Brother Brian E. Fraher, MM

Born: February 4, 1923
Oath: June 29, 1949
Died: August 21, 1996

Brother Brian Fraher died suddenly at St. Teresa’s Residence, Maryknoll, New York, in the early afternoon of Wednesday, August 21, 1996. He was 73 years old and a Maryknoll Brother for 47 years.

Brother Brian was born John Edward Fraher in Lynn, Massachusetts, on February 4, 1923, son of Patrick and Mary Hayes Fraher. He had two brothers and one sister. He attended Breed Grammar and Junior High School and graduated from Lynn Classical High School. He studied Mechanical Engineering for a year and a half at the Lincoln Technical Institute in Boston and then studied for two years at the Wentworth Institute, also in Boston, taking courses in machine work, tool making, pattern making and machine design. He entered the U.S. Coast Guard as an Apprentice Seaman on November 3, 1942 and was honorably discharged as Machinist Mate, First Class on April 24, 1946, having served aboard ship during World War II.

Brother Brian was first attracted to the missionary life as a result of reading the Irish Missionary Annals. He decided to join Maryknoll after reading about the Maryknoll missions in The Field Afar [now Maryknoll] magazine. Thus, he entered the Maryknoll Society as a Postulant Brother on August 15, 1947, at Maryknoll, New York. In June of 1948 he was advanced to the Brothers Novitiate in Akron, Ohio. He pronounced his First Oath of Obedience to the Society on June 29, 1949 and took the religious name of Brother Brian. He took his Permanent Oath on June 21, 1952.

Brother Brian’s first assignment was for a brief three months at the Society’s Brookline, Massachusetts, Promotion House. Then, on September 19,1949, he was transferred to Maryknoll College, the Society’s Minor Seminary in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where he did physical plant and boiler room maintenance. Two years later he was brought to Maryknoll Center in Ossining, New York, for physical plant maintenance work.

On June 14, 1953, Brother Brian was assigned to the Maryknoll mission in the Prelature of Musoma, Tanganyika, Africa. He remained in Africa for twenty-five years where at various times he supervised mission construction projects, served as the business manager of the Center House, handled Regional and Diocesan business affairs, and, in the later years, at the Makoko Language School.

He planned to take some further courses in architectural engineering at Wentworth Institute during his first Home Leave in 1959 in order to gain more knowledge of skills that would help him in his mission work. However, in May, even before he began his Home Leave, he was reassigned to the United States Region and began work at Maryknoll Center, New York, in September of that year. Six months later, Father Gerard Grondin, who had been commissioned by the Tanzanian Bishops to set up an organization modeled on the U.S. Bishops’ National Catholic Welfare Conference, requested Brother Brian’s assistance and he was assigned back to Africa where he gave important service to the Tanzanian Church on a national level. During his 1973 Home Leave, he finally was able to take the engineering courses he wished at Wentworth. In September 1978, he was assigned again to the U.S. Region and to Maryknoll Residence, Los Altos, California, where he did administration work.

At his own request, Brother Brian was enrolled in the Special Society Unit on October 1, 1988, with residence at Maryknoll Residence, Los Altos, California. He came to St. Teresa’s Residence at Maryknoll, New York, for medical treatment in 1990 and returned to Los Altos the following year. In 1992, he returned to St. Teresa’s where he remained until his death.

Brother Brian was known to be a dependable, cheerful Brother of fine character and a willing and hard worker. His Superiors, both in the United States and in Africa, regularly praised his work, both in physical plant maintenance and in his handling of the business aspects of the Maryknoll Regions of Kenya and Tanzania and the two dioceses that had Maryknoll bishops. His major hobby was amateur radio and he remained a ham operator through his later years at St. Teresa’s Residence, making almost daily contact with other amateurs throughout the world.

Wake services were held for Brother Brian Fraher on Sunday, August 25, 1996 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Teresa’s Residence Chapel and at 7:30 p.m. in Our Lady Queen of Apostles Chapel at Maryknoll Center, New York, where Father Wayman Deasy presided. Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated on Monday, August 26, 1996 at 11:30 a.m. in Queen of Apostles Chapel. The Principal Celebrant was Father William Madden and Father Ernest Brunelle was the homilist. Interment followed at Maryknoll Cemetery with Father Edward Hayes presiding.