The History of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn in Ireland and America
Bretherton, George, The Catholic Historical Review
The History of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn in Ireland and America. By Emmett Corry, O.S.F. (New York: St. Francis College. 2003. Pp. xxiv, 365. $15.00 paperback.)
Brother Emmett Corry's book is not so much a history of the Brooklyn Franciscans, as it is a compilation of addresses, rules, letters, and other documents, accompanied with commentary. As one may imagine from the title, the Brooklyn Franciscans had their roots in Ireland from the time they arrived from there in 1858 until the death of their last Irish-born member, Brother Charles Rynne, in 1982 after sixty-seven years of service to his order.
In these 124 years the Brooklyn Franciscans founded numerous shelters, elementary and secondary schools, and other institutions, many of them far afield from Brooklyn. Their work took them to nearby Long Island and beyond to areas once remote, such as Florida and California. They assisted in the founding of St. Bonaventure University and were among its earliest teachers. Perhaps their most cherished educational achievement was St. Francis Academy and College, to which the author devotes an entire chapter.
The formal arrival of the Order in Brooklyn in 1858 was anticipated by a few years when several brothers from the monastery on Achill Island off the coast of Galway arrived to solicit Famine Relief. That calamity was especially severe in the west of Ireland.
The correspondence that the author quotes touching on the appalling conditions of those days makes one realize that the suffering would have been even worse without the hard and courageous work of the monks of Roundstone Monastery. …