Brother Gregory Grant, MM

Born: July 7, 1930
Oath: June 29, 1952
Died: July 16, 1989

Brother Gregory Grant died at Phelps Memorial Hospital on July 16, 1989. He was 59 years old and a Maryknoll Brother for 38 years.

Joseph Francis was born on July 7, 1930 in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, son of John William and Marie Talbot Grant. He had one sister and one brother. His early years were passed in Chester, Pennsylvania. He graduated from St. James High School in 1948. Asked about his vocation he wrote that he “was prompted by a strong desire to help people, and what greater good can one do than to aid others to know, love and serve God. Therefore, a love to assist people not as fortunate as I made me decide on a mission vocation”. He entered Maryknoll at the Venard in 1948 and a year later transferred to Lakewood. In his second year as a seminarian he left and returned home due to an illness. After recuperation he entered the Maryknoll Brothers, pronounced his First Oath on June 29, 1952 and took the name of Brother Gregory. After Permanent Oath on June 24, 1955, he was assigned to serve as assistant registrar and business manager of Los Altos.

Brother Gregory’s first and only mission assignment was in 1960 to Chile where he served a total of 28 years. Much of his apostolate was in teaching, first the youth and then older people. Early in his mission career he developed an ability to accept responsibility, to lead others in a professional manner and to be able to work independently. He never tired of taking professional and academic  courses designed to improve himself and his skills to make himself a more effective missioner.

His first appointment, after language school, was as business administrator for the Chile Region Center House in Santiago. In January, 1964 he taught carpentry, electricity, English and theology at Maryknoll’s Escuela Agricola Gonzalo Correa for poor farm boys, run by the Brothers in Molina. In 1968 he began teaching at the Liceo La Asuncion in Talcahuano, a co-educational high school. He taught carpentry, shop management, electricity, Physics, Theology and personal orientation. In 1973 he was named Vice Rector of the school. In addition to teaching Brother worked with the youth in Asuncion Parish who were not enrolled in the school. His superiors expressed high appreciation for his work. One superiors report sums up Brother Gregory very well: “Brother is a very capable and intelligent man. He is a great handy and practical man with plenty of ideas in the most profound matters. He is all motion…must get his work done fast and completely. A very zealous man with a likeable manner. He loved sociability and being with groups of people”.

In 1970, while on furlough, he studied for 3 months in the Clinical Pastoral Education course at the Philadelphia State Hospital. Returning to Chile, he continued his guidance and counseling work among the youth.

In 1972 he took updating courses in mass communications and in 1974 he began to work with a team-ministry group in Chile, giving many workshops in developing Christian communities. While at home on a sabbatical leave he attended the Maryknoll Sisters’ Mission Institute and then the Mission Renewal Program at the Center. He also studied techniques involved in Marriage Encounter and youth movements, in high school retreats and retreats for public school children.

While remaining a member of the Chile Region, in March, 1976 he was appointed Consultor to the Director of the newly proposed Formation Program for Brother candidates. In 1981 he returned to Chile and resumed his work in team ministry. The four years he spent in La Bandera Parish he described as the happiest of his life. His final assignment in Chile was to the Parish of Lampa. There he developed the serious illness that forced him to return to the States and he entered St. Teresa Residence in 1988.

Brother Gregory truly fulfilled his youthful desire to help people to know, love and serve God. He became a worthy example of the modern Maryknoll Brother and a leader among them in fostering their new vision.