Words of Remembrance
Brother Cassian Michael Kelleher, FSC
A Reflection by Brother Jerome Sullivan, FSC
“I give you thanks, O Lord, for you have rescued me.”
When I first heard on December 2nd that Brother Michael Kelleher had peacefully passed away in his sleep, I felt a great sense of relief. After a difficult life the Lord had finally come for Michael and brought him home. The all-knowing Lord knew that Michael had earned eternal life and eternal happiness. He is now resting in peace with the God he loved and served so well.
Hugh John Kelleher was born on August 29, 1937 in the Inwood section of Manhattan and attended Good Shepherd School where the Brothers taught. After Good Shepherd he continued his education with the Brothers at Manhattan Prep, an outstanding high school for top students, located on the grounds of Manhattan College. Hughie spent three years at “The Prep” as a top student and member of the track team. For his senior year, Hughie journeyed to the Juniorate in Barrytown to complete his high school studies and to become a Christian Brother. He was a Barrytown All-Star in the classroom and on the athletic field. After graduation Hughie entered the Barrytown Novitiate and on September 7, 1955 he became Brother Cassian Michael. He continued his education at Catholic University in Washington where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in 1960.
Mike began his teaching career at De La Salle Collegiate in Detroit. Seven years later his assignments took him to Sacred Heart, Yonkers, La Salle Academy, Paramus Catholic, St. Raymond’s, Queen of Peace and CBA, Lincroft. Mike was always versatile. He taught chemistry, physics, computer science, math and religion. In addition to his full schedule, he assumed the rigors of coaching freshman football and basketball, and dabbled in both track and golf. He also contributed his time to presiding over the clock at basketball games and wrestling matches, as well as clocking runners at cross country and track meets. Members of the 1963 class at De La Salle sent this condolence note: “Brother Michael was our religion teacher and homeroom moderator in our sophomore year. He taught us physics in our junior year and also coached JV basketball and freshman football.” Wherever he went, Mike was an invaluable faculty member who enthusiastically gave of his time and talents.
Mike preferred to stay in the background in community. He was always available to help out and was consistently present at community exercises. He was truly a man of prayer who was aware of his strengths and weaknesses. He was uncomfortable in groups and, at times, would isolate himself from the community. Mike was aware of this and would say to people who felt uneasy, “this has nothing to do with you, this is my problem”. Sadly, it was something over which he had no control.
In the summer of 2008 Mike suffered a severe stroke that caused paralysis and left him disabled. He withdrew from any interaction with the community and isolated himself in his room at De La Salle Hall. Medical people, Brothers and visitors reached out to him. Mike was cordial but remained in his room.
As I wrote in the beginning, “after a difficult life, the Lord had come for Michael and brought him home”. Although Mike was unable to thank the many people who cared for him, in his stead, we all offer a debt of gratitude to the Brothers, staff and nurses at De La Salle Hall who lovingly watched over Mike for so many years. God bless them, and may Mike now enjoy eternal peace and happiness.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Brother Michael Kelleher, FSC
1937 – 2020
Born Hugh John Kelleher in New York NY on 29 August 1937
Entered the Barrytown NY Novitiate on 3 July 1955
Received the Religious Habit and Name Cassian Michael on 7 September 1955
Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Barrytown NY in 1962
Died at De La Salle Hall in Lincroft NJ on 2 December 2020
A private interment will take place at Saint Gabriel’s Cemetery – Marlboro NJ
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on a date yet to be determined.
Brother Michael died peacefully in his sleep early Wednesday morning.
The District of Eastern North America remembers Brother Michael with memorial liturgies according to the tradition of the Institute. Through their prayers, communities and individuals entrust Brother Michael to God’s loving care.
May he rest in peace.
The Catholic University of America (scholasticate)
De La Salle Collegiate
Sacred Heart High School
New York NY
La Salle Academy
Paramus Catholic High School
Saint Raymond High School for Boys
North Arlington NJ
Queen of Peace High School
Christian Brothers Academy
De La Salle Hall (resident)