Rest in Peace Br John Donatus Brazil

Brother John Donatus FPM went to his eternal rest on Friday the 3rd of February 2023 and the Requiem Mass was held in Mount St. Joseph Blarney Road, Cork on Monday the 06 of February 2023.

A tribute was presented to him and the Homily was given by Raymond Dwyer FPM.

The Homily is as follows;

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the First Reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes, we are reminded that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens – a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

So we gather here today at Mount St. Joseph for the Requiem Mass of Brother John Donatus Brazil – John to his family, Donatus to his fellow Presentation Brothers.

In the Second Reading, St. Paul reminds us that “the life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord.” This was very true of Brother Donatus; he was a man of humility who followed the example of Christ by seeing all that is good in others without distinction.  He saw all people as God’s children. Brother Donatus influenced each of us in different ways; he influenced thousands of students whom he taught for many years in Ireland and the West Indies.

On behalf of the Brothers and everybody here today, we express our sincere sympathy and support to the Brazil family in their sorrow and loss.

The loss of Brother Donatus will be keenly felt among the Brothers especially Brother De Lellis Sullivan and Brother Tom Canning who served and lived in community with Donatus during his years in the West Indies.

Brother Donatus was born on September 2nd, 1934 in Kilcaroon, Clogheen, Co. Tipperary to Michael and Catherine Brazil. After completing his primary schooling, Donatus moved in 1947 to Coláiste Muire, Douglas, Cork, the Juniorate of the Presentation Brothers.  He soon established himself as a keen student and as an accomplished footballer and athlete. He would easily have got his place on the Tipperary minor team but instead joined the Presentation Brothers’ Novitiate in Mount St. Joseph in 1950; he took the religious name, Donatus.  In 1952 he made First Profession of Vows.  Donatus made Final Profession of Vows in 1962.

In the early 1960’s he attended University College, Cork where he graduated with a B.Sc.  He completed a Higher Diploma in Education in 1967.

In 1962 Donatus volunteered for the West Indies Mission and was posted to the island of St. Lucia from 1962-1965. He returned to Ireland for a year to complete his Higher Diploma in Education. In 1967 he returned to the West Indies; he was assigned to Trinidad where he taught at San Fernando College for one year. He then moved to St. Lucia in 1968 and taught at St. Mary’s College for five years. In 1973 Donatus was transferred to the island of Barbados and served there until 1990. He was a man of all trades; over the years he served as Vice-Principal, Principal, Bursar, Assistant Superior and Superior. Donatus served on a number of Province Leadership Teams during his time in the West Indies. He was Province Leader of the West Indies from 1984-1990 and he was Province Leader of the USA/Canada/West Indies from 1993-1999. In 1999 Donatus was elected to the Congregation Leadership Team and served for 6 years. He was the Congregation Procurator from 1999-2017. He also became the Congregation Archivist for fifteen years.

in 2017 he moved into the Maiville Community.  Later that year he suffered ill health and from then till his death, he was wheelchair-bound.

I had the privilege to have known Donatus over the years but especially when we worked together in the West Indies where he was my Province Leader. I remember fondly our afternoon walks along Vigie Beach in St. Lucia; we listened to one another and supported each other.

In the Gospel, Jesus invites the faithful disciple home: “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest…Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.”

So let us not mourn the passing of Brother Donatus but celebrate his homecoming. The faith that Donatus had, and we have, is that those who have gone before us are still close to us, that the bonds of friendship and love still endure, that we can communicate with them and that they can help us. In faith and with this knowledge, let us receive the gift of peace that the Lord is giving us today.

Over the past few days, I have been asking Presentation Brothers and members of the Brazil family for their memories of Donatus.  The qualities that were invariably mentioned were his humility and the care he gave to others.

Donatus did not want honours; he was just following the example of Blessed Edmund Rice and in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

“When I was hungry you fed me, when I was sick you visited me, when I was homeless, you housed me…”

We thank God for the positive influence Donatus has had on the lives of the young men he formed during his time as their educator and who went on to excel in various walks of life and witness to the Christian values instilled in them.

We thank God today for this gifted man from Kilcaroon whom we were privileged to know at some time over the years. We all have different memories of Brother Donatus; mine would be a man of humility, a welcoming smile, and a kind word of encouragement.

We express special gratitude to the Brothers and the staff in Maiville for their loving and compassionate care of Donatus over the past 6 years.

Brother Donatus would want me to conclude this homily by thanking all of you for praying for him and with him this morning.