Brother Charles Kenney, SA, was first introduced to the Society of the Atonement by a friend, who gave him a copy of a book containing the words of Servant of God Father Paul Wattson, SA.

For most of his life, Brother Charles described himself as a “covenanted person,” and he eventually joined the Society of the Atonement. He worked for years in pastoral and social ministries, while sharing Father Paul’s message of At-One-Ment during his life.

On Wednesday, July 27, Brother Charles entered into Eternal Life at the age of 77.

Born in Brooklyn, New York on April 11, 1945, Brother Charles received his habit and joined the Society of the Atonement in July, 1963. He took his first vows in 1965 and his final vows six years later.

“In my life, there were a number of experiences, and I cannot say that one stands out more so from another,” Brother Charles once said. “In total, they have all been meaningful to me, as a Friar.”

He first worked in domestic services at St. Paul’s Friary at Graymoor, and later, sacristan services. From 1975-1977, Brother Charles carried out pastoral work for the Friars at St. Anthony Parish in Hereford, Texas. 

Following his parish ministry in Texas, Brother Charles worked from 1977 to 1984 at New Hope Manor – a drug rehabilitation program for women. He also served for nine years in pastoral and social ministry in Jamaica. During that time, he learned a great deal and developed a fondness of the island and its people.

“My experiences through the years when I was in Jamaica were meaningful for me, as they brought me into contact with people who were poor materially,” Brother Charles once said. “Some of them had leprosy. I was living in another culture … Life in Jamaica became my reality, and I was happy. I accepted life there.”

Brother Charles returned to Graymoor and worked at St. Christopher’s Inn, the Friars’ rehab center for men in crisis, for more than a decade. While at Graymoor, he also helped to operate a large heating system and steam plant and carried out maintenance work around the campus.

Brother Charles is predeceased by his parents, Patrick and Mary Kenney, and sister, Catherine Petrik. He is survived by his brother, Joseph Kenney, of Wantagh, New York.

A wake service will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 4 at Our Lady of the Atonement Chapel at Graymoor.

A Mass of Christian burial will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 5 at Our Lady of the Atonement Chapel, with interment in the Friars’ cemetery to immediately follow.

7 thoughts on “Brother Charles Kenney, SA, Cherished Life as an Atonement Friar

  1. I had the privilege of living in community with Br. Charles during my time as an At-One-Ment Intern at St. Christopher’s Inn. He was a humble and kind man, and the love he had for the men who come through the Inn was evident. He was extremely welcoming, and his kindness to me won’t be forgotten. I appreciated his unique sense of humour. For whatever reason, since living and praying in community together, I always hear his voice in my head when I pray the prayer following Psalm 127 in the Liturgy of the Hours. I hope that doesn’t go away. May the God who commands the seed to rise, raise Brother Charles to everlasting life.

  2. I thank you for sharing this holy man’s life journey expressing his love for God.

  3. I enjoyed reading about Brother Charles life of service to others. It sounds like his was a well lived life.

  4. there were 26 of us who entered The Novitiate, with Father Wifred, was our novice Master. Even though I left Graymour Novitiate about eight months later; I kept in Contact with Brother Charlie; he was up to my home in Red Hook, NY many times for dinner and just social events in the sixty years, we remained friends, in Christ. God Bless his soul.

  5. I regret that I have no memories of Brother Charles in Hereford as he was there after I had already graduated from St. Johns Atonement Seminary, moved to Dallas, graduated from the University of Dallas, married, and started my family in Dallas. Brother Charles represented the massive work of the Society of the Atonement in Texas. Brother Charles was an important part of that work. Those of us with Hereford roots can never adequately thank the Friars and Sisters of the Atonement adequately for the blessings they represented for our community. May all those who have gone before us rest in peace, especially now Brother Charles.

  6. July 9, 1962 we entered Graymoor as postulants. If I remember correctly, there were 30 of us. Only Charles and Roland Lawson took final vows. Fr. Adjuniatus was the postulate director. Br Pascal Breau helped to guide us toward our acceptance as postulants. Charles was very dedicated to his chosen life. Peace to him and all who are part of my fond memories at Graymoor.

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