Brother Stephen Comeau, C.F.X.
Brother Stephen Comeau, a Xaverian Brother for nearly 53 years, passed away peacefully at the Layhill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Silver Spring, MD on Thursday morning, August 25th. He had been suffering with a cancer for over a year and had undergone two surgeries in his battle. He began hospice care under the auspices of Montgomery-Prince Georges Hospice services only last Friday and was anointed and received the sacrament of the sick on Tuesday evening.
A native of Old Town, Maine, Brother Steve first came to meet the Xaverian Brothers as a student at John Bapst High School, a school the Brothers staffed in nearby Bangor. Steve was impressed by this group of Brothers who taught at John Bapst and first felt his call to religious life under their tutelage. Upon graduating in 1969, he joined the Xaverian Brothers in Newton Highlands, MA. After making profession of first vows, he began his undergraduate studies at Worcester State College where he joined the community at St. John’s High School, Shrewsbury and began a 33-year relationship with the school. He would serve as teacher, coach, athletic director, basketball referee, assistant principal and later as principal. He also served as assistant director and later director and producer of the school’s annual extravaganza – that’s when his skills as a showman really got to shine. In between his coaching, teaching, directing the school play, he would receive an MA in Administration and Supervision from Boston College.
All of the skills Steve acquired as a teacher, coach, administrator and even showman would be put to good use at the service of the National Catholic Education Association when in 2005, after a well-deserved sabbatical, Brother Stephen joined the staff as the Executive Assistant to the president of NCEA. Over the course of his 17 years at NCEA, Steve would serve 6 presidents, all of whom relied on Steve’s dependability, professionalism, expertise and good humor to assist them in their mission. His work and advice were invaluable to them and served the greater mission of Catholic education in the United States.
Steve joined the Xaverian Brothers in large part because of the camaraderie he sensed in the Brothers he met at John Bapst. This esprit de corps would be a hallmark of Steve’s own life as a Brother for over 30 years at St. John’s and later as part of the Takoma Park community outside Washington, DC. Just as Steve was a support to many of the older Brothers he cared for when he was director of the Brothers community at St. John’s, so the Brothers in his community in Takoma Park, as well as other Brothers in the Maryland region, would be a support to him as he battled cancer.
While Steve could muster the energy to perform, and perform well, as an entertainer – and use that gift in his teaching, coaching and administration as well – he was by nature a bit more reserved and reflective. It was his inner strength and faith, coupled with the support of his community and circle of friends from NCEA, that gave him the courage and strength in his long battle with cancer. May he now rest in peace, welcomed into the Father’s kingdom by his father Frank, and his mother Margret, who predeceased him only a few months earlier, and his long-time mentor and friend, Brother Conal, who predeceased him last spring. In addition to his brothers in community, he is survived by his brother Frank and his family of Old Town, ME.