In August of 2021, more than 90 years after benefactors Nicholas and Genevieve Brady gifted the grounds and buildings for the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues, the Jesuit Center at Wernersville officially closed. Although the novitiate itself was moved from Wernersville in 1993, the retreat center remained as a peaceful destination for many seeking the Spiritual Exercises and a closer encounter with God.
Both Nicholas and Genevieve Brady were interred in a crypt at Wernersville, and while that building has been sold, the Jesuit Cemetery further down the property remains an important part of the province. On May 12, 2023, the Brady’s were moved from the building to a newly designed wall adjacent to the many Jesuits whose final resting place is a result of their selfless generosity.
The atmosphere during the move was peaceful, quiet, and reverent. The endeavor required much coordination among the maintenance workers, undertaker, mortuary specialist, and contracted grounds crew for removing the coffins from the crypt. Mr. Brady’s coffin is of solid bronze with an estimated weight of more than 1,500 lbs. Mechanical lifts and the manpower of ten were required to remove and transfer the remains from the building to the cemetery.
The new tomb memorials were designed to resemble Jesuit tombstones by Fr. Thomas Kuller, SJ, president of the Jesuit Cemetery of St. Isaac Jogues. Coordination with the gravestone cutter and a local mason made possible dismantling the cemetery wall and then sealing the vaults with internal brickwork before affixing the carved plates. Also on hand were Fr. Jim Conroy, SJ, who served as the last novice director at Wernersville, and Fr. Richard McGowan, SJ, treasurer for the USA East Province.
May Nicholas and Genevieve Brady continue to rest in peace, now together with the Jesuits they so fondly loved.