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Home WHO WE ARE Assumptionists Profiles Fr. CLAUDE GRENACHE, A.A. (1937-2017)

Fr. CLAUDE GRENACHE, A.A. (1937-2017)


Interviewer – Would you share with us some of your family’s background, your early education and how you came to know the Assumptionists?

Fr. Claude – I was born in Leominster, MA into a family of two daughters and one son. My mother was an only child while my father had nine siblings. My father died in 1978 and my mother, for whom I was the primary caregiver, died in 1984. My introduction to the Assumptionists was through Fr. Louis Robert, A.A. who was a good friend of my maternal grandmother. What I remember most about him was his deep voice and hearty laugh. In addition, the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, whom I had in school, were great advocates of the congregation. And so our parish, St. Cecilia’s, produced six Augustinians of the Assumption. I also had a great uncle, who was vice president of the St. John the Baptist Credit Union and who loved Assumption College dearly.

– It sounds like your road to Assumption was clearly marked for you from an early age, was it not?

– Yes, I did go to Assumption Prep and eventually to the college, after having initially won a scholarship for young students discerning a religious vocation. It was very important to my mother that it came with no pressure, respecting my freedom of choice. It was after college that I made my novitiate in Saugerties, NY in 1959.

– Where did your studies take you from there?

– After profession in the congregation, I went to Lyon, France to do a licentiate in theology, followed by an assignment in Quebec to teach English at our school in Bury. I stayed in Canada for fifteen years teaching. One of the blessings during that time was the opportunity to get to know my cousins, aunts and uncles on my father’s side of the family. A major traditional family get together was their annual New Years celebration and blessing of the family by the patriarch!

– It sounds like your ministries were wide and varied during those years in Canada, were they not?

 – Yes, while there I was ordained in 1966 at St. Michael’s in Sherbrooke. I also did parish work, much preaching and was in charge of youth ministry and on the liturgy commission for the archdiocese. I also served as representative of the province.

– When did you return to the U.S.?

– In 1978 I was assigned to St. Anne’s in Sturbridge, MA. After my mother’s death in 1984, I went to Our Lady of Guadalupe in NYC until 1987 where I was also Vicar Provincial. From there I was assigned to Emmanuel House in Worcester to do campus ministry at the college. As I continued working in that ministry, I moved up to our retirement house on Old English Road as superior for six years.

– Did you remain in Worcester after that assignment?

– No, I was then assigned to Mexico for three years where I was provincial delegate and superior of our house of formation. After that I moved back to the U.S. and Brighton, MA where I was a part time campus minister at Babson College in Wellesley, MA for two years, followed by a full time position as campus minister at Bentley College, where I have been for the past eleven years. It has been a very exciting and fulfilling venture working with a team of chaplains representing Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Protestant Christians and Catholics.

– How have you seen the development and growth of the Assumptionist Center in Brighton?

– While living in Brighton, I was first sub-prior and now as superior of the house. The Center began as the headquarters for provincial administration and then eventually became what it is today, that is, a residence for young men who are graduate students in the Boston area who want to live in a Christian community.

– In what other ways have you served the congregation?

– I was chairman of the Bicentennial Planning Committee (2009-2010) and now serve as chairman of the Regional Chapter Planning Committee. In addition, I am on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of Assumption College.

– Do you have any particular interests and /or hobbies?

– Yes, I love classical music in general and choral music in particular. And I have always had an interest in architecture.

– What is your vision and hope for the congregation and the Church?

– The challenges we face as a congregation are daunting, especially with regard to our numbers, the great diversity of the many countries in which we serve and our limited available resources. My hope and prayer for the Church is that in the wake of the recent scandals, we will become more humble and clearer in proclaiming Christ’s message.

NOTE: Since this interview took place, Fr. Claude Grenache, A.A. passed away on June 18, 2017. May he rest in peace.

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