MichaelFarrellEulogy given by Br. Edward Phelan, FSC

Ladies and gentleman, many of you have moved beyond the first half of life – the time we all have to get degrees, make reputations, work hard, develop our skills, and make our mark. In this first half we seldom have enough time to pray, often get bogged down in detail, and hope that this Eulogy doesn’t go year by year. It’s the achievements of the first half of life that everyone remembers about us.

Michael’s crowning achievement of this period of his life was responding to the need in Ethiopia with his entire heart and soul for twenty years, in political revolution, in hunger, in good times, and bad. His role in schools was straightforward: headmaster, headmaster, and headmaster. Outside of school he was the plumber, carpenter, electrician and engineer.

In an oral history interview in 1997 Mike spoke about his role in helping the sisters at the Attat Hospital:

“I did most of the heavy work over the years. I moved the X-ray, I connected all of the laundry equipment, I installed and connected all the electrical plumbing lines. I ran new plumbing lines a few years later when we put in new washing machines. I designed and installed the new water tanks that are still at the hospital. So, it included a variety of different types of jobs over the twenty some years.”

Upon Mike’s return to NYC in 1992, he gradually moved into the second half of life even while continuing in leadership roles as principal and president of institutions. This is the part of life where we are called upon to make sense of the first half, be more thoughtful, take time to pray, be more reflective, meet new people and forge relationships not dependant on our work roles. Dualism gives way to integration and wholeness. It is symbolized in the circles in each stained glass window of this beautiful church. The paradoxes of life are those little almonds going in different directions within the circles. It’s the time when you can sit back and enjoy a eulogy like this and not worry if the school has burned down in your absence. It’s the hidden side of Michael Farrell and the smile on the cover of your program.

Mike discovered the secret to growth and wholeness in the second half by forging new relationships in life. For him, these men and women were young Lasallians that he recruited as teachers at La Salle Academy and Resurrection School and especially Lasallian Volunteers assigned to live with him in community. He called them “gifts from God.” In his retirement announcement at La Salle he said, “Lasallian Volunteers are a very important part of my life.” He was awed by their sense of sacrifice and dedication to the tasks of working with children. He loved them, cared for them in sickness and health, protected them from harm, and communicated regularly with many in distant places via email and phone. They confided in him, invited him to weddings and Baptisms, visited him in the hospital in the hours before his death and in extraordinary numbers they are here today from near and far. De La Salle’s phrase of “touching hearts” is what Michael did for them and in the process had his own heart touched. Again, it is in the smile on your program. Some of you might have noticed the friendship bracelet that Mike wore on left wrist, given to him by a Young Lasallian several years ago – another symbol of his hidden side.

Personally, several near death experiences have made me appreciate the role of the angels in my life. It seems to me, Michael’s death is the birth of another angel for each of us and especially for you, Young Lasallians. Our Michael wouldn’t be the archangel. Arch anything is just not him. It would be Michael, our Guardian angel. So, when any of you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, remember himself as he continues to do in death what he always did in life.

For Michael, this was his extended family and for these young Lasallians, the last few days were a wonderful opportunity for them to meet and share with you, Kathleen, James, Gene and Bro. John, his primary family. We thank you, and your mom and dad, Anne and John for sharing your brother with all of us. As you have suggested, we are all family to this great man, Bro. Michael Farrell.

Live Michael in our heart. Forever.

Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of Brother Michael Farrell, FSC

Born Michael Joseph Farrell on March 4, 1940

Entered the Brothers of the Christian Schools Barrytown Novititate on June 24, 1958

Received the religious habit and name, Brother Michael Patrick on September 7, 1958

Pronounced Perpetual Vows at Manhattan College, Bronx, NY in 1965

Brother Michael died on September 20, 2009 at St. Vincent’s Hospital, New York City


Tuesday, September 22 and Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Viewing from 2:00-5:00 pm and 7:00-9:00 pm
John J. Fox & Sons Funeral Home
203 East 201 Street (at Grand Concourse)
Bronx, NY 10458

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am
St. Philip Neri Church
3025 Grand Concourse (at 202 Street)
Bronx, NY 10468

Burial at Gate of Heaven cemetery


District: 50 masses
Bedford Park community: 30 masses
Each community in the District: 1 mass

Brother Michael was admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital late last week and he died peacefully on Sunday morning as a result of cancer and other complications. May he rest in peace.

Tour of Duty

Washington, D.C.
De La Salle College

Syracuse, NY
Christian Brothers Academy

Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA
St. Joseph School

Bronx, NY
St. Raymond’s School

Assistant Headmaster
Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA
St. Joseph H S

Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA
St. Joseph H S

Study (1st sem); Sangre (2nd sem)
Yonkers, NY
Sacred Heart community

Nazareth, ETHIOPIA
St. Joseph School

Catholic Mission School

New York City, NY
La Salle Academy

New York City, NY
La Salle Academy

New York City, NY
Resurrection School

New York City, NY
La Salle Academy

Bronx, NY
Lasallian Community at Bedford Park

May the soul of Brother Michael, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.