Died 7 April 2014
Jesuit Brother Edward P. Babinski died April 7, 2014, at Campion Center in Weston, Mass.
He was born on July 28, 1925, in Worcester, Mass., and baptized the following day in Our Lady of Czestochowa Church. He was the youngest of eight children, of whom only his brother Chester survives. Both Br. Babinski’s parents had been born in Bialystok, in eastern Poland. Br. Babinski attended the local parish schools. At St. Mary’s High School he was a star basketball player. When he graduated, in 1943, he was drafted into the Navy, serving with the Seabees in the Pacific for three years.
A Navy chaplain encouraged his interest in the religious life and the Jesuits. Br. Babinski entered the novitiate of the New England Province at Shadowbrook, Lenox, Mass., on June 4, 1947, and took first vows as a brother in 1949. The following year he became assistant to Provincial John McEleney, thus commencing 62 years in province administration or in national Jesuit offices. Through 11 provincials and two moves of the province offices, he continued to serve as the office expert on the minutiae of the Society’s administrative procedures.
In 1971, Br. Babinski was asked to go to the Jesuit Conference in Washington, D.C., to assist former provincial John V. O’Connor when the latter became executive secretary of the Conference. When Br. Babinski returned to the province office in 1982, he took up where he had left off, managing the office administration.
When the province office moved to Watertown, in 2003, and the practice of having the Jesuits on the province staff live together subsequently ended, Br. Babinski moved to Campion Center but continued to commute to the office. His generous spirit led him to volunteer every Friday night for years washing pots and pans at the Paulist Center soup kitchen in Boston, and for years in May he enlisted fellow Jesuits and dozens of friends to support him as he walked all 20 miles of the annual Walk for Hunger.
When he grew frailer and suffered a variety of health setbacks, he finally accepted the fact that his fulltime assignment was to retire from work and pray for the Church and the Society. When he returned to Campion from his final hospital stay, three days before his death, he arrived at the Health Center singing the opening words of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”
In addition to his many Jesuit brothers, Br. Babinski is survived by his brother Chester, Chester’s wife Jane, nieces and nephews. His sisters Philomena, Jane, Helen and Dziejma and his brothers Henry and Matthew are all deceased.