‘A Happy and Wonderful Experience’

Letters from former Notre Dame High School students still arrive at the St. Joseph Center addressed to Bro. Francis Joseph Feeley, CSC. Bro. Francis, who taught religion, business, typing and Spanish at the Holy Cross school in West Haven, CT for 35 years, kept up the relationships he formed with students. “At the time, you don’t realize that you have an influence on them,” he said. “They do remember you. Just the little things [you do as a teacher] sometimes will put a spark into them.”

Bro. Francis’ journey to a religious vocation began with an advertisement in the Sacred Heart Messenger. He attended Catholic school but knew little about the Congregation of Holy Cross. Bro. Edward (Hyacinth) Sniatecki, CSC, the Vocation Director at the time, was a big influence. “As soon as you wrote him, he responded immediately,” Bro. Francis remembered. Bro. Edward also welcomed Bro. Francis and the other novices to the novitiate at the St. Joseph Center when they entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1957. “He had a big impact on us,” Bro. Francis added. “We always used to kid that he snagged us into this in the best sense of the word.”

He calls life as a religious brother, a happy and wonderful experience. “We’re part of Holy Cross, which is so wide.” Bro. Francis offers this advice to others considering a religious vocation,” You have to make yourself happy. You can’t depend on anybody else; you have to find what you want to do and enjoy it.”