Brother Xavier O'Neill, who has spent 75 years living out the Brothers of Mercy mission of serving the sick and elderly, died March 18, 2019, at the Brother's Clarence residence. He was 94.
Born Donald Arthur O'Neill on Aug. 16, 1924, he was raised in Wyandotte, Mich. Brother Xavier realized he had a vocation to the brotherhood when he was in 11th grade. He joined the Brothers of Mercy after his high school graduation, without ever having visited the community. In 1943, he professed his first vows and enjoyed dedicating 75 years of his life to serving the mission of the Catholic congregation.
Brother Xavier's work has touched countless lives, spanned the generations and taken him around the globe. He has cared for newborn infants, the sick and dying, and everyone in between. In his early days, he served as private duty nurse. Hours on end were spent providing pain relief, administering medications, bathing and grooming the patients.
In addition to serving in Buffalo, Brother Xavier worked in his home state of Michigan as a nurse anesthetist, where he specialized in newborn care for 13 years. He spent time in the 1960s at a Brothers of Mercy mission hospital in Africa. He ran the Brothers of Mercy's 100-bed retirement home in Kansas City, Mo., and on two occasions served as a nursing home supervisor in their facility in Oklahoma City. He also served as provincial superior of the Brothers of Mercy North American Province from 1960 to 1963.
After over seven decades of full- or part-time work, Brother Xavier retired to the Brothers of Mercy Clarence headquarters.
Brother Xavier's 75th Jubilee was celebrated in a special commemorative Mass at Brothers of Mercy's Sacred Heart Chapel on Sept. 9, 2018. He renewed his vows in front of family, friends and fellow brothers. A reception to celebrate the occasion followed at the brothers' residence.
Brother Xavier was predeceased by his parents Arthur J. and Clara (Vasher) O'Neill, and a sister Glee McCormick. He is survived by siblings Roseceline Cowan, Mary Ann Kowalski, Pat O'Neill, Dick O'Neill and Terry O'Neill.
A funeral Mass will be held Saturday, March 23, at 10 a.m. at the Brothers of Mercy Sacred Heart Home Chapel in Clarence. Burial will take place at Clarence Fillmore Cemetery, Clarence.