Eulogy prepared by
Br. Robert Schieler, FSC
Br. Edward Davis, FSC
Richard was the senior member of what was to become the class of John XXIII when thirteen young men arrived at Ammendale to begin their postulancy on June 15, 1968. In those days, assignments were distributed in advance, sight unseen. Richard arrived with one arm in a cast. He had been assigned as a barber. The assignment was not changed! Haircuts from Richard were an adventure during that postulancy summer. But once that cast came off…! As one former scholastic recalled: “I remember that Rich gave me many good haircuts at Anselm Hall…He always had a great laugh.” Yes, he did.
A 1960 graduate of West Catholic High School, West was Richard’s first assignment. For four years he taught psychology and served as a guidance counselor. But his love and passion – next to the enneagram – were retreat ministry and spiritual direction. Sixteen years of his life in ministry were spent at the Christian Brothers Spiritual Center in Adamstown, Maryland. He served both as a staff member and administrator. He was also one of the Baltimore Legacy District’s Aspirancy Coordinators in the 1980s. More than standing in front of a classroom, accompanying groups and individuals were at the heart of Richard’s vocation as a Brother. Here he found satisfaction and fulfillment.
His classmate Joe Grabenstein wrote a two-paragraph bio sketch about him for the 2008 FSC Gala fund-raiser, the 40th anniversary of the class of John XXIII. He asked Rich, as he always asked each jubilarian, his favorite quotation or inspirational thought. Richard responded: “I don’t think there is anything more fulfilling, and at the same time humbling, than being allowed to accompany someone on their spiritual journey.” For those of us who had the privilege of being on the receiving end of that accompaniment, thank you Richard.
Among the spiritual writers that nourished Richard’s life and served as a resource in his role as a spiritual director was Julian of Norwich. He even had the opportunity to visit Norwich, England and the chapel where she communed with God. She once wrote:
“If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.”
Richard, like all of us – with greater or lesser intensity – had his moments of falling and rising, of assignments and relationships that at times were difficult or challenging. He took comfort in the words of Julian of Norwich, particularly that we are kept in God’s precious love. He had no doubt of this. For he said once, on being interviewed by the Baltimore Catholic Review about the Spiritual Center, “most people share a common stumbling block to growing into a deeper relationship with God: They just don’t seem to like themselves very much. That’s why the Christian Brothers Spiritual Center……has made it the central focus of the Center to open people to the realization that they are loved, and they are worth being loved”.
Richard was a Christian Brother for 44 years. Unbeknownst to Richard and us at the time, the year 1990 in which he volunteered a year of service in the Philippines, is the midpoint of those 44 years; 22 years since he had arrived at Ammendale and 22 years to today. While in the Philippines he was stationed at La Salle Green Hills. A teacher there once wrote a prayer that I think Richard would agree are words he would leave with us:
“Among the workers of your vineyard, Lord you have chosen me, a broken servant of yours. I want to follow you, to serve your chosen people and journey with them to You … You promised to uphold, defend and mold me. You fashioned me in your likeness and love. Teach me now, touch me now, make me your collaborator. As De La Salle, our Founder, gathered the first community of Brothers, strengthen me as a builder of my community, a healer of the pained, and a companion to those in need … Build in me courage that I may always be your prophet and in refining my passion, let me trust those that I serve and may they put their trust in me”.
Richard trusted in the love and promise of Jesus, the promise we heard in the Gospel of John this evening. Jesus comes for all of us who believe in him. He does not lose any that have been given to him by the Father, but raises them up so they may have eternal life. Richard has that reward now as will those he accompanied on their spiritual journeys to God. May he rest in peace!
Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of
Br. Richard Breese, FSC
Born Richard William Breese in Philadelphia, PA on September 25, 1941
Entered the Ammendale Novitiate on June 15, 1968
Received the Religious Habit on September 1, 1968
Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Philadelphia, PA on August 30, 1975
Brother Richard died at Visiting Nurses of Philadelphia Hospice on September 28, 2012
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Brother Richard has chosen cremation.
Guests will be received from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm Mass of Christian Burial at 7:30 pm
La Salle University
De La Salle Chapel
1900 West Olney Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19141-1199
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Burial in the Brothers’ cemetery,
Ammendale, MD, at 11:30 am
Luncheon to follow
SUFFRAGES FOR OUR DECEASED BROTHER RICHARD
District: 50 masses
St. Mary’s Hall community: a few masses, recitation of lauds and vespers
Each community in the District: 1 mass
Brother Richard passed away peacefully in his sleep during the early morning hours while in hospice care. May he rest in peace.
Tour of Duty
Elkins Park, PA
West Catholic Boys High School
retreat staff (Director ’76-’77)
Christian Brothers Retreat House
Archbishop Carroll Boys High School
Christian Brothers Spiritual Center
Archd. Baltimore/Washington, D.C.
Religious Consultation Center
District of Baltimore
District of Baltimore
aspirancy coordinator (to Dec. 1989)
District of Baltimore
counselor (from Jan 1990)
La Salle Green Hills
guidance (sec. sem.)
Archbishop Carroll High School
West Catholic High School
St. Raphael Parish
Christian Brother Spiritual Center
St. Mary’s Hall