Brother David Grant Andrews, CSC
March 16, 1944 – January 5, 2015
The prayers of the members of the Congregation of Holy Cross are requested for the repose of the soul of Brother David Grant Andrews, CSC, a member of the Moreau Province of Brothers and Priests. Born in Mansfield, Massachusetts, Br. David died in Ghent, NY, on January 5, 2015. He was in his 51st year as a professed religious in the Congregation.
Brother David Grant Andrews, CSC, was born on March 16, 1944 in Mansfield, Massachusetts and was baptized one month later at St. Mary’s Church in Mansfield. He was the fifth of the ten children born to Emery Collins Andrews, a house painter, and Elizabeth Bernier Andrews, the director of a nursing home.
David’s elementary education, begun at the public grammar school in Berkley, Massachusetts, was completed at Immaculate Conception School in Taunton, Massachusetts. When his faith was sacramentally confirmed on May 10, 1959 at St. Mary’s Church in Taunton, David adopted the name of a formidable patron saint, Ignatius, which he often used thereafter as his middle name.
From early on, David felt that God was calling him to a life of service in the Church. The family move to Taunton gave young David the opportunity to attend Msgr. James Coyle High School, administered and staffed by the Brothers of Holy Cross, Eastern Province. There, not only was he taught by Brothers, but he participated in the Andre Club which offered guidance on vocations to all walks of life. During his last two years at Coyle, David took the job of washing the breakfast dishes at the Brothers’ residence. In the daily personal contact he had with the Brothers, he found serious conversation, encouragement, and the example of love shared. Before the end of his junior year, he had decided upon his vocation.
Upon graduating from Coyle High School in June of 1962, David entered St. Joseph Juniorate, Valatie, New York and was received into the novitiate there in August of 1962. Br. David made his first profession of vows as a religious on August 23, 1963 and his final profession on August 22, 1969.
In September of 1963, Brother began his undergraduate studies at Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1967. He later earned Master’s degrees in Teaching English (Rhode Island College, 1975) and in Social and Systematic Theology (Boston College, 1977). Brother David completed pre-law studies at the University of Notre Dame, in 1991 and received his JD from the University of Loyola School of Law, New Orleans, Louisiana in May of 1995.
Br. David began his ministry in Holy Cross as an English Teacher, first at Holy Cross High School, Flushing, New York (1967-1970), next at Cardinal Mooney High School, Rochester, New York (1970-1972), and then at Bishop McNamara High School, Forestville, Maryland (1972-1976). He was an excellent teacher in the Classical tradition, leading students to discover for themselves the truths to be learned.
In 1977, Br. David stepped out of the classroom and became the administrator of the St. Joseph Spiritual Life Center at Valatie, again facilitating the discovery of truth in God. In 1981, Br. David took on a new role when he was chosen as the Executive Director of the Edward Vincent O’Hara Institute for Rural Ministry. Under his five-year leadership, the Institute rose to national prominence for its authoritative work in the field of rural pastoral ministry and as a resource to the National Catholic Rural Life Conference of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Br. David then served as the Director of Education for the Eastern Province of the Brothers of Holy Cross, including a year as President of Bishop McNamara High School (1989-1990). After completing his law degree, at the University of Loyola (1995), Br. David was named the Executive Director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference (1995-2007). To this and to succeeding roles as the Coordinator of Justice and Peace for the Congregation of Holy Cross (2006-2010) and as a Senior Representative for Food & Water Watch (2008-2014), Br. David brought his remarkable talents. With faith and compassion, he expanded his home experience of living in a large family to a global context in which all must care and share in order to survive. A truth-speaker, he fearlessly and eloquently voiced concerns about our relationship to the earth and to each other, challenging the complacent, the powerful, and the short-sighted profit-makers.
Highly respected within the Congregation of Holy Cross, Br. David served on provincial councils and was a stimulating and enjoyable presence at province and general chapters. He has a long list of publications covering issues in rural pastoral ministry, food justice, and sustainable food systems. His expertise made him an honored, sought-after lecturer and a valued member of many boards and councils.
When failing health demanded his attention, Br. David retired to St. Joseph Center in Valatie, but maintained a keen interest in community news and the world issues that stayed close to his heart. On Monday morning, January 5, 2015, while receiving his dialysis treatment in Ghent, New York, Br. David peacefully slipped the bonds of this good earth and went to meet the God of Truth who had called him since early on. May our dear Brother David rest in peace.
