Above all else remember, Brother, that
Your God is forever faithful.
Brother Labré was born to Arthur J. and Frances Dillon on May 16, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. He was raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. The Dillon family was a member of Holy Cross parish where young Arthur met the Xaverian Brothers who taught the fifth through eighth grades. His sisters Frances and Teresa pre-deceased their Brother. His sister Pat Cairney is the sole survivor of his family. If Brother had lived he would have celebrated his eighty-fourth birthday on May 16.
Upon graduating from Holy Cross, Brother Labré went to the Brothers’; Juniorate in Peabody, Massachusetts. On March 19, 1952, Arthur received the religious habit and name ‘Labré’ at Sacred Heart Novitiate in Fort Monroe, Virginia. On March 19, 1957, Brother Labré professed perpetual vows. As was the practice, after novitiate, Brother Labré did his university studies at Catholic University of America earning his BA in History.
Brother Labré’ first assignment would take him to Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky where he spent six happy hears (1957-1963). The mission of the Congregation would next take Brother to the recently opened Nazareth High School in his native Brooklyn. During the twelve years, Brother Labré was stationed at Nazareth (1963-1975), he earned his Master’s from the University of Notre Dame. His teaching ministry would take him to Mount Saint Joseph’s High School in Baltimore, Maryland (1975-1979), then to Xavier High School in Middletown Connecticut (1979-1981)/ He then would be stationed at Saint Joseph’s Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey (1982-1987). He then returned to Xavier from 1997-2012 when he retired at Xaverian House in Danvers, Massachusetts.
While I did not know Brother Labré very well, I do have some lasting impressions. I believe Labré in his own way discovered the mystery of God’s faithfulness to him. Brother was a very well educated man. A sharp thinker. He had a quick wit which he used with a touch of sarcasm to counter any argument. Brother Labré was able to talk about a wide variety of topics. In my contact with him as General Superior, I discovered Brother was not shy about disagreeing or expressing his own well thought out opinion.
Gradually, Brother, you will realize that the
Cost of your discipleship is your very life,
freely consecrated to God in
poverty, celibacy and obedience
and offered to the world
as a sign of love and hope.
Faithfulness to his call is clear. On March 19th Brother celebrated 65 years as a Xaverian. Brother. Labré also came to understand the passion and suffering of Christ as a result of the colon cancer he had. Those who attended to him in his illness know very well Brother had a low tolerance for pain, a quick temper that helped him vent his anger at the powerlessness he experienced in dealing with his condition especially the effect of the colostomy. Brother bore his illness with courage and I am sure with faith and appreciation for all who were there helping him.
Let us pray that our Brother Labré experiences the power of God’s loving faithfulness and that Brother rejoices that the cost of his discipleship is a life well lived in both good moments and bad ones. May Labré rest in the peace of Christ.
Brother Edward Driscoll, C.F.X. General Superior
Monday, May 8, 2017
2:30-3:30 Visitation in Chapel of St. John’s Prep
3:30 Mass followed by burial