BROTHER RONALD CAIRNS, S.C., 86, passed into eternal life at the Care One Assisted Living and Health Care Community in Whippany, NJ on Friday, April 17, 2020. Brother Ronald, born on June 25, 1933 to the late Patrick Cairns and the late Elizabeth McCusker of Verdun, Province of Quebec, Canada. He is also predeceased by his younger brother, Kenneth Cairns, of LaSalle, Province of Quebec, Canada and he is survived by his sister, Maureen Cairns MacDonald, of Victoria, British Columbia, and his sister-in-law, Helga Cairns, of LaSalle, Province of Quebec, Canada.
As a pre-novice, Brother Ronald entered the formation program for the Brothers of the Sacred Heart on July 20, 1948, at Metuchen, New Jersey, and there he professed first vows on August 15, 1952. Brother Ronald immediately headed south for full-time studies at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, where he began a degree in history. He completed his degree during the summers since he was called to full-time ministry after only two years of collegiate studies. Brother Ronald returned to Metuchen, NJ, for the profession of his final vows on August 15, 1958.
A professional educator for most of his life, Brother Ronald earned a Bachelor’s degree in history from Spring Hill College (1960), a Master’s degree in Guidance from Fordham University (1962), and another Master’s in Business from the University of Notre Dame. He held a variety of positions and ministries in life, i.e., as local religious superior, teacher, prefect, cook, counselor, athletic director, Father’s Club moderator, principal, provincial councilor, and general chapter delegate during his years of active ministry. He also served young people at both the elementary and high school levels in Huntington, LI; New Orleans, LA; Bay St. Louis, MS; Bronx, NY; Kendall Park, NJ; and, almost exclusively after 1963, in Metuchen, NJ. Regardless of his title or ministry, Brother Ronald became quickly well known for guiding young people to a full, faith-filled life by his compassion and respect. A statue at St. Joseph High School, epitomizing the ideals of a Brother of the Sacred Heart, bears his likeness. In August 2020, Brother Ronald was to mark his 68th year of religious profession as a Brother.
Brother Ronald will be immediately buried in a simple, private service in the near future. A public Memorial Mass and celebration for Brother Ronald will be held in Metuchen, NJ, once the pandemic has passed and we can gather to properly remember, pray for and recognize Brother Ronald Cairns.