– Brother Richard Critz, CSC
Two Holy Cross Brothers
Two Holy Cross Brothers so different…
Andre: standing over there quietly in the corner; small of physical stature; uneducated; met the sick and afflicted who came to him at St. Joseph’s Oratory with prayer and oil…
David: probably never stood quietly in a corner his whole life; large in personality; highly educated; with a global vision, he reached out to improve the quality of life of all humankind as he lobbied and advocated for governmental & organizational policy change…
Br. Andre & Br. David: so different—yet so similar in that God used them both to touch the world with healing…
From David’s published obituary:
“With faith and compassion, he expanded his home experience of living in a large family to a global context in which all must care and share in order to survive. A truth-speaker, he fearlessly and eloquently voiced concerns about our relationship to the earth and to each other, challenging the complacent, the powerful, and the short-sighted profit-makers.”
In David’s own words:
“Eating is a moral act. Our tables need to include those who’ve been excluded. Our talk needs to include our farmers, their families, the rural communities, our environment, our landscape, our countryside, religious and moral values. By our choices we shape our world.”
- “By our choices we shape our world.”
- “All must care and share in order to survive.”
Our brother David: he wanted to make it better … Well done, good and faithful servant!
Notes from Funeral Homily
Delivered by Rev. Robert DeLeon, CSC
St. Joseph’s Center, Valatie, New York
Saturday, January 10, 2015
The Road Less Traveled
To David’s family, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, and to his many friends who have come here to bid him farewell, I extend the condolences of so many Holy Cross Religious, Brothers, Priests and Sisters, who knew and loved him as you did. One only had to visit David’s Facebook page over the past few days to grasp the extent of his impact on so many lives, and to experience the long, low ache that has settled on so many hearts in so many places as we gather here to remember him and to accompany him to his place of rest.
Recently, Pope Francis inaugurated the Year of Consecrated Life. He inaugurated the year by issuing a brief letter to religious Priests, Brothers and Sisters throughout the world. Written in a style that we have come to know, love and respect, Pope Francis’ letter is short and direct. He begins his letter by enumerating the three aims he proposes for our reflection during this special year: look to the past with gratitude; live the present with passion; embrace the future with hope.
We can certainly apply these to David’s life. Today, the gratitude is not his, it is ours. I sum up that gratitude with just one of the many posts on his Facebook page, this one from a former student:
“Good bye, Brother Dave! You were the best teacher at a time most needed. You gave me The Hobbit, a gift most treasured. How fortunate I am because I know you. You left this planet a better place. You made a difference. Thanks!”
It is a great tribute to the first phase of David’s ministry as a Brother of Holy Cross, his years as an educator.
While David always lived his life with passion, passionate advocacy was a hallmark of the second phase of David’s ministry. His work for justice, peace and the integrity of creation took him far and wide. And he brought to this work sensitivity and skill, dedication and determination. And again, I can verify this by sharing another quote from his Facebook page, this one from Latin America.
“A big loss for all of us in Latin America who worked with him on the right to food and the access to clean water! We will miss you in all our struggles! How many meetings, how many events were we together? Struggles at the United Nations and the FAO. We will miss you Br. David, but your memories and your spirit will be with us. Thanks to people like you, Latin America’s poorest people, today, are seeing the changes in their lives. Forever missed!”
Look to the past with gratitude; live the present with passion; embrace the future with hope. For David, the future is timeless, painless now, and we can rest assured that, as St. Paul expressed it in his letter to the Ephesians, God has granted to David infinitely more than he could have asked or imagined. In David’s memory, let us all pledge to embrace the future with hope.
David was a person who was as serious and knowledgeable as he was outgoing and personable. And he had the ability to bring these traits together in a way that could be humorous and entertaining. I call this the quirky side of David Andrews. The quirky side of David had its truly entertaining moments and even some annoying moments. However, the latter, in retrospect, always engendered a laugh to those in the know. One of those moments took place on Cape Cod in the early 1970s when a group of us pooled our vacation allowance and rented what we thought was a spacious cottage on the Cape. The spacious cottage turned out to be a run-down shack which required five of the seven of us to carve out sleeping space on broken down sofas or on the floor. One evening, after dining on fried Spam, corn-on-the-cob and very cheap wine (our budgets were more limited than we imagined) we finally put lights out around 1 a.m. only to have David initiate a conversation with those sharing the floor space by throwing out the deeply philosophical question: “Have you ever thought about ‘How do you know you know’?” The conversation rambled on for about half an hour with David egging on the participants via the Socratic Method until those in more comfortable quarters insisted on stopping the nonsense so we could get some rest and prepare for another day of sun, surf, Spam, corn-on-the-cob, and cheap wine.
