- February 2, 2001)
delivered by Bro. John Malich, FMS Mount St. Michael Chapel February
5, 2001 Mass of the Resurrection
years ago, Sean Sammon and I were going through a collection of photographs
that Patrick had given us that chronicled the history of the Brothers
in Japan. Among them was a wonderful photograph of Patrick and Danny
Sullivan, dressed in the traditional Japanese "yukatas"
the date was 1959 and Patrick was twenty-eight years old. As I recall
the photograph, Patrick looks full of energy and enthusiasm. Much like
the Irish phrase, he seemed "full of himself" - all the self-assurance
and excitement of youth. Little did Patrick know he was at the threshold
of the defining adventure of his life. His years in Japan would shape
him as a person and a religious, would influence the Church and community
at Kumamoto, but even more so, would influence the wider Church and
educational community of Japan.
Patrick and Danny were the beginning of that long list of Brothers who
would establish the Japan Project in Kobe and Kumamoto, but it would
fall to Patrick to become the Founder and literally, the heart and soul
of Marist High School, Kumamoto!
first visit to Kumamoto in 1972 was a revelation. I heard about the
school and Patrick's gargantuan efforts, but when we drove through the
gates onto the property, I was amazed. Seeing the main building, the
dormitory wing, the size of the property and the landscaping, it struck
me that literally Patrick had single-handedly built a school. It was
clear as the days went on, that the force of his personality and the
power of his convictions truly made this a Marist work, and his genuine
care for the people and the youth had raised this project from blueprints
to buildings, from a dream to Marist High School as a premier educational
of this was done with the normal obstacles of any project of such magnitude,
but what further complicated it was doing this in a different culture,
with special codes, educational demands, hiring procedures, and teacher's
unions! And on top of this, there was the continual concerns over finances
and personnel. I recall when Patrick began the building of the gymnasium,
he had already dug the foundations, and was pouring the concrete when
"visitors from Rome" arrived! This necessitated then Provincial
Roy Mooney seeking "forgiveness" from Rome for not having
asked for approval of the building, and then subsequently receiving
a "sanation" a mild rebuke for having overstepped authority.
When I asked Patrick why he had not asked permission, his response was
typical "who thought of that, I had so much on my mind!"
All of this said with that wonderful Irish charm.
today reflecting that heritage which Patrick left in Kumamoto is Fr.
Vincent Youngcamp, a Columban Father who was friend, confidante, and
advisor to Patrick. Presently Fr. Youngcamp is President of the school
board. Also with us is Mr. Mori, present Principal of Marist High School
the almost forty years from the time Patrick first arrived in Japan,
his influence in the wider educational community, in the International
Rotary Club, in his efforts for student exchange programs, his teaching
within the school and with adults seeking to learn English as a second
language grew leaps and bounds. He was often an advisor to the Diocesan
educational programs, as well as friend to the Bishop.
it became clear that the Marist Brothers would no longer be able to
staff the school in Kumamoto, Patrick began the final gesture of the
transfer of control and leadership to the local people and the school
board. One can only wonder at what price to him personally did this
process demand! Then came the painful leave-taking of his friends and
associates, and of a culture he had come to respect, and in which he
had immersed himself.
return to the States found him almost immediately involved in the Development
Office of the American Provinces, taking up his life in a culture which
had changed so radically during his years in Japan. But the final challenge
still lay ahead
his illness. Like all things in his life, Patrick
met that with a grace and dignity, and entered gently into the long
night of his suffering.
you look at a person's life, you often wonder where the strength and
convictions come from - what is the source of the person's giftedness.
It would seem from my reflection that there are three wellsprings from
which Patrick found sustenance. First of all, his family. His mother,
widowed early in life when John was two and Patrick was four, had to
enter the workforce, today a common occurrence, but not so at that time
and place. But she and her sons were gathered into the Conlin family
of grandparents, aunts, uncles, innumerable cousins, and later the Tyrrell
family of John's wife and daughter. It was the warmth and support of
this wider family that supported Patrick both from afar, and when he
was home, enjoying family gatherings and dinner parties. It was here
also that strong religious convictions were planted and sustained. Patrick
always believed that somehow God would provide even in the most impossible
circumstances, and that self-pity was not acceptable.
were another stable support for Patrick. He had innumerable friends
in the Columban Fathers community and in the school community. I think
of Mr. Fukijama his "Assistant Principal" who became mentor
and friend and who, along with his wife, was affiliated to the Congregation.
There was also Kyoko Yamauro, his executive assistant, who over the
years helped Patrick through the maze of educational procedures. Of
course, he was supported by the many Brothers who were part of the Kobe/Kumamoto
connection, and who gathered to celebrate Christmas, provincial visitations,
and summer holidays, at which Patrick was often major-domo and cook.
Patrick maintained his friendships abroad with his gift of letter writing.
Today with e-mail we have lost a bit of this gracious ability to develop
individual literary styles. Patrick wrote wonderful epistles
and would freely "comment" on the Church, world, politics,
and religious life
with wonderful frankness.
final quality so clear in Patrick's life was a certain gracious humility.
He always carried himself with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. He could
laugh at himself - look at the photograph chosen for his Memorial Card,
which reflects that wonderful smile, as he stands before the school
he built, hands in his pockets, ready to pass some comment, usually
at his own expense. A classic example of this would be how he responded
to the citation awarded him by the Emperor of Japan. Patrick was the
seventh foreigner in seven hundred years granted such and honor, his
for outstanding service in the field of education! Not bad for a dropout
from Cathedral Prep! His reaction to the award was to say little and
he only spoke of it if asked directly by someone.
me Patrick will always be bigger than life. He was a gentleman, a generous
and gracious host, a wonderful chef Patrick was not a merely
a cook! His meals were delight to the eye and taste buds. He was a faithful
friend and a man of simple and honest ways.
the only thing left to say is: "Well done Patrick! Well done!"
following obituary appeared in the Catholic New York on February 8,
Patrick F. Tyrrell, F.M.S., a missionary in Japan for 37 years who was
honored by the emperor, died February 2 , 2001 in Calvary Hospital in
the Bronx. He was 69.
went to Japan in 1957 and, after learning the Japanese language, he
established the Marist High School in Kumamoto. He was its principal
from 1961 to 1994, when he returned to the United States.
he left, he was given the Outstanding Educator Award by Emperor Akihito.
he also received an honorary doctorate from Marist College in Poughkeepsie
the next six years, he worked in the Marist Brothers' province development
office in Pelham.
taught for a term at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx in 1956.
he also taught in Manhasset and Augusta, Georgia.
in Manhattan, he graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School. He entered
the Marist Brothers of the Schools at its novitiate in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts
in 1948, professed first vows twos later and final vows in 1955. He
earned a bachelor's degree in English from Marist College.
Tyrrell's uncle, Father Edwin J. Conlin, senior priest who resides at
Immaculate Conception parish in Manhattan, offered the Funeral Mass
February 5 at Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx. Burial followed
at the Marist Brothers' Cemetery in Esopus. He is survived by a brother,
John, of Goldens Bridge.