The death has been announced of Brother Noel Brennan OFM Cap
CAPUCHIN PROVINCIAL OFFICE
12 Halston Street, Dublin, Ireland.
I regret to announce the death, after a short illness, of our dear brother, Noel Brennan. He died at Our Lady’s Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia, at 1.50 a.m. on Wednesday 14th June, 2023; three friars from his community accompanied him as he departed this life. He was the last remaining Irish born friar in Zambia. May the good Lord welcome him into his Kingdom after his fifty-three years of service as a missionary in Zambia. There may he meet again his dear parents and all the other members of his family and relatives and friends, who have gone before him, along with his deceased brother Capuchins with whom he lived and worked over his life time.
Noel was born in Kilkenny on 22nd December 1941, the son of Michael and Milred (Malone) and was baptised in St Mary’s parish Church in the diocese of Ossory. He received his early education in the CBS in Kilkenny and attended Rochestown College from 1955 till 1959. He entered the Capuchin novitiate in Kilkenny on 3rd October 1959, was temporarily professed in the same friary on 4th October 1960 and was perpetually professed in St Bonaventure’s Cork on 4th October 1963; he was awarded a BA degree in UCC the same year. At Ards friary, County Donegal, he was ordained priest by Bishop Anthony McFeeley on 21st May 1967. Following ordination he was appointed Dean in Rochestown College and continued in that position for three years when he was assigned to the Irish Capuchin Mission in Zambia in 1970.
Over the next fifty-three years Noel has served as pastor, teacher, director of postulants and in various other roles in formation as well as in positions of leadership in Sioma, Senanga, Malengwa, Lukulu, Nalionwa, Limulunga, Our Lady’s, Livingstone, and La Verna, Lusaka and at St Conrad’s friary, Lusaka and finally at the novitiate of Camarino.
In 1998 he was elected Vice-Provincial, a post he held until 2003, following his re-election in 2000. In 2004 Noel was sent on loan for two years to the Vice Province of South Africa to act as Director of Students and Bursar in Pretoria, but he remained on there until 2009 when he returned to Zambia. Noel was elected again as Vice Provincial of Zambia in 2009, which office he held until 2012. During his term of office he was elected President of the East African Capuchin Conference on 11th May 2011.
The 2012 Chapter saw the election of the first all-Zambian leadership team in the Vice-Province. This event was the fulfilment of a dream long held by Noel and his fellow Irish missionary brothers in Zambia. Noel continued to serve as bursar both at St Bonaventure’s College and La Verna friary. After the Chapter of 2015 he joined the novitiate team at Camerino friary on the outskirts of Lusaka.
Over the years Noel devoted whatever spare time he had to his on-going education, personal development and renewal through his selective reading and availing of whatever courses he managed to attend. This feature in his life enabled him to bring a refreshed mind and new enthusiasm to the next challenge facing him in his work among the friars and the people.
Noel found himself back in harness once more when at the Chapter of the Custody of Zambia held at the Kasisi Retreat Centre, Lusaka, in April 2018, he was again elected to a leadership role in Zambia, this time as a member of the Council of the Custody. This latter election must be seen as a sign of the respect and trust his Zambian confreres have in Noel’s brotherly fellowship, administrative experience, ability and loyalty to the Capuchin Gospel-inspired mission in central Africa since his arrival there fifty-three years ago. After the Chapter he was appointed Guardian and bursar at St Conrad’s friary in the city. At the Chapter of 2021 Noel was appointed to the novitiate at Camarino to which community he belonged at the time of his death. May he rest in peace.