Brother Chris Brady Celebrates 50 (Plus 1!) Years of Ministry
It must be a Brady gene: After decades in the game, Brother Chris doesn't plan on stopping any time soon.
In the fall of 1970—before Moraga was an official town or the Yellow Line BART was more than a blueprint—Brother Christopher Brady, FSC ’75, was simply Chris, a recent graduate of Sacred Hearts High about to begin his postulancy at Saint Mary’s.
His freshman class arrived on campus in a moment of extraordinary transition: That semester, the college became co-ed for the first time. Living with the Lasallian Brothers, Brother Chris had a front-row seat to what turned out to be a massive undertaking, as women were welcomed into classrooms, dorms, and social life. “It was exciting to be a part of that and watch that go on,” he says.
Six months later, on January 10, 1971, he received the robes of the Novitiate, officially kicking off a lifetime of ministry and education.
This year, Brother Chris commemorated 50 years as a Brother—well, technically, 51 and some change. His actual Golden Jubilee happened to fall amidst another historic transition: the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than celebrate during the uncertainties of January 2021, he opted to wait until people could gather together again in person.
It was well worth that wait. On August 14, 2022, the Moraga Room of the Soda Center was jam-packed with Brother Chris’ colleagues, former students, friends, Brothers, and family. Speakers included his biological brother Tom “The Original” Brady Sr., father of the winningest quarterback in NFL history, and Mary Ann Mattos ’76, who worked alongside Brother Chris at De La Salle High School in Concord for years. And of course, the man of the hour himself.
“Without you, I couldn't have accomplished what I have accomplished in my life,” Brother Chris told those gathered. “As a Brother, as an educator, as an administrator, as a leader, you are the ones that affected me and gave me meaning.”
As Exciting As Ever
After graduating from Saint Mary’s in 1975, Brother Chris went on to earn his MA in Administration from the University of San Francisco, spending the bulk of his career as an educator and principal for Lasallian high schools throughout California before returning to Saint Mary’s in 2016 as the Chaplain of Athletics. He marvels at being able to celebrate 50 years of ministry at the place where it all began. “It's kind of come full circle, in a way I never anticipated,” he says.
Throughout his decades of connection to Saint Mary’s, Brother Chris witnessed a tremendous amount of cultural change, on campus and beyond. Perhaps the biggest difference between his undergrad experience and that of the students he lives with and mentors in Ageno West is the added exposure of social media. “There's little privacy, about who and what they are anymore, something I, fortunately, and men and women of my age, were shielded and protected from. It’s very hard today.”
What has remained a constant, though, he says, is the vibrant sense of community at Saint Mary’s. “While programs and books and all of those things are important to our growth intellectually, the relationships that are formed and how we interact with one another, I believe just kind of transcends that. And I think that's still very present today. When I talk to the young people that I live with in Ageno West, it's as exciting now as it was when I was a student here.”
Fifty-one years later, Brother Chris isn’t slowing down a bit. He recently accepted a new leadership role as the Auxiliary Visitor of the District of San Francisco New Orleans, a position that will have him providing care and counseling for dozens of Brothers. “So I'm back in the fast lane again,” he says. “At my age of 70, to be taking on that level of responsibility… It's something unique and different for me.”
“When I talk to the young people that I live with in Ageno West, it's as exciting now as it was when I was a student here.”
In other words, Brother Chris Brady has had quite a run and isn’t quite ready to give up the game. It brings to mind another Brady, who can’t seem to make retirement stick either. On that topic, Brother Chris wants to set the record straight about his nephew. “People often ask me, they say, ‘Oh, so you're related to him?’ I say, ‘No, no, no, no. Let's get this correct: he's related to me. The genes flowed out of my generation to the next.’”
He’s joking, of course. But it’s true: the Bradys are an impressive bunch, from Chris on down to Tom Jr.
Learn more about Saint Mary's Lasallian roots.
Hayden Royster is a Staff Writer with Saint Mary's Office of Marketing and Communication. Write him.