Brother James gave ample evidence of dedication, spirituality and service to the Society and the Missions befitting a Maryknoll Brother. He was intelligent, diligent in fulfilling his assignments, orderly in his spiritual practices. For many years he was a familiar figure daily jogging or walking briskly along Pinesbridge Road and the neighboring highways for the sake of his health.
Wake Service was held at the Center Chapel on Monday, June 1, conducted by Bro. Martin J. Shea. Bro. Louis J. Uttendorfer read the biography. Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial was offered the following day with Fr. Raymond A.Hill as Principal Celebrant and Bro. Wayne T. Fitzpatrick gave a reflection. Burial service was conducted by Fr. Joseph Picardi.