Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bishop John Brady of Perth's Jewish Origins

This week a very good article on Bishop John Brady was published in the Perth Archdiocesan newspaper called "The Record" by Bridget Spinks. Bridget gives a very balanced view of the different opinions on Bishop Brady and his role in the foundation of the Catholic Church in Western Australia. Bishop Brady's remains have been removed from his grave in France to be installed in St Mary's Cathedral in Perth with the other Archbishops of Perth on August 2.

In the past I have written briefly of John Brady who was a close relative of Leon Brady the father of my father's great grandmother Mary Ann Brady. Mary was to come to Western Australia in 1865 with her first husband Edward Bloomer (she was his second wife)and children. After the death of her first husband she remarried a second time and also had a family with her second husband Michael Redmond.

Bridget Spinks records that little is known about John Brady's early life and family except that he came from County Cavan. He also did not speak English very well though he was fluent in French. The article states an opinion that his mother tongue was Gaelic to explain his poor English. In fact his mother tongue was Yiddish and he was born in Eastern Europe of a Jewish family that had become Catholic Frankists.

John Brady's family came from Sheklov (Sheklou in modern day Belarus) and Krustpils (in Latvia). He was the son of Berend Natan Broide of Sheklov and Judith Cohen of Cavan (from the Cohen family of Savannah Georgia). Judith went with her first husband and son to Russia from Cavan Ireland in the late 1790's. After his death around 1801 she married her second husband who was a Frankist Jew. Around 1815-20 due to the troubles with Napoleon they returned to Cavan. John and his brothers Bernard and Terence were born in Russia but settled with their parents in Carrickatober Cavan where they were known as Bernard and Judith Brady. They settled in Cavan as a group and anglicising Broide to Brady, Tzoref to Smith, Luntz to Lynch, Gafner to Gafney, Kinnor to Connor and Maccabi or Machabeo to McCabe and McAvoy.

Bishop Brady had a sister Ann Mary (Channa Miriam/Anna Maria)Brady (also born in Russia) who married John Farrelly and they later settled in South Australia. Bishop Brady's sister (or aunt according to some researchers) Margaret (Margarita)Brady is also believed to have married into the Farrelly family to Patrick Farrelly. One of his Farrelly nephews Terrence Frederick Farrelly (named after Bishop Brady's brother Terrence) went to Perth with Bishop Brady. The Farrelly family were originally the Jewish Italian Forli family descended from Rabbi Moses ben Daniel of Forli of the 15th century.

It would seem that the village of Carrickatober and the nearby village of Crosskeys (10 minutes walk from each other) were little Frankist villages in Ireland with their own Frankist Catholic Church (the second in the one parish of Denn) in the townland of Carickatubber. The Church was known as Loonogs (meaning little chapel). The village was called by the Frankists Krustpils (Kreutzberg) after the place where Moshe ben Zalman lived and wrote his Jewish Catholic work on the Cross. This was anglicised to Crosskeys. The chapel originally built in Crosskeys was rebuilt in 1839 in Carrickatober. Some of the Frankist families were also in nearby little village and townland of Lislea (not to be confused with Lislea in the west of Cavan). The leader of these Frankist Jews in Carrickatober was Yoram Maccabi (Owen McCabe) along with Berend Tzoref (Bernard Smith), Yacov Luntz (James Lynch), Tam Moranu (Thomas Murray), Moshe Broide (Michael Brady), Yossi Maccabeo (Joseph McAvoy), Pinchas Cohen (Patt Culwin), Moshe Kohl (Michael Coyle) and Yacov Gafner (James Gafney).

John Brady's blonde hair and blue eyes were common in the Eastern European families to which he was connected. Both the Alter Rebbe and his Catholic son were blonde and Rebbe Nachman of Breslov had strawberry blonde hair. The Catholic son of the Alter Rebbe, Moshe ben Zalman was the husband of Berend Natan Broide's sister Leah Golda Broide.

The article also mentions mental illness in the Brady family and strange behaviour. This was because of the spiritual tradition of being "fools for God" followed by these hidden Catholic Jews in the Catholic Church and Jewish communities. John's uncle Moshe was an exemplar of such "foolishness for the Messiah". John Brady learnt with his uncle Moshe ben Zalman who travelled under the name of Leon Brody in France.

Many of the mysteries of the life of Bishop John Brady are explained when one realises he was part of a network of converted Jews in the Catholic Church. They often hid their Jewish background from outsiders and appeared as devout Gentile Catholics to the Gentiles. It is interesting that one of the people involved in moving the remains of Bishop Brady is also herself a Jewish born Catholic called Mrs Bobby Hoyle. It would indeed seem that Bishop Brady did not forget his Jewish origins even from beyond the grave.