Unspoken Heroes of Blakefield: Brendan O'Kane

Unspoken Heroes of Blakefield is a student project organized by Andreas Diokno '24, with photography by Chris Nwafor '24, dedicated to spotlighting those in our school community who may not always receive the recognition they deserve. Our third Unspoken Hero is Mrs. Denise Hershel, Administrative Assistant to the Upper School. 

Unspoken Hero of Blakefield: Brendan O'Kane
by Andreas Diokno '24

Mr. Brendan O'Kane oversees a team dedicated to building faith formation, service and justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in his role as the Ignatian Mission and Identity Director at Loyola Blakefield. Mr. O’Kane focuses primarily on fostering and supporting the spiritual journey of adults in our community; he is committed to cultivating experiences and actions that strengthen their relationship with God and transform their worldview. He currently serves our campus with his faith formation retreat opportunities for parents and alumni.

A few years ago, at a Jesuit school conference, Mr. O'Kane was offered the opportunity to join our school as the campus minister. When asked what inspires him to continue working at Loyola every day, Mr. O'Kane expressed the amazing moments that can be found in every individual here. He states, "From the student who doesn't know my name but smiles at me and says, 'Good Morning', to the adults in my faith formation group talking about their lives and how it is progressing and they are learning more about themselves and their relationship with God, this promise of growth is what makes me come back every day". One tradition that Mr. O'Kane loves is the Mass of the Holy Spirit, a celebration of God in which we remember Dan McNeil, a former student whose vibrant spirit embodies the values of what it means to be a Don.

When the school started to open back up full-time after the pandemic, Mr. O’Kane wanted to give students a place where they could congregate, meet new people, and have lunch. He decided to have the room next to his office as the place for the students. In a short time, the room became a hub of people coming to eat lunch and hang out on a daily basis. Students, such as Maurice Ghee ’24 and Josh Brown ’24, have stated that “It is a safe space for me to be able to get work done and an opportunity to expand relationships with my peers.” The room is located on the senior balcony of Knott Hall and is constantly filled with students of all grade levels eating lunch together, having conversations, and completing schoolwork.

I chose Mr. O'Kane as an Unspoken Hero because of his daily positivity, friendliness and joyful spirit that he brings to our community. Despite the demands of his job, he always makes time for us Dons and engages in dynamic conversation with students, which often are uplifting and can brighten someone's spirits. With that being said, it’s clear that Mr. O'Kane impact goes far beyond his official duties, and I am grateful for all the ways he uplifts and inspires our Loyola community.
500 Chestnut Ave. Towson, MD 21204
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