Born June 4, 1929.
Habit Augusr 14, 1944, Lafayette,LA Novitiate.
Profession June 19, 1951.
Auxiliary Visitor 1975-1981.
Br. James N. Grahmann, FSC (Brother Andrew Nicholas)
Br. James N. Grahmann, FSC, is living in retirement in El Paso, Texas, with the Christian Brothers
Community teaching at Cathedral High School in that city. He was born on June 4, 1926, in the small rural
town of Hallettsville, Texas, to Nicholas A. Grahmann and the former Annie Grafe. James was the first
of eleven children. They were devout Catholics, taught their children their prayers in their first language,
German, said the rosary with them every evening, and sent them all to the local Sacred Heart Parish school.
The religious life was part of the family culture. Mr. Grahmann had two older sisters and several cousins
who were nuns in a small local order, and Mrs. Grahmann had several cousins in the same order and an
uncle in Germany who was an Alexian Brother. So when a Christian Brother talked about religious
vocations to James’s seventh grade class in the fall of 1939, James did not think he was doing anything
special in deciding to become a brother.
He entered the junior novitiate in Lafayette, Louisiana, at the end of the school year in May 1940.
He felt that he was making a decision for life and never looked back. He enjoyed life in the junior novitiate
and found the studies easy. He especially liked French, his third language, but he wrote to his grandparents
in German. The junior novices went to Mass every day in the chapel in the novitiate building hardly a
hundred yards away. He and his fourteen classmates entered the novitiate at the end of May 1944 and
received the brother’s robe there on August 14 that year. The year in the novitiate went by fast, as did the
first two years at Sacred Heart Training College in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He did his student teaching
at Hanson Memorial High School in Franklin, Louisiana, 1947-1948. He went back to complete the
bachelor’s degree at the newly opened St. Michael’s College in Santa Fe and was sent to teach in West Las
Vegas High School, which had opened in the building previously occupied by Sacred Heart Training
He made his final vows in 1951 and was sent to Louisiana to teach in the junior novitiate in
Lafayette two years and then at Cathedral High School in the same city. The year 1959 brought a major
shock: appointment as school principal and community director at Landry Memorial High School in Lake
Charles. In January 1963 he was sent back to Lafayette, where he faced a new challenge: the consolidation
of the all-boys Cathedral High with the all-girls Mt. Carmel Academy into two co-ed schools, Cathedral-
Carmel elementary and Cathedral-Carmel high. In 1969 he was sent to Galveston, Texas, to complete the
consolidation of the all-boys Kirwin High School with two all-girls academies. After four years, in 1973,
he was sent back to his job at Cathedral-Carmel High in Lafayette. Two years later, in 1975, he was
appointed auxiliary visitor of the New Orleans-Santa Fe District, in charge of supervising all of the district’s
ministries as well as the assignment of the brothers and their continuing education. During his third year,
he seized the opportunity in Houston to take on a familiar challenge: to assure the successful continuation
of Marian High School after changing ownership by a religious order to a free-standing private high school
approved by the bishop. It took him nine years. By then he was tired and obtained a one-year sabbatical to
do two things: first, follow the brothers’ 100-day personal renewal program at their Sangre de Cristo Center
near Chupadero, New Mexico; and second, continue his research into the history of the district, as
mandated by a district chapter resolution in 1987.
He continued his research during his assignment in 1988 to the newly-opened formation community,
Casa Miguel, at the College of Santa Fe. This research resulted in his first published paper, “The Christian
Brothers in Louisiana,” in Cross, Crozier and Crucible, a Volume Celebrating the Bicentennial of a Catholic
Diocese in Louisiana, published in 1992 by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. In 1989 he was appointed
development director at St. Michael’s High School. A few months later he was appointed to the school’s
board of directors and then elected president. He spent nine years managing and developing the school’s
real estate and raising money for new buildings. He retired in 1978 and remained in his community
spending most of his time on historical research and publishing the monthly obituaries of the brothers and
their affiliated members who served in the South and Southwest from October 1850 to June 30, 2014, the
last day of the New Orleans-Santa Fe district’s existence. He moved to El Paso in 2009 when the College
of Santa went bankrupt and the brothers had to move out. He has completed all his research projects and
has printed several documents for posterity. He does not plan to initiate any new projects, but is willing to
listen to suggestions.