Brother Ed Phelan, “standing with himself” at the Barrytown Novitiate.

Director for Senior Brothers
District of Eastern North America

“A Forever Lasallian Pilgrim”

De La Salle Brothers at La Salle Academy in the Lower East Side captured my heart, and at 17 I left home on a lifelong pilgrimage as a Lasallian Brother. My journey over some 55 plus years has not been to foreign lands or scenic wonders, but mostly through the streets of the South Bronx as teacher, principal and executive director. Never alone and always welcome by the families whose homes are there, the people and place shaped and formed my heart.

Over the years, my interest moved from advanced academic degrees and certifications to matters of the Spirit and the inner life: renewal programs in Rome and New Mexico; a Spiritual Direction Internship; and organizing Still Point weekends of reflection and sharing. In summer of 2013, I was invited to become Auxiliary Provincial for the Brothers District of Eastern North America. Four years later, I continued my service to our Brothers by accepting the invite to be Director of Senior Brothers. Titles like academic degrees are no longer important to me. Service is.

Recently, a Brother who taught me in high school ended up in a memory unit of a nursing facility. Realizing the importance of personal, familiar contact for his mental health as he waited for an opening at De La Salle Hall Nursing Home in New Jersey, I became his daily companion. We shared personal stories, discussed Theology, took walks, and entertained people we met. It was a week of service for me.

In short, my passion these days is to work closely with others, to care for this world, and to nurture young Lasallians not only in one shared community in the Bronx, but also at a number of similar sites across the country.

Along with Frederick Buechner, life for me is a pilgrimage that calls me to a place where my deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. Wisdom is in the surprises, challenges, and demons of the journey.