In Memoriam: 
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.   

14 comments on “Brother Stephen Comeau, C.F.X.

  1. Richard Green on

    I have so many great memories of Brother Comeau. His smile and laughter among them. He was a constant fixture in my years at SJ (’79-’83). He was a joy to be around and infectious with his enthusiasm. We all will miss him dearly.

  2. James Colman (SJ 1991) on

    Brother Stephen was and remains an inspiration to generations of Pioneers from Shrewsbury. May he rest in peace and may his impact on the world continue through those of us he influenced.

  3. John Rossi on

    Brother Stephen Comeau was a pillar of my education at St. John’s during 1970 – 1974. My memories of him in the classroom, in the hallway or driving the St. John’s bus are as clear today as they were when created – of course, usually with his trademark cigar. John Rossi ’74

  4. Stephen Qualey '84 on

    May you rest in glorious peace. A good man, fine teacher, wonderful director for the Spring Extravaganza, and most importantly someone I could call a friend and admired greatly. Our time together at St. John’s was short but the memories will last a lifetime.

  5. Jonathan Eddy on

    Brother Stephen was a good man and teacher; I was in the class of ’76. He made a big impact on my life especially when my dad passed in sophomore year. He was always positive and a good listener. My prayers go out to him, his family and to the SJ community for their loss. He will be missed.

  6. Michael Dodd on

    I met Brother Stephen in 2003 and he quickly became an important person in my life. Caring, understanding, wise and humorous, a great example. I am grateful for having had him as a companion on an important part of my personal journey. Though we lived in different parts of the country for most of our friendship and had not seen one another for many years, I relied on his cards and emails to keep in touch with loving and encouraging words. I wish him peace and rest in his eternal home.

  7. Tom Woods (SJ ‘86) on

    He was a delightful person – I knew him mostly through the St John’s Spring Spectaculars (‘83 to ‘86) and his love of music & performance & making the audience smile was surpassed only by how much he enjoyed working with students to make it happen. He created so many happy memories!

  8. Denis Finnerty on

    Brother Stephen was a great friend and mentor to many Pioneers. I enjoyed working with him during all the Spring Shows during my time at St John’s. My hope is that he’s now Creating, Producing, and Directing wonderful shows for everyone in heaven. One last time… Sing Brother!!!
    Denis Finnerty, Lighting Crew ’93

  9. Kevin Brendan Cunniff on

    As a student and an aide in the Athletic Department was a dependable, hard-working and personable person.
    He was a good religious who dedicated himself to the betterment of the world by working for those around him.
    He attributed his personality and his work ethic from his home training and always was quick to express his love for his family.
    As the Irish say:

    “Ní imíonn na daoine is breá linn;
    Siúlann siad in aice linn gach lá.

    Neamhfheicthe, gan chloisteáil ach i gcónaí in aice.
    Slán grá, caillte fós, agus an-daor. ”…

    “The people we love don’t go away;
    They walk by us every day.

    Unseen, unheard but always near.
    Farewell love, still lost, and very dear. “…

    Never “Goodbye,, Steve”
    Just: See you later!!”

    Your former teacher and always your brother,

  10. Michael Gosselin (SJ '77) on

    Brother Stephen was the one person who best exemplified the Pioneer spirit I felt in my years at Saint John’s. He was a teacher, a mentor, and a kind man; he cared about all of us students. I was there when he needed to take over from Joe Hayes for the spring extravaganza, and he did a fantastic job.

    Seven years ago, when my mother died, Brother Comeau wrote to me in her obituary comments; I was surprised he knew my mother from her days as a waitress at Leo’s Ristarante. I was touched that he remembered me through her as well.

    The world was a better place with Brother Stephen, and now heaven is a better place with him.


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