Words of Remembrance
Brother Martin Fahey, F.S.C.
Given by Brother Colman Coogan, F.S.C.
La Salle Hall, Ammendale, MD
It is a privilege to share these reflections on the life of Brother Martin Fahey, not only to repay
a personal debt of gratitude for his past assistance and long friendship, but also to speak on behalf of our District in appreciation for his seventy-three years of religious life, twenty-six of which were dedicated to District administration.
Born of native Irish stock from parents, Katherine and Martin, he received a deep religious faith plus an ethic of hard work. Raised in Baltimore, Martin attended St. Cecilia Elementary School where he shared 7th and 8th grades with classmate Phil Whitman, little knowing they would meet again as Christian Brothers.
A graduate of Forest Park High School, Brother sensed the origin of what later became his religious vocation. A nephew, Martin Griffin, enquiring of his uncle how he came to religious life, was told that he consulted others whom he respected (one of whom decidedly said he should not be a priest). Inclined toward teaching, he then sought out a religious community wherein this could be realized, hence, contact with the Christian Brothers at Calvert Hall College.
After an Ammendale novitiate, Marty graduated from Catholic University in 1952 as an English major. As teacher, Marty displayed notable classroom success marked by meticulous attention to creative writing and literature. Later, advancing to the Vice Principalship, he further
manifested remarkable organizational skills.
Martin always presented himself as a dignified person, cordial, religiously devout, and thoroughly professional. A devotee of the Fine Arts, he was at home with classical music, art, and history. Additionally, he possessed a uniquely humorous bent played out as pranks (especially toward one Brother in particular), which ploys are now part of District lore.
The First Baltimore District Chapter, 1968, restructured province administration, opening a post for an Auxiliary Visitor for Finance. Brother James Carey, then Visitor, chose Brother Martin as the first to hold this title. Perhaps it was here that Brother established his enviable reputation,
making significant contributions during an extremely critical time in our history when we struggled to incorporate both the spirit of Vatican II and the Institute’s Thirty-ninth General Chapter, setting aside precedents to charter a new era of synodality. This conferred on each Brother the responsibility to discern how he would live his vocation based on a new experimental Rule. The resulting ambiguity is history.
Martin, an English major, now in his new role, although totally bereft of financial experience, quickly devised new policies, and solid accounting procedures, none of which existed previously. If today we enjoy a measure of financial security, it is from these foundations, later built upon by his worthy successors in office.
Beginning with the seventies, the District lost nearly 35% of its wage-earning membership. There was no retirement plan, health insurance, endowment, or systematic investment, much less Social Security – all of which and more had to be established which Brother Martin did with
great proficiency without loss to his evident community spirit and prayerfulness.
At this time, too, the District lost much of its leadership as seen in the resignation of its Visitor, Brother Carey, the death of his successor, Brother Jeremy McNamara within two years, and the sudden death of David Ryan, one year later. Despite a rapidly evolving administration, Marty maintained his calm to provide a greatly needed stability. Further comment could be made about all these years with its recession, the sale of the Elkins Park scholasticate, and Ammendale land developments, all of which called for complicated legal and financial negotiations.
To these credits one must add Brother’s thirteen years of teaching at Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School, and an additional twelve years as Alumni Director, Calvert Hall College.
Brother Superior, Robert Schieler, commenting on his time with Martin at Adamstown, offered these keen insights:
“We join the Brothers to be with young people in educational settings. But it is not unusual to be called to different kinds of services. Marty had many roles in his life with us: teacher, Finance and Development Director, Auxiliary Visitor, District Secretary and Community Director. It
was from this last role that I most benefited from his gifts and friendship. As District leaders on the road, Marty was most solicitous for our well-being when we returned home to the Adamstown farm. He cultivated a fraternal community life for us. He was also a faithful
correspondent, keeping in touch with me through email and the occasional card, right up to a month ago.”
An African Brother once related this proverb to me: The death of an old person is like the burning down of a library.”
Despite his heavy apostolic commitments Brother found time for family as seen in the emotional support given to his widowed mother and married sister, Mary. He showed special affection for his nephews, Martin and Denis, as well as their children, later becoming their most favored uncle.
These reflections merely touch the surface of a Brother who, in addition to being a wonderful human being, was a model witness to our joint spirits of faith and zeal – uniquely combining both. It is appropriate here once again to thank God in directing Brother Martin to our life.
According to one philosopher: “It is a rough road that leads to greatness.” And so it was for our deceased confrere.
Thank you, Brother Martin, for your remarkable life. May God now reward you as generously as you gave to those whom you loved and served.
; Email, Brother Robert Schieler, June 9, 2020
;; John Barttlette, Bartlette’s Familiar Quotations, 15th edition, 12th printing,.Boston : Little Brown and Company, 1980, 114
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Brother Martin Fahey, FSC
1928 – 2020
Born Martin Jonathan Fahey in Baltimore MD on 2 December 1928
Entered the Ammendale MD Novitiate on 9 June 1947
Received the Religious Habit and the Name Brother Emilian Julius on 7 September 1947
Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Ocean City NJ on 28 August 1953
Died at De La Salle Hall on 3 June 2020
Private interment will take place at De La Salle Cemetery – Beltsville MD
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on a date yet to be determined.
Brother Martin died peacefully in the late evening on June 3rd.
The District of Eastern North America remembers Brother Martin with memorial liturgies according to the tradition of the Institute. Through their prayers, communities and individuals entrust Brother Martin to God’s loving care.
May he rest in peace.
De La Salle College: scholasticate
Saint Francis Vocational
Central Catholic High School
Baltimore District: administration
Calvert Hall College High School
Baltimore District: administration
Baltimore District: administration
La Salle Hall: resident
De La Salle Hall: resident