I also recall his humorous endeavors coming through very poignantly at one of our General Chapters in Rome. David had acquired a narrow-brimmed fedora – I think he was channeling the Italian film maker Federico Fellini – and he would saunter to the front row of the auditorium for each of our plenary sessions, usually after everyone else was seated. But it was his reporting for his working group that got our attention. David started off each report with a quote from memory from a poem. And whether it was Frost, or Elliott, or Cummings, or Wordsworth, each poem was in some way connected to the topic he was addressing. Humorous, entertaining, and, I dare say, genius.
Similarly, one time when I traveled to Iowa for a provincial visit with David, I saw him in action again. I accompanied him to a talk he gave on rural life and farming issues at a National Catholic Rural Life Conference. He spoke about our American values and how they were birthed and grew out of our agrarian heritage. He did this by interspersing the talk with nursery rhyme quotes – Baa, Baa Black Sheep, have you any wool? Little Bo Peep losing her sheep. Mary’s little lamb following her to school. And to mix it up a bit, there were verses from Old McDonald’s Farm sung by David. David rarely failed to catch and hold our attention.
So now, to appropriately honor the memory of our friend, our brother, whose time with us we will always treasure, allow me to turn this tribute over to David’s fellow New Englander, the late Poet Laureate, Robert Frost:
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Thank you, David, for taking the road less traveled. You did make a difference. Rest in Peace.
Delivered by Brother George C. Schmitz, CSC
St. Joseph’s Center, Valatie, New York
Saturday, January 10, 2015
I would like to celebrate his life as my brother. There are so many good memories. I will choose a few.
On September 1981 my husband died suddenly. David came home and handled everything for me. He did not go back home until he knew we were okay.
David would take us to the zoo, to the Cape, to Church. My girls would not sit with him in Church because he sang the loudest and off key. We went out to eat and David would say, “Want to see how to get a free meal?” Amy and Susan were in awe and I said “Don’t listen to him, he lies.” He would sit back and tell them “Brothers don’t lie!”
So many memories. So much love.
My granddaughter Kaytlyn is a grade A senior at Stonehill College. She is going to study in Austria. My brother was determined she was going and would not rest until he knew she was all set.
When Brother David became ill, I vowed to stay by him for as long as he needed.
Taking a page from my father, “Do not say goodbye. Say I’ll see you later.”
Kathleen Viveiros (sister)
It Takes a Village
We all know the African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
David’s life was so much bigger than many of ours will ever be. Certainly his life was bigger than mine will ever be!
He took more planes to more places than I ever hope to do. He gave more speeches to more people. He had more friends, wrote more articles than anyone else I know.
In a way, it took many villages, many groups of people, to produce and support a person as large as David Andrews!
You see persons from many of those groups here:
- His wonderful, loving, numerous brothers and sisters and their children who shared last night
- His loving adopted family, the Clarks
- His former students, close to his heart
- His beloved community from Iowa days and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference
- His generous, final community from Food and Water Watch, who kept their mission while trying to support Dave in this last year
- His brothers and sisters in global Holy Cross
- The wonderful staff here, and his brothers and friends here in this House
Watching everyone last night and today, I think David wants me to speak to you on his behalf. He wants me to thank all of you for your love and care for him.
Without you – and all you gave to David – we wouldn’t have such a person to celebrate! Someone who rode his individuality his whole life long with grace and love and wit.
From all of us, David, “Thank you for your larger-than-life character, for who you were. It will be fun to see you again and get your take on this last trip! Enjoy heaven, and rest in peace, Brother and Friend.
Br. Mark Knightly, CSC
Brother David Grant Andrews, CSC served the Lord faithfully in the following ministries:
- 1967-1970 Teacher, Holy Cross HS – Flushing, New York
- 1970-1972 Teacher, Cardinal Mooney HS – Rochester, NY
- 1972-1976 Teacher, Bishop McNamara HS – Forestville, MD
- 1976-1977 Student, Boston College
- 1977-1981 Administrator St. Joseph Spiritual Life Center – Valatie, NY
- 1981-1986 Executive Director Edward V. O’Hara Institute for Rural Ministry
- 1986-1991 Province Director of Education – New Rochelle, NY
- 1989-1990 President, Bishop McNamara HS – Forestville, MD
- 1991-1992 Sabbatical University of Notre Dame
- 1992-1995 Loyola University Law School – New Orleans, LA
- 1995-2007 Executive Director National Catholic Rural Life Conference
- 2006-2010 Justice and Peace Coordinator Congregation of Holy Cross
- 2007-2008 Sabbatical Catholic Theological Union
- 2008-2014 Senior Rep., Food & Water Watch – Washington, DC
- 2014-2015 Retired, St. Joseph Center – Valatie, NY