I recently came across this article below written about Brother Russell. He was born and reared in Thomastown, Effin and is one of our parishes colorful and well known citizens. His work and advocacy for the homeless men of limerick was recognized after his death by the naming of a homeless shelter after him. It is located between Mount St Laurence cemetery and St Joseph’s hospital. The building mentioned in article below is now knocked and a new bigger facility is being built in its place, it will keep the name Brother Russell house.
Many of you may not have heard of him or this facility, but we should be proud of his achievements and compassion during his lifetime is still having an impact and positive effect on people’s lives in limerick.
Article below written by his friend Ted O’Riordan, Charleville
Bro. Stephen Russell – Good Samaritan of the down and outs
To have known Brother Stephen of the congregation of the Alexian Brothers was a privilege, but to have known Jim Russell, the man who became Brother Stephen, was indeed a revelation. I was privileged to have known the two sides of this wonderful man of God who to use a cliche, became a legend in his own lifetime this kindly loving and loveable character who became the apostle of the drop-outs and the winos and the Good Samaritan to the homeless and the lonely. I do not think I am doing his memory any injustice in referring to him as a drop-out and a misfit, since after are we not all drop-outs and misfits, unless and until we eventually find our true niche and answer the call to our real vocation in life! Some of us indeed never find it and so become all of our lives Jim Russell truly found his when he became an Alexian Brother.
After a rather hectic and varied career from the time he left school until he reached the age of 31 years he appeared to be carefree and happy but deep down in his heart and Soul he was lonely and unhappy and when eventually he found experession for his God given gifts of caring for and helping the outcasts and the homeless, he expressed his thoughts and feeling in poetry. The title of the little book is entitled Happiness and it reads as follows: