Ben McCabe was a South Australian who worked for 50 years in the east before returning. A fiery youth, he tempered his outbursts as the years rolled by, although he was still able to bring a bit of heat, even in his 80s.
Ben was from a large family; his parents, Frank and Priscilla, had seven sons and one daughter. Along with his older brother Dominic (Br Mark), he joined the Christian Brothers in the 1940s. Having sons as Christian Brothers was a source of great joy and pride for Frank and Priss and for the whole McCabe clan. As Eileen McCabe mentioned, “we thought that our uncles were incredibly cool”.
Br Peter Dowling of the Congregation Leadership Team writes of his own appreciation of Ben “who always epitomised who a Christian Brother should be”.
“Ben’s humanity, warmth and care for people were great examples for many others. He had the fire in him that made you know very well that he passionately believed in living religious life fully; he was never half-hearted!”
Ben eventually had to face his own “agony in the garden”, never faltering as he won through unblemished. Moreover, back in Adelaide, he not only continued his outreach to the marginalised but also engaged much more deeply with his own spirituality.
As Br Dean McGlaughlin in Rome writes, “I will remember Ben as a deeply spiritual, friendly man whose love of the garden and the care and attention he gave to it reflected the inner journey and tending of soul nurturing within himself and in others.”
Ben’s worked in Encompass, Sydney; Greenvale Community, Melbourne, and Hesed, Adelaide inter alia; his relational approach to ministry has enabled many to liberate themselves from their bonds, be they socio-economic, habitual, emotional or spiritual. His words of freedom and empowerment were a catalyst for many of the marginalised, and for his fellow Brothers, to embrace the fullness of life in faith, trust and love.
The Brothers hold ‘presence, compassion and liberation’ as their ideals. Reflecting on these words, we can see how closely Ben’s life not only reflected these charisms, but breathed them into our hearts and souls. He is resting now in peace.