The late Brother Celestine Killigrew (November 28) attributed his own vocation to the impact which Brother Julian had on him as a young man at the Good Counsel Annex of Cardinal Hayes High School. It was easy to imagine Julian inspiring vocations. A kind and gentle man, deeply spiritual, Julian inspired affection in all whom he met.
Julian began his teaching career at St. X. Over the years he was stationed at Mission High School, Cardinal Hayes and the Good Counsel annex of Cardinal Hayes where he was the director. In 1961 Brother Nilus picked Julian to be one of the pioneers in Bolivia, and pioneer he did. During his Pontificate, Pope John XXIII called upon American religious to send 10% of their personnel to Latin America. The Xaverian Brothers responded, and in July of 1961 Brother Nilus sent Brother Julian to Bolivia “as a scout.” In October Brother Nilus and Brother Thomas More joined him and decided upon Carmen Pampa as the site for the Xaverians first mission in South America. From September until December in 1962 Julian scoured the Prelacy seeking students for Carmen Pampa. In his chronology of our early days in Bolivia Julian commented, “Eventually we accepted a non-descript group of thirty-five.” This “non-descript group” became devoted to the Xaverian Brothers. Julian served on the first faculty of Carmen Pampa and eventually founded our school in the Alto, San Jose, where he served as Superior. In the early days at the Alto there was neither water nor electricity, and Julian had to fight the Bolivian government for both.
In 1970 he went to the Colegio Maryknoll where he became the Director of the Intermedio (7-9 grades). He had hoped to teach but his abilities as an administrator were well recognized. In 1972 he returned to the Alto and in 1974 he returned to the United States for good. He left an indelible mark on the Xaverian mission in Bolivia and on the people he served there.
Returning to the United States, Julian worked at Ryken High School and Our Lady of Good Counsel High School before becoming Director of Ryken House where he served for six years. He retired to Ryken House in 1992, and, until his death, he did volunteer work at the Cerebral Palsy School. There, as in every other mission he served, Julian had a profound impact. At his funeral several young people in wheelchairs from the Cerebral Palsy School came to mourn for this man who loved and served them.
Teacher, missionary, administrator and exemplary religious, Julian was one of our finest.
He is buried in the Brothers’ Cemetery on the grounds of St. X.
BROTHER JULIAN RILEY (Thomas Edward Riley)
Born: Brooklyn, New York, April 16, 1919
Died: Ryken House, Louisville, Kentucky, November 10, 1997
We invite you to reflect on Brother Julian’s story and consider leaving a comment about someone (a Brother, a colleague, a friend) who embodies similar qualities to Brother Julian. Share with us that individual’s special qualities, so that as a community we can share in your gratitude!