Brother Carthage Brosnanborn 9 September 1913entered 12 October 1934Professed 2 May 1940died 31 January 1979Thomas Brosnan was born on 9th September 1913 in Faranfore, Co. Kerry. He was educated at Mount Melleray College and entered the Abbey of Mt. St Joseph on the 12th October 1934, taking the name of Br. Carthage. Here he made his Simple Profession on the 2nd May 1937 and Solemn Profession 2nd May 1940. He fulfilled the usual duties of a novice and young monk and was community cook for some time.His chief work was on the farm with steadily increasing responsibility, first in Mt. SI Joseph and then in Nunraw where he came on the foundation in 1946. The remainder of his life was occupied with the management of the farm. Some years ago he suffered the amputation of two fingers but continued his work in spite of this obstacle. A further small operation on his hand brought him to hospital a little while ago land il was there that his fatal illness showed itself. In spite of the skilled care given to him he died on Wednesday morning.Brother Carthage could be recognised from the first as a soul naturally Cistercian. Looking back over the years one sees a steadily deepening grasp and exercise of his vocation- One saw in him a selfless dedication to every duty and a profound grasp of what external duties must mean to a monk, an expression and fruil of an interior life given wholly to God so unobtrusive]y that it might on short acquaintance be overlooked. No matter what demands his responsible work made on him it never hindered his fidelity to his prayer and to the reading which he exercised in the real monastic way almost naturally from the beginning.His end was worthy of the whole course of his life. Increasing pain of recent times was met with a quiet and almost offhand acceptance and did not hinder his devotion to his duties or to all the regular exercises on which his spiritual life rested.Fr. Ambrose Conway, Nunraw AbbeyAbbot's TributeBrother Carthage OCSOFirst I must thank His Eminence (Cardinal Gray) for being with us and for his words of sympathy to the community and family on the death of Br Carthage; and we are grateful that his brother his nephews and cousins have been able to come, And we remember the other members of the family especially a brother who is a priest and his sister a nun who are both on the work of the Church in the United Slates. The most familiar phrase that is used to sum up the lives of silent monks is, "They speak in silences". It is an accurate summing up of the life of a monk but particularly is it true of the Brother we are commending to God this morning. If it is true that the life of Br Carthage bears its strongest message by the silence, the hiddeness and unobtrusiveness of- everything he did, it makes any words we may add seem very inadequate. And yet we cannot let a life that was all a gift to us pass without a word of thanksgiving and a word of tribute. While we are saddened at the loss of a brother, a friend, we can only thank God for the years that were blessed in the vocation which he chose, for the years in which he gave his life to the worship of God and to the love and service which in various ways we received from him.Outwardly in the life of Br Carthage - who was born Thomas Brosnan in Faranfore, Co. Kerry , 9 September 1913, - there would seem to be little remarkable. Equally his death was unobtrusive. On the morning before he went to the orthopaedic hospital he was out on the farm as usual and took a very matter of fact departure expecting to return in a few days. It was a death that was unexpected but certainly not unprovided for, because as he had lived so he took those last days in hospital with ready acceptance and complete dedication to God.But if outwardly both his life and his death would seem unremarkable our knowledge of the man and our love of the person leave us with the deep significance of his life. The Lord in whom he believed, Jesus Christ, in his last discourse to his friends when he spoke of the glory that was soon to come when he went to the death of the Cross said, 'I have given them the message which thou gavest to me and they received it, recognised it for truth, that I came from Thee. and found faith to believe that it was Thou who didst send me.' These words which are true of the master are true in their way of the servant and follower. "I have given them the message thou gavest me." Br Carthage not by words. not by preaching, not by busy activities but by his life, by his silence, by his hiddeness. has left us a message:The facts of his life are humble.The significance of his life is great.He speaks to each one of us by his life and by the inspiration he leaves. He speaks to his family and friends and community and to the wider circle of farming friends. In a large family which lived in simplicity and deep religious conviction Thomas grew with a very high ideal before he wished to give his life to God's service. His first attempt led to some disappointment. As he pursued his studies at the college of Mount Melleray an obstacle came between him ant his first ideal to become a priest. He would remark good-humouredly that he could make nothing of the Latin. Denied that form of service, his next choice was no compromise for he chose the vocation presented to him as the highest ideal in the Church, and he became a Cistercian monk in Roscrea. He was professed in 1937. Having once found how he could use the skills and talents which came naturally to him to serve God in the monastery he never deviated from that task to the end. Not for him direct preaching and not even the glamour of liturgical ceremonies - the form of prayer and the form of work he chose could not be more simple and down to earth. Perhaps this is the reason why ordinary people find the life of a Brother so attractive and encouraging; because it- nothing else it is a life confirmation of the value of the ordinary duties of state and the affirmation that no matter how unglamorous our situation we can serve God and allow God's love to radiate all round us. Our tribute to him is a form of affirmation confirmed by him of the Christian vocation of each of us in our own situation.Br Carthage was one of the first monks to arrive on the site of this monastery of Nunraw thirty three years ago. For most of the time since then he served under others helping to develop the farm to support the monastery . And as in any community those who were over him were not always easy men to deal with. Those of us who were close to him will remember how he never allowed any personal difficulties to interrupt his regular life of prayer and work. There are countless people who will remember his friendly smile and greeting as he went about his work. Nor did he allow physical suffering to deter him from his duties and he could often be seen in the most severe weather limping as he attended the livestock.Having served so faithfully in the background for such a long time it was the mark of his humility that when appointed as manager of the farm he was quite diffident and very moved to be asked to assume this responsibility. Thereafter he became a marked man as he moved in the wider circle of the farming community at meetings and at the market. Realistic-men as these hard headed dealers and farmers are they seem to have recognized this man of God in their midst and perhaps it was that they welcomed God's presence coming into an otherwise mundane world in this humble follower of Christ.Perhaps the final expression of the lowliness and the success of his dedicated life is that under his management this final year had been the most successful and still, when he came to die, he had nothing to call his own - the few personal effects he left in the hospital could not fill a small plastic bag.The glory that belongs to such a life is the glory that must be seen in such a death. And that glory is visible to those who in faith and love see the glory of Christ, see the glory of the Cross. see also the glory in the life of His servant, Br. Carthage.And we accept that dying daily of the Cross and the final earthly death of the Cross, in the hope and conviction of Christ's saving resurrection.