Saturday, July 23, 2011

Brother Sulpicius, C.F.X. (Nicholas Charles Cross)

Through the generosity of Brother Arcadius Alkonis, C.F.X, an Archivist with the Xaverian Brothers in Danvers, Massachusetts, I have learned a great deal about my great great granduncle, Nicholas Charles Cross, who later became Brother Sulpicius with the Xaverian Brothers. Brother Alkonis provided me with a copy of the Cyrenian No. 11, by Brother Adelbert, C.F.X, which gave a lengthy biography of Nicholas Charles Cross, as well as information about the Xaverian Brothers and the St. John's Prep Cemetery, along with a lovely print taken from a negative of the St. Joseph's College in Bardstown, Kentucky. Having read through these very interesting historical resources, I will share with you what I learned about Nicholas Charles Cross.

Nicholas Charles Cross (sometimes listed as Charles Nicholas Cross) was born on May 10, 1868 to James and Elizabeth (Marshall) Cross in Sandusky, Ohio. He was baptized at Holy Angels Church in Sandusky, having been named for both his grandfathers, Nicholas Marshall and Charles Cross. (Charles Cross served as the first Catholic Mayor of Sandusky, Ohio, from 1853-1856.) Rev. R.A. Sidley was the priest at Holy Angels Church who officiated at the baptism of Charles Nicholas Cross/Nicholas Charles Cross on May 17, 1868.

(Baptism record is from the Ohio, Dioceses of Toledo Catholic Parish Records from Holy Angels Parish, accessed at Family Search.)

As a young man, Charles assisted Rev. Edward Graham in instructing young people with catechism classes at Holy Angels Church. After reading a booklet about becoming a Xaverian Brother, Charles felt the calling to become a teacher with the Xaverian Brothers. Nicholas Charles Cross entered the novitiate of the Xaverian Brothers in Baltimore, Maryland on May 3, 1889, and he received the name of Brother Sulpicius on July 13, 1889. On July 11, 1891, Brother Sulpicius vowed his life to God according to the Rule and Constitutions of the Brothers of St. Francis Xavier.

The first assignment of Brother Sulpicius was at St. Xavier Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, where he stayed until 1902. Throughout his career, Brother Sulpicius was always considered an outstanding religious teacher. Besides teaching classes, Brother Sulpicius met with students for book discussions, and he worked to increase the number of books at the St. Xavier Library. Brother Sulpicius was director of the high school department at Cathedral High School in Wheeling, West Virginia, after which he served as Superintendent of St. Paul Academy in Portsmouth, Virginia. In 1906, Brother Sulpicius was appointed Superior at St. Joseph's in Somerville, Massachusetts. In 1911, Brother Sulpicius became the founding Superior at St. Joseph's College in Bardstown, Kentucky. Besides being the Superior and Director at St. Joseph's College, Brother Sulpicius also directed the boys' choir, and taught math, chemistry, English, and stenography.

During the years 1915-1919, Brother Sulpicius was in ministry at St. Joseph's in Baltimore, Maryland. He then went back to St. Joseph's in Somerville, Massachusetts from 1919-1925. Due to continuing health problems, Brother Sulpicius was given lighter duties at St. Joseph's Juniorate in Peabody, Massachusetts, where he served as Spiritual Director of Postulates. Brother Sulpicius passed away on June 9, 1931, and he was buried at the Xaverian Brothers Cemetery in Danvers, Massachusetts. A summary of the life of Brother Sulpicius appeared in the Xaverian Menology, and it read in part:

Brother Sulpicius had lived in the community for forty-two years, the delight or the despair of all who had dealings with him. He was the non-conformist who did nothing because it was the thing to do. He held unorthodox opinions, and he delighted in silencing if he could, all objectors.

How I wish I could have met this hard-working, devoted man of God, who shared many ancestors with me! Thank you, Brother Alkonis, for providing me with such excellent resources so I could learn more about Nicholas Charles Cross!


PalmsRV said...

What a nice comprehensive biographical find.

Dorene from Ohio said...

I was thrilled when the Archivist from the Xaverian Brothers sent me so much historical information!

Kellie said...

I searched the cemetery for both names but didn’t find anything

Dorene from Ohio said...

Thanks Kellie!