1934 – 2022
Words of Remembrance for Brother James Loxham, FSC
Written and Delivered by Brother Ralph Bucci, FSC
Mass of Christian Burial
Christian Brothers Center
Narragansett, Rhode Island
March 12, 2022
I want to thank John McMahon and Bill Mann for discussions that helped me refine this reflection.
Since I lead relaxation meditations, I suggest you might want to assume a meditative psychic and physical posture during this reflection:
Rest your hands on your lap; close your eyes; take a few deep breaths; and try to see images of Jim as I speak.
So, Kathleen’s and John’s and Bill’s brother, their children’s uncle and granduncle, and our religious brother, and my long-time friend rests in this coffin for a few remaining minutes in our chapel – a place that Jimmy loved so much; where he worshiped our God so intently and intensely, and played the organ to enhance our worship.
Our prayer, Jimmy, is that you can rest in peace…finally!
I met Benilde James in June 1966, when the Novitiate was here. Our friendship developed from there, though sometimes with infrequent contact, unfortunately. Twice, we lived in the same community and ministered at the same schools.
My reflection focuses on qualities of Jim’s personality and brotherhood that helped form my spirituality. I’m hoping some references resonate with you and your sensibilities.
Jim was a UK transplant, having come to America with his small family after WWII. He was 15, and continued as a junior novice in Barrytown.
Jimmy was very attentive to his mom – especially after his dad passed in the winter of 1966-67. Jim visited his mom Eleanor regularly when he lived in RI and taught at Salve, and while she lived in Portsmouth. Together they attended MOB events – that is, the Mothers of the Brothers Club activities – during and after his tenure as its moderator.
His young sister Kathleen, and her family, had a special place in his life as he grew older, especially with his grandniece Kathryn. Maintaining a friendship with his brothers Billy and John, however, proved a bit more challenging, since they lived outside of the RI area.
Although Jim taught at schools in the LINE district, he spent important time in Barrytown and Narragansett in formation ministry where he shared his love for English literature while teaching at the junior novitiate. He shared his love of theology and music, especially Gregorian chant, and liturgy while he inducted many of us into the life of the Brothers and more deeply into the life of the Church at Narragansett.
Jim Was a Very Intense Man
I knew Jim as a very intense man – a man who had deep feelings, deep thoughts, and a great desire to be-for-others as a De La Salle Christian Brother.
He was simultaneously, however, a tremendously refrained man – a man who guarded the expression of thoughts, of his personal positions, beliefs, and practices.
Jim Was a Brother Who Loved Intensely
He loved Scripture
He was fascinating to watch as he taught us in the Novitiate. I recall clearly as he wrote on the board, figuring out how best to expand upon his simple outline with meaningful thoughts and words for us to understand his insights.
Throughout his life, he dedicated time each day to lectio divina – praying with scripture. He read and reflected on the Spirit’s word as God’s love for humanity was revealed in scripture, especially in the person of Jesus; he reflected on the Spirit’s word in the life of John Baptist De La Salle; and he reflected on the Spirit’s word in his own life.
Later, it was a joy to engage with him in discussing a scriptural passage, how he understood it; how it meant to him. These discussions were sometimes brief, but they provided insight to the depth of his belief, of who he was, to what motivated him, to his strength, and to the battles with his inner demons!
He loved the Church
I also remember his postures and pauses as we studied the documents of the Second Vatican Council while he was our professorial subdirector. He read the compilation of documents in that small, thick red book with great intensity.
In preparing for this reflection, I considered his physical postures and his pauses, which, at the time, I thought was a deepening consideration of what the updated statements of the Church’s self-understanding was. In retrospect, however, those postures and pauses may simply have been his attempt to reconcile the updated challenges the Church was presenting to his beliefs.
He loved considering Church teachings. He loved celebrating Church and saint feasts, their liturgical settings and their significance to our daily lives. While he tried to make his spirituality alive, he wanted his instruction to inform our spiritual development. In his later years, he became comfortable to question, to challenge some teachings – more on that a little later!
Jim loved John Baptist De La Salle, the Brothers, and the Brothers’ mission.
Benilde didn’t talk much about his having been in the “small” in the UK. In fact, he spoke sparingly about his having made the transition to the American junior novitiate at Barrytown.
He was proud of the Brothers, even when being a Brother was a challenge to him.
I believe he treasured the opportunity to help form the juniors at Barrytown; and those of us for whom he was subdirector at Narragansett. These experiences deepened his sense of commitment to the work of JBDLS.
We first worked together at La Salle Academy in Providence. In addition to teaching religion to sophomore boys – what a treat – he founded the school’s adult chorus in anticipation of its then Centenary. The chorus was his pride and joy.
He marveled, he reveled at the chorus’ successful Christmas and spring concerts, even as e very stiffly and awkwardly turned to the audience to acknowledge its acclimation for the singers, and humbly, for himself. He accepted willingly the logistical headaches that accompanied these productions that included 50+ people who enjoyed being with him. And he really enjoyed the recognition when Alexander Peloquin invited us to perform with his nationally acclaimed Chorale. Earlier, he prided his association with George Kent, who led the RI icon chorus – The Westerly Chorus.
This year, some 50+ years later, LSA can be grateful to him – in part for his work with the Centennial Chorus, but most significantly for having started the long, tedious process of researching alums to establish today’s successful alumni association, as he worked with a part-time secretary, Colette Hanlon!
Jim was elected LINE Visitor in the 70’s, a time of turmoil in religious communities. As Visitor, he willingly gave his life for us.
