It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our much esteemed team member Brother Fintan Broderick, who died on 2nd August 2016 after a short illness.
Brother Fintan was a quiet, gentle and prayerful man who had been a member of the Retreat Team here in Glanaulin House since the opening of the Pastoral Centre.
Brother Fintan grew up on a farm in Connemara and he never lost his beautiful Connemara accent or his love of nature and the outdoors. He was able to identify most plants and birds on sight, which was a great source of wonder to the rest of us townies on the team. He was regularly to be found tending the flowerbeds here in the Pastoral Centre grounds or, until very recently, putting on his high visibility jacket and going for a cycle up the Glen Road onto the Colinglen Road and beyond.
Brother Fintan joined the De La Salle Brothers Juniorate in Castletown, at the age of 16. He trained as a primary school teacher initially and taught in the Lasallian primary school in Kildare, for 3 years before continuing his studies and obtaining a science degree from UCC. Upon completion of his degree Brother Fintan commenced work as a science teacher and spent the remainder of his teaching career in Lasallian post-primary schools, in Macroom, Ardee, Keady, Portadown and Downpatrick.
His background as a Science teacher was a great asset to our team and proof that belief in both God and Science is possible.
After he retired from teaching, Br. Fintan did a course on spirituality in Milltown Institute, before being asked to become part of the Retreat Team, in the new Pastoral Centre which was being set up in Belfast. Brother Fintan agreed and when the Centre opened in 2001, he was part of the team. He loved his work as a Retreat Facilitator and said:
I love working with the young people who come to us and I’m always impressed by their genuine goodness. I also admire the dedication of the members of our team, as well as those of other teams doing similar work.
Brother Fintan made an impression on the young people who came to our Centre and we know this because return visitors always asked about him and if he wasn’t working on the day they had come back they would express disappointment. Questions such as, “Where’s the Brother?” “Does Fr. Fintan still work here?” “Is Brother Fintan here today?” are frequently put to the team.
For many years, Brother Fintan ran the tuck shop here in the Centre and the young people who would come here would be delighted at being able to purchase sweets and drinks at prices significantly lower than the local shops. The tuck shop trolley and its contents were kept under lock and key by Brother Fintan (probably just as well considering the chocolate-loving team mates he was working with,) but when a box of Mars bars had almost reached its sell by date, he would donate them to us:)
Despite being well past pension age, Brother Fintan was young at heart and full of energy and had a desire to continue working and evangelising for as long as he possibly could. He embraced modern technology beginning with the mobile phone and progressing to a laptop, Mp3 player and e-Reader. He was able to keep in touch with family and friends via his phone and email. He was an avid reader and whilst he loved books, he also loved his e-Reader and the fact that he could purchase a book in just an instant, and as a lover of music, he had the same wonder over his Mp3 player, which contained everything from The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel to Irish traditional and classical music.
Brother Fintan had a great love of Irish language and culture. He loved the literature and poetry of Ireland and had love of Celtic spirituality and the Irish tradition and expression of our Christian heritage. And of course he loved the GAA and all sport and he kept abreast of all the latest hurling and football news.
Although he was a quiet man, a listener rather than a talker, he had a great sense of humour and enjoyed a good laugh and a bit of craic. He loved the gatherings of the Lasallian teams that happen twice yearly and the many other retreat team gatherings and courses we attended. He enjoyed the celebrations that would take place here in the house for the Community and team members birthdays. All of these things were life giving to him.
Br. Fintan was a very prayerful man, and nowhere was this more evident than in his knowledge of and love for Scripture. Not only had he studied Scripture, but he had prayed it and often in our praying together as a team, Brother Fintan’s insights into Scripture brought great richness to our understanding.
It was this deep faith which propelled Brother Fintan to keep working on the team long beyond the point where anyone might reasonably be expected to. Even though he had a number of health problems in recent years, he kept going and never complained. Although there were times when he was experiencing pain and discomfort, he insisted upon working. To him, service was his calling and it was one he lived, right to the end.
Brother Fintan approached his final days in much the way he approached life, with trust in God he continued to go about his daily business without complaining and he died as he lived, peacefully and in faith.
Brother Fintan will be remembered with great love by all of us on the team and in the Community here in Glanaulin and by all of those whose lives he touched. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.