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McKenna, Philip (Bernard Edward FSC)

 Record Group — Box: 1 of 1
Identifier: NY-408-2726


  • Other: All Dates

From Eulogy

Brother Bernard McKenna, FSC was born on October 6, 1919. He was christened Philip after his father and was baptized at St. Jerome's Church in the South Bronx. At the time the neighborhood where he grew up was predominantly Irish-American. His parents both immigrated to teh US from Ireland. His father, Philip, was from Ardee, County Louth, and his mother, Margaret Maher McKenna , was from a farm called Ballynonty, outside of Fethard and near the larger town of Thurles, in Country Tipperary. His parents had five boys: Raymond, Richard, Philip, Edward and Thomas. Philip had the Brothers of the Christian Schools at St. Jerome's Elementary School. At the age of fourteen, Philip entered the young Brothers training program, known as the Juniorate at Barrytown, New York. He began to attend high school there in 1933. Philip was an athlete who used to play basketball and baseball. He graduated with his high school class--known in the Juniorate as the Immaculate Heart of Mary group-in 1936. He then went on to attend the Novitiate at the end of which he took his first vows as a Christian Brother in 1937 and was given the religious name, Brother Bernard Edward. He professed his final vows as a Brother in 1944.

Br. Bernard McKenna received a B.A. in English from the Catholic University of American in Washington, DC in 1944. He taught English, religion and algebra at several schools administered by the Brothers: St. Bernard's Annex at West 14th Street in Manhattan (1941-43); St. Thomas the Apostle in Harlem (1943-45); St. Mary's in Waltham, MA (1947-48); Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn, NY (1950-53); St. Joseph's Collegiate High School in Buffalo, NY (1953-54); Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx (1961-62); and Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington, NJ (1962-70). Besides teaching, Br. Bernard spent four years teaching and prefecting at a child welfare institution, Lincoln Hall, in Lincolndale, NY in 1945-47 and 1948-50. He spent another fifteen years (1954-58; 1959-61; 1970-79) at La Salle School, Albany, where he served as Pro-Director, prefect and social worker. He obtained a Master's degree in Social Work at Fordham University in 1962.

Brother Bernard also served as Director of the Queen of Peace, North Arlington, NJ and the La Salle School, Albany communities. For most of the thirty-eight years that he lived at De La Salle Hall, he was Sub-Director of the community. At De La Salle Hall, Br. Bernard was called to a special ministry to teach and pass on the faith to developmentally disabled adults. On September 21, 2003, the new wing of the Brothers' Nursing Home at De La Salle Hall was named after him. Br. Bernard was the first patient to move into the home when it opened in 1979.

Brother Bernard died on November 23, 2007. He is buried in St. Gabriel's Cemetery in Marlboro, NJ.


.5 Linear Feet (1 document box, 5")

Repository Details

Part of the De La Salle Christian Brothers Archives of the New York District Repository

O'Malley Library, Room 200
4513 Manhattan College Parkway
Riverdale New York 10471