1927 – 2017

Words of Remembrance for Brother Patrick Higgins, FSC

Delivered by Brother Joseph Brienza, FSC
Mass of Christian Burial
Christian Brothers Academy, Alumni Hall
Lincroft, New Jersey
March 11, 2017

From the Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus): “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he or she who finds a faithful friend finds a treasure.” St. De La Salle, once wrote, “The Brothers are to touch the hearts of those entrusted to their care.” Brother Patrick Higgins (born Lawrence Michael Higgins and whose religious name was Brother Adelbert Patrick) was my trusted friend who touched my heart.

I became friends with Brother Patrick Higgins when I first arrived at CBA, Lincroft, in 2007. I did not know that Brother Patrick worked and lived at Christian Brothers Academy for a total of forty years as a Brother, teacher, resident, and maintenance/gardener of the Brothers’ residence. While I was settling in at CBA, Brother Patrick literally and figuratively was my compass in getting to know places and people. In one of my car trips with Brother Patrick for him to teach me the highways and byways of Lincroft and New Jersey, I pegged Brother Patrick with the name, Amerigo Vespucci or Mr. Vespucci, a historical person in American history who first mapped America. However, in turn, Brother Patrick, knowing that I have a terrible sense of direction, reminded me that Columbus would never have hired me as one of his navigators to his trips across the Atlantic to the New World. (Touche, Brother Patrick!) Eventually, Brother Patrick became my compass for what was going on in my life.

As you know, no one can crystalize or capture a person in three words, but for the purpose of my talk, I would like to use three words that pop into my mind as I write these words of remembrance for Brother Patrick. The three words are: fiery, biologist, and brother.

I chose the word fiery because Brother Patrick could get quite heated under the collar if you were not listening to what was being said or if you demonstrated that you were not paying attention to the conversation that was going on. Brother Patrick taught me the value of listening and following what people are saying. I would often tease Brother Patrick when we were engaged in conversation, asking if I should take notes on our conversation or was this conversation a three credit graduate course.

Certainly one can see the biologist at work in the beautiful flowers and shrubbery Brother Patrick planted and cared for around the Brother’s residence here at CBA. It is ironic that Brother Patrick’s major in college was French, but he taught biology because there was a need for biology teachers. I would tease Brother Patrick that he should have taught biology class in French.

St. De La Salle wanted nature to be a prominent feature in the residences of the Brothers so that the beauty found in nature would remind the Brothers of God’s presence and to help the Brothers be in God’s presence. Brother Patrick helped to provide God’s presence to the CBA Brothers by picking beautiful plants, flowers, and shrubbery that he planted here at CBA. I enjoyed and received an education about botany from Brother Patrick by taking him to his favorite plant nurseries. I, in turn, would educate Patrick by taking him to Italian food shops to introduce Patrick to pasta and prosciutto.

However, the hallmark of Brother Patrick’s life was his vocation as a Brother of the Christian Schools. A loyal son of St. De La Salle, he was a man who was happy and proud to be a Christian Brother, to be a Brother teaching biology here at CBA for many years, and to have taught all subjects to young children in the New York grade schools in by-gone years. His love of his vocation as a Christian Brother came alive to me when I had the opportunity to drive Brother Patrick to a Westchester Country Club for him to be the honored guest at a reunion of men with their wives who had Brother Patrick as their fifth grade teacher at St. John’s Grammar School in Kingsbridge in the Bronx. It was amazing to witness the love and admiration that these successful men had for Brother Patrick, and how he had so deeply touched these men when they were fifth graders.

In conclusion, I want to say what Brother Patrick and I liked to say to each other when we had an opportunity to go to the Americana diner for dinner on a night when fish was being served at the Brothers’ residence. “Glad to be witch-ya!” Indeed, thank you, Patrick, for your life and your love as a Brother of the Christian Schools for seventy-two years. Thank you for being a trusted friend to students, Brothers, relatives, and friends who came to know you. Rest well in the arms of our loving and merciful God. I thank you for our laughter and our friendship. Thank you, all, for your attention. I leave you with a beautiful antiphon found in the official church prayer for the deceased in which Jesus says: I am the resurrection; I am the Life; to believe in me means life, in spite of death, and all who believe and live in me, shall never die. Patrick, may you enjoy being in God’s garden in the heavenly kingdom. We will miss you and we love you. Amen.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Brother Patrick Higgins, FSC

Born Lawrence Michael Higgins in New York, NY, on April 23, 1927

Entered the Barrytown Juniorate on September 2, 1941, and Novitiate on June 25, 1945

Received the Religious Habit and Name, Brother Adelbert Patrick, on September 7, 1945

Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Oakdale, Long Island, NY, in 1952

Died at De La Salle Hall, Lincroft, NJ, on March 8, 2017



Saturday, March 11, 2017

Viewing from 9:00 am – 10:30 am (Alumni Hall)
Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 am (Alumni Hall)

Christian Brothers Academy
850 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft, NJ 07738-1698

Burial at St. Gabriel’s Cemetery, Marlboro, NJ
Followed by luncheon at Christian Brothers Academy (Cafeteria)



District: 100 masses
CBA, Lincroft community: 30 masses
Each community in the District: 1 mass

Brother Patrick died peacefully during the early evening after a brief time in palliative care. May he rest in peace.



Albany, NY
La Salle School

prefect, teacher
Lincolndale, NY
Lincoln Hall

New York, NY
Good Shepherd School

Yonkers, NY
St. Mary’s School

Bronx, NY
St. John’s School

teacher and sub-director
Bronx, NY
St. John’s School

New York, NY
La Salle Academy

Bronx, NY
Manhattan College theology program

Warren, MI
De La Salle Collegiate

Albany, NY
Christian Brothers Academy

Lincroft, NJ
Christian Brothers Academy

Lincroft, NJ
Christian Brothers Academy

Lincroft, NJ
Christian Brothers Academy