Brother Martin Crosby, O.S.F.

Brother Martin (William Crosby), the son of William and Mary A. (Cosgrove) Crosby, was born in Brooklyn on November 23, 1902. After graduating from the parish school of St. John the Evangelist where he had the Franciscan Brothers as his upper grade teachers, he applied for admission to the Brothers' postulate at Centerport, Long Island. This proved to be William's first step on a long journey during which he would be a profound influence for good on the lives of thousands of young men and boys who would have him as a religious teacher in schools conducted by the Brothers of Brooklyn and other parts of Long Island. Clothed in the habit of the Franciscan Order on March 25, 1918. William was given the religious name, Martin, placing him under the patronage and guidance of the compassionate solider-saint, Martin of Tours. Both events served as a symbol of what St. Paul referred to "as taking off the old man and putting on the new." Upon the completion of his postulate and novitiate training, Brother Martin professed his first vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for three years on August 2, 1919. Three years later on August 4, 1922, he renewed his vows for two years since Canon Law found him too young to make a final commitment. On August 31,1924, he professed his vows for life. Like so many teachers of his day, Brother Martin taught and studied at the same time. After completing studies at St. Francis Academy, he attended St. John's University where he earned an A.B. degree in history. He continued graduate studies at the same university in his major field and also in school administration. Blessed with an impressive appearance, a vibrant, resonant voice, generous and accommodating disposition, a capacity to understand the shortcomings and errors of others, and a mastery of the science of the saints, as well as the social sciences, Brother Martin was the epitome of what a religious teacher should be. His text books were as well-worn as his prayerbooks, and no question was ever too trite for an answer. Nor was any student's problem ever too small to take time to solve as he served youth in the following schools and institutions: Our Lady of Mercy, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Mary, Star-of-the Sea, St. Francis Xavier, Our Lady of Good Counsel, and St. Francis Prep., all in Brooklyn, and St. Francis Novitiate, St. Anthony Juniorate, and St. Anthony High School, Smithtown. During late years, Brother Martin's declining health made it infeasible for him to continue in the classroom, so he volunteered his services as an assistant librarian in St. Anthony's High School. And it was from the friary here that Brother Martin, stricken on the early morning of Friday, January 24, took his final step of the long journey home on Tuesday, January 27, 1976. A Christian Mass of the Resurrection was concelebrated in St. Joseph's Church, Kings Park, by priests who were former students of Brother Martin's, and his mortal remains were interred under the simple marker in Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, bearing the inscription "Franciscan Brothers." He was buried as he lived and wished-in simplicity, surrounded by his natural and religious families, his co-workers, students and friends.