Brother Luke Kirby, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1881-1954)

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Born Edward Kirby on June 25, 1881 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he grew up in St. Edward’s Parish. At seventeen he entered the Passionist novitiate and was considered to be weak so there was some question as to whether he could even be a Passionist lay-brother. Looking back now in the twenty-first century, for many years physical and intellectual stamina were a major component in the overall discernment process for one’s vocation in religious life. In some cases it had equal weight, perhaps out of proportion, to spiritual life questions. In this case, however he was deemed healthy, professed his vows on May 16, 1899 and received the name Luke. His first assignment was as a cook at St. Michael’s Monastery, West Hoboken, New Jersey for two years. He was an original member of Holy Cross province and was assigned to Normandy, Missouri in 1901. In 1906 he went to Louisville, Kentucky, In 1907 he proceeded on to St. Mary’s Dunkirk, New York. In 1908 Brother Kirby was transferred to St. Paul’s, Kansas. A transfer took place to Chicago, Illinois for nine months and then he went back to Kansas when the new retreat was built there. Three years later he was in Louisville, Kentucky and then resided again in Normandy. In 1923 he was assigned to Des Moines, Iowa. When in Normandy he suffered a accident while driving the monastery horse cart and that left him with a limp. In these various foundations he served also as boiler man, outside caretaker where he tended to the farm, and porter at the door. He died in Louisville.