Br. Tony was one of ten children. He was born in Fall River, MA, on February 5, 1922, to John B. and Rose P. Freitas, both now deceased. He attended the John J. Doran and Samuel Watson Grammar Schools in Fall River, graduating from the latter in 1937. He entered the B.M.C. Durfee School in Fall River, where he remained one year. During World War II, he served as a Gunners Mate Third Class in the United States Navy, in the South Pacific. In preparation, he had attended the Navy School in San Diego, CA. Following the War, he entered the Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, at Geneva, IL, where he completed his postulancy and novitiate. He made his first profession of vows in 1951. During this time, he was assigned as maintenance man, boiler man and gardener.
In 1957, Br. Tony made his perpetual profession of vows and volunteered for the missions of the USA Province of the order in Papua New Guinea. Except for an interval of re-assignment in the States during the late 1970’s, he has been a foreign missionary during his entire religious life.
Up to his temporary return in 1975, he was captain of MSC supply boats, logging more than 6000 miles each year. His runs to the mission stations each took nearly three weeks to complete. When the transport of mission supplies was eventually turned over to the commercial carriers, this phase of Tony’s mission career came to an end. After he returned to Papua New Guinea, he began a new career as a vocational school teacher at the mission station at Puas in the diocese of Kavieng, Island of New Ireland. In the mid-1960’s, Br. Tony had completed a two-year course at A.T.E.S. Electronics School in Niles, OH. The classes which he has taught in vocational training, therefore, have included Morse Code, as well as English, engine repair, math, weather science, and basic navigation. All of these are skills that the people of Papua New Guinea need to obtain jobs on local boats. Thus, he has contributed to the building up of the economy of the new nation. During past years, he has also been personally involved in the radio communications between mission stations.
He was manager of maintenance of the mission station on the Island of Lihir, off the coast of New Ireland. He then assisted in the parish of Milmila on the Duke of York Island and Rakanda.
He returned to the USA in 2007 and retired at Sacred Heart Villa in Center Valley, PA.
Br. Tony was a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1948 and was a 3rd degree Knight.
In recent years Br. Tony suffered from memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Since 2014 he has resided at Valley Manor Nursing Home in Coopersburg, Pa. He is survived by his sister Alice Rethemeyer and nephews and nieces.
A Prayer Service was held at Sacred Heart Villa, Center Valley, PA at 7:00 PM Thursday, Aug. 13. Br. Tony’s Funeral Mass took place in the Villa Chapel on Friday, Aug. 14, at 10:00 AM, with Fr. Raymond Diesbourg, MSC, as the main celebrant and homilist. Burial was in the MSC plot at the parish cemetery in Ottsville, Pa.