He demonstrated his courage during this period of his life: he was willing to stand and state what he believed about our life, even in the face of no-little resistance from us.
Within months of his election as Visitor, the District Council directed him to travel to Ethiopia on Christmas Eve to confront some issues which developed in our then sub-district. He found himself in the Ethiopian airport, listening to the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” as it played in the terminal.
He knew that his days as Visitor would not be easy.
He continued to speak his belief about the Brothers’ life and spirituality, despite our sometimes deaf-ears. Though he was touched deeply for not having been elected to attend the General Chapter as the Visitor, he spoke very privately about his disappointment.
Many of his hoped-for initiatives as Visitor saw fruition, I believe, sometime later, during subsequent administrations.
Jim eventually had a breakdown and went to the House of Affirmation, where Dr Vincent Billota saved him psychologically and spiritually. After the House of Affirmation, he had a sabbatical to finally formally study music – another of his great loves.
He earned his BA in music at the University of RI and lived in the House of Prayer community in Wickford, RI, which both helped Jim to heal and to grow.
He Loved Music and His Students
He introduced the novices to the world of classical music in the ground floor music room on Friday or Saturday nights, when other young men our age were on “date nights” in the outside world.
With his BA in hand, he established a well-respected music and choral program at our sister college – Salve Regina University in Newport, RI.
I lived with Jim for many years at Gansett as we commuted to Salve Regina independently over two Narragansett Bay bridges on a daily basis. The Christmas and spring concerts and graduation performances were high points for him and presented the University well to the public. He put in long days, leaving between 9 – 10 am and returning often around 9 pm.
His years there were a time when he became more comfortable with the intense lover Jim was. Whitinsville provided him the courage to feel, to give voice to his passionate being, in brotherhood. That didn’t mean he was without psychological challenge.
Instead, I believe, it provided him the courage to be more human, to be more comfortable with who he was, with having his own stance on life, his own stance on the Church, on the Brothers, while still struggling along the way.
Eventually, some among us would say that Jimmy could be quite opinionated; even obstinate perhaps. But that was for a fairly short period later in his life.
It was during this time of engagement with students – college women and men – that I witnessed an ease of being more free within himself. His having earned a Master of Music in 1991 helped him feel even more accomplished!
Unfortunately, I can’t speak much to his experience as choral director at Manhattan College or to his experience in communities he lived in later in his life.
Sometime after Manhattan College though, he maintained friendship with his choral students when he began writing spiritual and theological reflections for these recent MC grads.
These reflections came to be known as “Reflections for Prayers in the Workplace.” He continued studying Church teachings and analyzing critical world issues. So he invited us to dialogue with each other about our spirituality, our prayer, and our life of faith. He offered these reflections to an ever-widening group of people: first to his students, but then to his friends, to former brothers who were now associated together through the regular newsletter of James Casey, and to Brother Visitors and other superiors in the US, and to us!
So, Jim, after some years of comfort at De La Salle Hall, life became more difficult with your additional diminishments, and alas, your passing.
We stand here today, by your earthly body, ready to place you in the holy ground of our cemetery where you will remain until that glorious day of resurrection.
In the meantime, rest in peace, my friend, my brother.
● Enjoy the presence of the Lord like never before!
● PLEASE eat some good food at the table of the Lord, not just your usual diet of bread and jam!
● Sit at the foot of our risen brother, Jesus Christ!
● Feel the embrace of our heavenly Father!
● Sense the warm depth of the Spirit!
● Let God’s love now fill you completely, with the peace you so earnestly sought when you were among us.
● Join the choir of angels. Don’t just listen to them!
● Sing fully, deeply, from the pit of your stomach as you taught us.
Be forever free.
Be forever at peace.
Allow yourself to love and be loved,
now and forever.
We will miss you!
Please Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Brother James Loxham, FSC
Born James Christopher Loxham in Nelson, Lancaster County England on 21 January 1934
Entered the Barrytown NY Novitiate in June 1950
Received the Religious Habit and Name Benilde James on 7 September 1950
Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Barrytown NY on 25 August 1959
Died at De La Salle Hall in Lincroft NJ on 5 March 2022
Tuesday, 8 March 2022
Visitation – 3.00pm to 4.30pm
Prayer of Remembrance – 4.45pm
De La Salle Hall
810 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft NJ 07738
Friday, 11 March 2022
Visitation – 3.00pm to 5.30pm
Christian Brothers Center
635 Ocean Road
Narragansett RI 02882
Saturday, 12 March 2022
Visitation – 9.00am to 10.00am
Mass of Christian Burial – 10.30am
Christian Brothers Center
635 Ocean Road
Narragansett RI 02882
Christian Brothers Center Cemetery
Brother James died peacefully at De La Salle Hall after a few days in hospice care.
The District of Eastern North America remembers Brother James with memorial liturgies according to the tradition of the Institute. Through their prayers, communities and individuals entrust Brother James to God’s loving care.
May he rest in peace.
De La Salle College (scholasticate)
Sacred Heart School
Saint Joseph’s Normal Institute
Mater Christi High School
District Administration (formation)
La Salle Academy
District Administration (Visitor)
La Salle Academy and Saint Brendan School
University of Rhode Island (studies)
Salve Regina College/University
District Administration (part-time formation)
The De La Salle School (part-time volunteer)
Saint Peter Claver Church (part-time catechist & musician)
Manhattan College (part-time archivist)
Martin de Porres (part-time volunteer)
Christian Brothers Center (resident)
De La Salle Hall (resident)