George Fix remembers his brother, Fr. Tom

A young Fr. Tom (seated, center) with one of his first groups of Indonesian students

A great man

George Fix, the brother of Fr. Tom Fix, shared the following at the Memorial Mass for Fr. Tom at Sacred Heart Monastery on April 26:

He was a great man.

That kind of says it all, but not really.

He was a great young man when he left his parents and brothers at the age of 13 and went two states away to high school with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in Donaldson. His mother’s heart was broken, but she knew that God had greater plans for Tom.

He was a great young man when one summer vacation from high school his dad encouraged him to go to a local private golf club to earn some money as a caddie. Tom came home after the second day and asked not to return. When asked why, he said that there was too much fighting and bickering and foul language. God had better plans for Tom.

He was a great young man when after high school he decided to go on to the novitiate and to profess his initial vows to live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience with the Priests of the Sacred Heart. God’s plans were starting to unfold.

He was a great man when, after his final profession and ordination to the priesthood and a few years of teaching, Tom’s dream came true and he answered the call to become a missionary in Indonesia. How could he go halfway around the world and again nearly break his mother’s heart? But again, she knew that God had greater plans for Tom.

He was a great man when after years of dedicated work in Indonesia, the Indonesian government decided not to renew the visas of U.S. citizens doing missionary work. Tom gave up his U.S. citizenship and became an Indonesian citizen in order to continue his work with the Indonesian Catholic community. God’s plan was working.

He was a great man when he answered a need in India to be part of the SCJ community there and help develop the young Indian men for possible future priesthood. He left his beloved Indonesian community and went off to a new and different culture and language to further fulfill God’s plan.

He was a great man through all these years of different and changing responsibilities in Indonesia and India that he never forgot about his family back in the U.S., and always managed to be here for the important occasions in the lives of his parents, brothers, cousins, nieces and nephews, and their children. And with his visits, Tom always brought the love and affection that we will so dearly miss. All a part of God’s plan.

He was a great man in the final months of his life when he showed all who came to see him in his time of illness how to accept the will of God with humility and love. In spite of times of excruciating pain and lying in bed for hours without movement, he always had a friendly greeting for those who came to see him or minister to his needs. He maintained his sense of humor through all of the illness and shared God’s love and mercy with all who were with him. The Indonesian community embraced Tom and all of his needs with constant and loving care. He was loved by so many people and now he has fulfilled God’s plan.

On behalf of Tom’s extended family, I would like to thank the Priests of the Sacred Heart for this memorial service and for providing Tom with the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a missionary and providing him with a loving community in which to fulfill God’s plan.

My wife, Brenda, after spending time with Tom, announced that she was no longer afraid of death and getting into Heaven. All she would have to do is announce that she knew Fr. Tom and she would be ushered right in. As much as Tom was good for all of us while he was here on earth, I’m confident that Saint Thomas Fix, SCJ, will be even better for us all in heaven.