Brother Arcadius Alkonis
ALFRED STANLEY ALKONIS
Brother Arcadius Alkonis died on September 30, 2019, just before midnight. His Funeral Mass was held on Saturday, October 5th at 10:30 AM at St. Richard’s Church in Danvers. The eulogy was given by Brother David Mahoney.
By faithfulness to the rule, may you discover in God’s own time– Fundamental Principles
Ways to incarnate anew the vision of Theodore James Ryken and
The charism of the of the Brothers of Saint Francis Xavier
In the life of the world.
Brother Arcadius, in his very full life, embodied the spirit of the above exhortation.
The Constitutions of the Xaverian Brothers describe the purpose of our formation program as providing the Brothers with the time needed to enter more intimately into communion with God and to deepen their understanding of the spiritual, communal, academic and apostolic demands of the life as they witness the Gospel counsels to the world (Statutes 28 and 29).
Throughout his seventy-one years as a Xaverian Brother, Brother Arcadius grew in his love of God as he learned what the Xaverian way is all about.
Brother Arcadius was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on December 20, 1930 to Anna and Stanley Alkonis, both immigrants. His father was from Lithuania and his mother was from the then Czechoslovakia. Arcy, as he is affectionately known, is one of three children. He is survived by his sister Doris. His sister Alice predeceased him. Upon graduating from Saint Mary’s High School in Lynn in 1948, Alfred entered Sacred Heart Novitiate in Virginia to begin his life’s journey as a Xaverian. On March 19, 1940 he received the habit of the Xaverian Brothers and the religious name “Arcadius.”
Arcadius’ journey as a Xaverian Brother is best represented by ever increasing concentric circles beginning in Lynn and taking him to Brooklyn, the Bronx, Silver Spring MD, Bardstown KY and Eregi, Kitale, Mumias, Yala, and Mukumu—all in Kenya—as well as his beloved Danvers where he taught from1985 to 1997 and finally retired in 1997, serving St. John’s Prep as a volunteer in the Library.
Arcadius’ assigned ministries consisted of teaching on the elementary level at Holy Cross and St. Teresa’s in Brooklyn, as a high school teacher at Saint Joseph’s Prep in Bardstown, Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx, and Saint John’s Prep in Danvers. While in Kenya, Arcadius taught at the teacher training colleges in Eregi and Kitale and at the following secondary schools: Our Lady’s in Kaimosi, Saint Joseph’s in Kitale, Mumias Secondary School in Mumias, and the Malindi Girls’ School in Yala. Before returning to the States, Arcadius also taught for six years at St. Peter’s Seminary in Mukumu.
The Xaverian journey that Arcy began seventy-one years ago in Virginia led him into an ever bigger world. His Xaverian world, however, would not be circumscribed by geography. His world was expansive. Arcy’s desire to learn and to know, his genuine care for people, his love of history, and his gift for telling captivating stories helped him make his Xaverian world one without boundaries.
Those whom Arcy cornered as his audience know first hand the art of his storytelling. His collection of stories included tales about people and places such as Lithuania, Bardstown, Brooklyn, Kentucky, his many missions in Kenya, and his beloved New England towns of Marblehead and Danvers. The stories contained some fiction but many verifiable facts. The themes were always of human interest.
Arcy’s love of history was both a blessing and a burden. He would save every newspaper and magazine clipping of interest. He could not bring himself to throw anything away because “I may need that someday.” Those Brothers who helped him straighten his room know first hand that he was the “ur-collector.”
His care for other was genuine. Whenever he would ask about a family member or friend, he would use their names. So it wasn’t “how’s your brother?” but rather, “how’s your brother, Joe?”
Arcy’s world was alive. It was now. As an avid reader he stayed current with what is happening in the Church, country, and world. He served the community in many ways—his love of gardening, his care for the chapel, his concern for the cemetery at the Prep. When Arcadius first left Xaverian House, he experience medical issues that were challenging to him. In his heart he wanted to be “home” at Xaverian House. Gradually he adjusted and fortunately he experienced a peaceful end.
In his own unique way, Arcadius embodied the Xaverian charism as no one else can. He was genuine in his witness to the Gospel as he responded to his call as a Xaverian Brother. Arcy leaves us not only a world that he helped make better, but also the challenge to keep expanding our own worlds with genuine care for others by “seeking to enter more intimately into communion with God.” This was the first lesson we all learned many years ago.
We pray in thanksgiving for Arcadius, his many stories, his gifts, his life. We pray that now he enjoys the peace that Christ promises all His followers. May he Rest In Peace.