We regret to inform you of the passing on October 15, 2018 of Brother Darcy, our 24th President (1956-1960) and a 1936 graduate of the College.

He had been a recent resident at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home. Please see below for the eulogy:

BROTHER JOSEPH BERTRAND DARCY {1920-2018} Brother Joseph Bertrand Darcy, known as Joe to his family and Bert (an abbreviation of his religious name Bertrand) to his fellows religious, was one of those rare individuals blessed by God at birth with multiple gifts and talents. He was the second of four children born to his parents James Michael and Isabel (Kelly) Darcy who treasured each of them as a special gift from their all-loving Creator. While his sister, Marie, was taught by the Sisters of Mercy at Our Lady of Mercy Convent School, Bert and his two brothers (Douglas and James) were instructed by the Christian Brothers at St. Bonaventure’s College. All four family members achieved brilliant academic records, with older brother Douglas winning the 1935 island Jubilee Scholarship, and Joe, Jim and Marie also compiling outstanding academic records in their respective graduating years. Joe also displayed musical talents at an early age, playing the violin in the College orchestra and later earning a degree in piano and music theory. In college sports (football, basketball and hockey), Joe was a ‘no-holds-barred’, fierce competitor in inter-collegiate games. One presumes that as a high school graduate of great potential he had pondered prayerfully the meaning of “The Road Not Taken”, Robert Frost’s poetic gem. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. The ‘less traveled road” was his vocation as a teaching Brother with the Irish Christian Brothers to whose American Province training college he entered in 1936. A brilliant student, Bert had no difficulty in mastering the academic and professional programs of the Brothers’ Scholasticate. Later, he studied in New York City at the Jesuit Fordham University where he was awarded an MA in philosophy and then continued doctoral studies in philosophy at St. John’s University in Brooklyn. As was the custom of the day, his university studies were undertaken while teaching at his assigned school. Brother Darcy’s full-time teaching duties ended in1956 when he was appointed the President of St. Bonaventure’s College. During his six-year term as College President he ably faced the challenge of an increasingly large number of students from Grade I to Grade XII (in the year 1958 there were 820 boys on the roll (including 57 boarders from various parts of Newfoundland). A major accomplishment of his administration was the planning and building of a new primary school (now called Holland Hall) and his departure from the tradition of an all-male staff by hiring for the first time qualified women to teach boys in the early primary grades. His capable leadership qualities now clearly recognized, he moved into congregational administrative and leadership assignments full-time. In 1960 at age 40 he was appointed one of the members of the Leadership team of the American Province. Shortly afterwards in 1966, he was named the first Provincial Leader of the newly established St. Joseph’s (Canadian) Province. During his sixyear term of office his accomplishments were highly impressive: he established the Province Headquarters and Houses of Formation in Mono Mills, Ontario, and negotiated the opening of four new Christian Brothers’ schools in Newfoundland (Brother Rice, St. John’s; St. Pius X Boys, St. John’s; Laval HS, Placentia; and Roncalli High School, Avondale). In 1972 at a congregational chapter of delegates from throughout the Congregation, Brother Darcy was elected to the congregational leadership team, with headquarters in Rome, Italy, He thus became the Vicar General, of the world-wide Congregation of Christian Brothers. Having been re-elected as Vicar General in 1978, he spent a total of 12 years in that significant leadership post. It was a difficult, draining job, with particular responsibility for visitations to congregational educational institutes in 11 different countries. When his General Council term of office ended in 1984, at his request, he was missioned to a secondary school, An Dunan in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where religious bigotry was causing deadly clashes between Protestants and Catholics. He spent ten years in his assigned mission. In 1994 He returned to his home in St. John’s, Newfoundland. In retirement he was now to begin the most exciting creative work of his life. The “work of noble note” turned out to be – in retirement – his astonishingly creative output in several genres: music composition, historical research, theological reflections and computer graphics. His musical composition output was enormous. Possibly his greatest composition was his enthusiastically received ‘Miracle In Stone,” a Sacred Music Drama for the 150th Anniversary of the foundation of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist here in St. John’s. He also composed a lovely Ave Maria on the occasion of the Mass in the Basilica to honor the Venerable Nano Nagle, PBVM, May 7, 2014. His historical research resulted in detailed, comprehensive histories of the founding and development of the three Christian Brothers schools here in St. John’s: St. Bonaventure’s College, St. Patrick’s Hall Schools and Holy Cross Schools. He also wrote “Fire Upon the Earth’ – the Life and Times of Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming, OSF; and “Fair and Foul the Weather” – Br. Luke Slattery’s Presidency of St. Bonaventure’s College, 1889 – 1895. Brother Darcy’s major theological reflections were the Talks he prepared and delivered for publication in the Monitor, the archdiocesan review. These Talks were also delivered publicly over Radio Station VOWR, January to June 1999. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not emphasize that Brother Darcy was sustained in his active life by a profound sense of daily prayer. Christ was the centre of his life. Truly he could say with the renowned United Nations Secretary General, Dag Hammaarskjold: “For all that has been: THANKS; For all that will be: ‘YES.”

