Brother Felix Fournier, MM
Born: March 3, 1913
Oath: September 29, 1940
Died: June 2, 1985
Back in 1938, arriving at St. Louis, Brother Felix wrote to Fr. Kiernan in Maryknoll, N.Y.: “This is really Maryknoll and how well I realized it last evening at night prayers when I heard ‘to Thee be praise, to Thee be honor… O Most Holy Trinity’ It might have been an echo, but it was an actuality, and this is Maryknoll.” On Trinity Sunday, 1985, Brother Felix died at St. Teresa’s, Maryknoll, N.Y.
Brother Felix returned to New York from the Central American Region in February, 1984. He underwent medical treatment that same year. In May of the same year he returned to Guatemala and stayed until March, 1985 when he was admitted at St. Teresa’s, where he died at age 72.
Felix had many talents and desired to use them in the service of Maryknoll and the Church. He entered Maryknoll after working for a year and a half with a paint company, after having graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in English, in 1935. He had many specialized skills: writing, editing, photography, architecture, building and mechanics.
On his self-evaluation report, Felix wrote: “I have a high degree of self-confidence when I face the physical world and the people in it. That carries over into the world of abstract concepts, where I have big blind spots. However, my almost intuitive ethical judgments satisfy me – especially when I often see them corroborated in the published views of current thinkers.” In respect to himself as a worker: “While I am a dependable and optimistic worker, I frequently underestimate the time it will take to finish a job. I have the positive faculty of seeing a problem from different angles, one- of which often leads to the solution. You can give me a not well-defined job; I can define it and do it for you. I am stimulated to good efforts in a group and do my part.” In relations with others: “I relish discussions that explore humanity, Deity and the physical world. I’m loyal to legitimate superiors and to the person who whispers confidences to me.
Felix proved true to his words as he accepted assignments in many different tasks in the U.S. and Central America. Some of those works are: writer, editor (news reporting, articles, research, radio scripts, project writing) and photography; press secretary, (National Bishops’ Conference); Executive Secretary to the Brothers’ Program; Development work in the Philadelphia house; architect and builder (churches, schools, convents, rectory and the Huehuetenango Center House); worked in credit unions, botany and farming projects at Clarks Summit.
His major assignments were in the Central American Region, beginning in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, in 1946. He served for short periods in the U.S. on Development, Center Services, the Venard, St. Louis and as Brother Consultant to the Chapter in 1966.
While in Guatemala in 1972 he wrote describing himself and his vocation: “I’m still surprised that I made such a good judgment for the young man that I was when I decided to join the work that Maryknoll and the Church do in the world. Anything else would be something less. I’m happiest when Maryknoll, the Church, give me a specific work, and when I bend every effort in its execution. I m at peace because I recognize the things that are impossible for me; I’ve chosen some and I’ve inherited others (for instance, I know I’m not a genius). But I’m discontent with myself when I value virtue for virtue’s sake and when I let weakness corrode God’s purpose in me. Distracted, I meditate (best with pencil and paper), and I pray.”
Brother Felix was a man of deep faith. He wrote in 1970: “I sometimes yearn for my early golden days when simple faith had no need for knowledge. I yearn for more faith now because my knowledge seems less important than the eternity which steadily approaches. What a mystery. That mystery exhilarates me; I enjoy being a part of it. Christianity alone makes sense.” The Lord has called Felix to participate more fully in this great mystery which he so longed for.
The Wake Service was held on Monday evening, June 3rd, with Fr. Richard Callahan officiating. Bro. James Murray read the biography. Funeral service took place the next day in the main chapel with Fr. John Halbert as main celebrant and Homily by Fr. Charles Huegelmeyer.