The shrill ring of the telephone and the laconic announcement of the operator, “Hold the line for a call from Crossgar,” aroused neither concern nor conjecture in St. Mary’s Retreat on the afternoon of the Feast of St. Joseph. Brother Brendan of the Drum-Mohr community had been recuperating in St. Patrick’s Juniorate for some weeks, and the telephone call was confidently presumed to be intimation of his anticipated return to his own community. There was certainly no presage of the sad tidings which it relayed: Brother Brendan would never return to the community where he was so highly esteemed and so deservedly appreciated. Death, sudden and unexpected, had claimed him as its latest Passionist victim; God had called him to the hallowed ranks of the small, select hand of grand Brothers who have made such a positive contribution to the spirit and the history of the Province of St. Patrick.
When the first impact of the sudden. sad news had passed, we, who knew him so well, remembered that this was the end which Brother Brendan would have wished. His deeply sensitive nature ever dreaded the possibility of long Illness or indisposition; he recoiled from the idea of the burden which such happening would inflict on his fellow religious. Yet he himself was unsurpassed in his kindly, self-sacrificing, devoted attention to the sick. His charity was unbounded. But, then. that was characteristic of his entire life. Missioners setting out on inconvenient journeys could always be sure of him as a Mass server even at the most abnormally early hour; extra work always found him the first and most willing volunteer. And never did he seek or expect exemption from routine duties or any other recompense for his added labours. A perfectionist by nature, his untiring energy rebelled against the slightest suggestion of half-measures in his assigned tasks, and the quiet, unfailing regularity of his religious life unmistakably indicated the interior motive of his exterior effort.
Not every member of the Province could claim to know Brother Brendan well, for consciousness of his defective hearing accentuated his naturally shy disposition. Only in the company of his intimate brethren was he completely at ease. But his droll philosophy of life, his witty quips and comments, and his hearty laugh were a daily source of merriment in the community in which he lived. His big-hearted nature endeared him to the so often importunate poor who sought aid at the monastery door; and his sympathetic appeal made him, more than any priest, the valued confidant of non-Catholic tradesmen who frequented the Retreat; he was the ever patient and trusted recipient of their problems and troubles. The last letter which he received from Scotland was from a non-Catholic postman, who, though now retired, still cherished grateful memories of the kindness of Brother Brendan in former years. When he heard of the illness of Brother Brendan. his reaction was: “Give me his address, for I must write to him. That was a true gentleman.” It was an unconscious but fitting epitaph, for one could multiply instances of the esteem which his kindly nature won in almost thirty-two years of Passionist life.
Patrick Cassidy was born in Enniskillen in 1907, and made his religious profession in St. Gabriel’s Retreat in 1930. His first appointment was to the former St. Patrick’s Retreat, Belfast. and subsequently he served in Ardoyne, Dankeith and Fatima House. The last ten years of his life were spent in St. Mary’s, Drum-Mohr. He was interred at Holy Cross, Ardoyne. Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated by Very Rev. Fr. Provincial.
We shall miss his genial, charitable presence in our midst., May the striking co-incidence that he died on the Feast of St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death, be a happy omen of his immediate and eternal bliss. May he rest in peace.
On the Feast of St. Joseph, the Community of St. Mary’s Retreat, Drum-mohr, Musselburgh,
Scotland, lost a valued member in the death of Brother Brendan (Cassidy), C.P.
Brother Brendan had been in indifferent health for a considerable time, and had gone to St. Patrick’s Juniorate, Crossgar, for a change and rest. While there he became seriously ill and, strengthened by the grace of the Last Sacraments, passed away on March 19th.
Known in the world as Patrick Cassidy, he was born in Enniskillen in 1907, and twenty-three years later took Passionist vows at St. Gabriel’s, The Graan. Since then he has served the Congregation in many Retreats of the Province. For a number of years he belonged to the Community of the old Juniorate at Wheatfield House, Belfast, and was later transferred to Holy Cross Retreat, Ardoyne.
On March, 21st, at Holy Cross Church, the Solemn Obsequies were held, Very Rev. Father Fergus, C.P., Provincial, presiding. The interment took place in the Community Cemetery.
May he rest in Peace.
(The Cross, Vol. LIII, 1962-63; p. 16)