Brother Maurice Reidy, MM

Born: May 16, 1917
Oath: August 30, 1948
Died: June 20, 1991

Brother Maurice Reidy died peacefully in St. Teresa’s Residence at 11:20 a.m. on Thursday, June 20, 1991. He was 74 years of age and a Maryknoll Brother for 43 years.

James Darney Reidy was born on May 16, 1917 in Worcester, Massachusetts, son of Maurice Francis Reidy and Eunice Mildred Darney. He had three brothers. His oldest brother, Maurice, was a Jesuit priest in the New England Province. James attended Lee Street Grammar School, and Grafton Street Junior High School. In Junior High, along with regular schooling he was allowed to work in the carpentry shop, print shop and electric shop doing odd jobs. He attended North High School for three years. He admitted that he always had difficulty with academic studies, so he changed to Worcester Boy’s Trade School where he spent four years in training in the printing trade: typing, linotype printing and engraving. He also developed a love for good music and opera. He did general office work for three years at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, and at night school took courses in typing and business English.

James applied without success for admission as a Brother to the Jesuit Order and to the Alexian Brothers, and then at age 29 entered the Maryknoll Brothers on June 22, 1946. Asked why he became a Maryknoll Brother he wrote: “It was God’s Will that I join Maryknoll and it is His Will whatever may happen to me while I am in His service.” He served his novitiate at the Brothers’ Novitiate in Akron, Ohio, chose the religious name of Brother Maurice and pronounced his First Oath of Obedience on August 30, 1948.

Brother Maurice was always a quiet Brother, faithful in the observance of the rule and his spiritual exercises. He cheerfully accepted and performed any task assigned to him. He seemed to use the talents God gave him very well. His Superior on one occasion wrote: “Brother Maurice is good as gold. He puts forth effort spiritually and physically but his capabilities are just naturally limited.”

His mission vocation was lived entirely in the United States in various assignments in several Maryknoll Houses. After Novitiate, he was first assigned to the Maryknoll Center in New York, and worked in the Field Afar Magazine office. A year later he was transferred to Maryknoll College, Glen Ellyn, Illinois and worked mostly in the kitchen. His Superior wrote of his generosity and his sense of responsibility in doing what he was assigned to do. He pronounced his Permanent Oath of Obedience at Glen Ellyn on August 30, 1951. In May of 1953 he was transferred to Maryknoll Center for one year and then assigned to the Chicago Development House. He was reassigned to Maryknoll Center in May 1955 and shortly thereafter assigned to Maryknoll Junior College at Lakewood, New Jersey. A year later in July 1956 he returned to Maryknoll Center where he spent the rest of his active life.

Brother Maurice was happiest at Maryknoll Center with a large community of Brothers, seminarians and priests. He kept busy with house driving, helping out in the mission shipping room and driving the mail truck. He enjoyed being the receptionist in the Porter’s Lodge; but even when not assigned to the Porter’s Lodge in the Rotunda, he was always outgoing and hospitable to visitors at the Center. He worked for about five years in the Seminary library. He said it was the nicest job he ever had and he was perfectly content with his work.

Besides enjoying music and opera, he had another avocation or hobby that brought him much pleasure: visiting the sick and the elderly in institutions near Maryknoll. He like to read and write to some shut-ins whom he visited as often as he could, and he even made up a few scrap books for some disabled children. It is said that some of the simple poems he composed for the children are beautiful and reached the hearts of the youngsters. His Superior wrote: “He offers a great and very valuable service to the community in running on all types of errands. He usually does this very cheerfully even when it imposes on his personal time.” Another Superior wrote: “Despite Brother’s simple way of acting, I think he is a true Brother. He is by no means lazy and does a man’s sized amount of work and always cooperative.”

On June 10, 1986 he was assigned to St. Teresa’s Residence due to illness, and remained there until his death.

Wake services were held in St. Teresa’s Chapel and in the Center Chapel on Friday evening, June 21.  Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial was offered on Saturday, June 22 in the Center Chapel with Father Vincent T. Mallon as principal celebrant and homilist. Burial took place in the Maryknoll Center Cemetery.