We thought it appropriate to include a dedication to Brother Darcy which was published in The Adelphian in 1961:

“This ADELPHIAN is respectfully and affectionately dedicated to Reverend Brother J.B. Darcy, who during his term of office portrayed the highest ideals of Christian virtue as a religious, as an educator and as a friend.

Brother Joseph Darcy’s first association with St. Bonaventure’s College goes back to September, 1926, when he was enrolled as a Grade 1 pupil. His scholastic career enjoyed repetitious success as he was consistently near the top, or placed first in his class. Indeed, all during his high school years the records show that he led his class in the June examinations. His placing first in the graduation class culminated eleven years of admirable progress.

Joseph Darcy’s successes academically were paralleled by his athletic prowess. That he was a proficient and gentlemanly sportsman was indicated by the fact that he won the Junior Victor Ludorum in 1933 and in his last two years at St. Bonaventure’s he was awarded the Intermediate honors.

Cultural activities also played a large part in the life of our past president. A skilled musician, Brother Darcy plays both the piano and the violin creditably, so much so that later as a college orchestra director, Brother Darcy earned his A.T.C.L. degree with the Trinity College of Music in London.

Upon graduation from St. Bonaventure’s in 1936, Joseph Darcy entered the Congregation of the Christian Brothers of Ireland at West Park. After his novitiate and college years, Brother Darcy’s first mission in 1940 took him back to his Alma Mater. There he put his God-given talents to work as a teacher, orchestra director and coach of the football team.

Brother’s second mission in 1947 took him to Rice High School in New York. His inherent leadership qualities soon became evident as his next appointment in 1952 was a Superior of St. Gabriel’s Scholasticate where he took a leading part in training men for the religious brotherhood.

Brother Darcy’s fourth mission in 1956 sent him back to his Alma Mater once again, which was nearing its one hundredth birthday. In the meantime, Brother Darcy earned his Master’s Degree in Philosophy and is now presently working for his doctorate in the same field.

His term of office at St. Bonaventure’s brought many self-evident as well as distinguished blessings. The largest single advancement was the erection of a new grammar school on the former location of the tennis courts or Brother Strapp’s playground. This building temporarily stemmed the prolific tide of enrollments and is designed so that, if needed, and additional section may be added to house any classrooms.

The interior beautification and enlargement of classrooms was indeed due in no small manner to Brother Darcy’s efforts. The Aula Maxima lost its old wooden block floor to a modern tile floor. The walls and ceiling were also given a more appropriate appearance; the stage was improved by the acquisition of new curtains and stage lights, and it was enlarged. The external beautification of the old building was completed and now it adds color and beauty to the city at large.

To alleviate the problem of communication and to simplify and facilitate organization, a public address system was installed in all classrooms.

School facilities were greatly enhanced by the addition of an artificial ice plant.

In the principal sphere of education Brother Darcy has served as President of the Newfoundland Teachers’ Association; and in the realm of hockey he has served several seasons as President of the Inter-Collegiate Hockey League.

In the all-important religious field, Brother Darcy is credited with starting the now-flourishing Sodalities of Our Lady.

During his term of office Brother Darcy introduced into the junior classes modernized teaching methods and introduced French classes into the grammar school grades.

The beautification of the Chapel and the new lighting fixtures were other improvements which he made to existing facilities during his term of office.

It was indeed fitting that St. Bonaventure’s should have as its principal Brother Darcy during the one hundredth year of the College’s history.

It is with grateful hearts that the ADELPHIAN wishes Brother Darcy every grace and blessing in his new assignment. May his work prosper and may he enjoy many more years of health and happiness in the Brotherhood of Christ.”