Being Brother 101
What is a religious Brother?
A Brother is a vowed religious male who dedicates his life to a specific ministry or work within a Catholic religious order. In some orders, there are both priests – who are ordained and engage in sacramental ministry as their primary focus- and Brothers. Other orders have only priests. The De La Salle Christian Brothers are only religious congregation of Brothers. For Brothers, of all congregations, the primary means of ministry, spirituality, purpose, joy is through living authentically and faithfully his Gospel call and the charism of his religious order.
What are characteristics of those discerning the Brothers?
Those discerning the Brothers have a diversity of backgrounds and lived experiences, however also have some shared characteristics as well. Discerners are single men who are drawn to deepen their faith, do so in a community of others sharing in their life and ministry, and drawn to the work of education and young people. Usually discerners are between 20-40 and either have finished or currently attending a college or university. They are open to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to explore the joys and opportunities a religious community offers in living out their purpose, passion, and God’s call in their lives.
What are the steps in the process of becoming a Brother?
Discernment of religious life is a process for both the individual and community they discern with. In our process, we invite those interested in learning more about our vocation to be in touch with a vocation director. After some initial conversations, discerners may be invited to join the Contact program, an opportunity to meet semi-regularly with a Brother to discern together, as well as experiencing prayer, community, and ministry through visiting local Brothers communities and Lasallian ministries. After experiences and discernment as a Contact, the next stage of discernment is often a live-in experience, for a discerner more seriously considering the life of the Brothers to live in community for a period of time and working in a Lasallian school. After this stage, discerners, if approved, would live in community as a Postulant, a more formal time of entering community, living as Brother, taking classes and preparing for the Novitiate, a year of formation, prayer, and shared community at the end of which first vows (also called temporary profession) are made.
Are there Brothers who are priests?
Early on, De La Salle and the Brothers decided that they would best serve their mission by concentrating entirely on the ministry of teaching. The only priest in the order was him. Today, the Brothers remain the largest group of lay religious men in the Church devoted exclusively to education. Those who are called to priestly ministry, along with teaching, will find very good religious orders that do so. The Brothers bring the Gospel to the educational world with singleness of devotion and purpose, solely through the ministry of education.
What are some of the joys and opportunities of being a Brother?
- We are a world-wide religious community who are dedicated, loving, individual, prayerful, down-to-earth, joyful and pretty happy.
- A wide variety of educational opportunities and ministries, from storefront schools to schools for the disadvantaged to large high schools to top colleges and universities.
- There’s always a place that needs you, always a community that welcomes you, and always a need that calls out to you.
- Daily life is punctuated by times for prayer, times for study, times for teaching, and times for community activities.
- Personal and professional relationships grow wider and deeper as the years progress – all of them informed and transformed by one’s relationship with God.
Let us know. Beyond Being Brother 101 and the basics of our life, we welcome your questions and we’ll be in touch with you and share more questions and answers here.