Beginning of August 1964, some companions of the APAS (Parents’ Association) of France, Italy and Spain, gathered in Belley, Mother House of the Congregation, invited by the Superior General. Once gathered, they observed that, on the one hand, they all have similar problems, and on the other, they all have entrusted their children’s education to the Brothers of the Holy Family. In doing so, they have acquired the Brothers’ charism.
They decided to perpetuate this contact, extending it to all those who formed part of the educational communities of the schools, such as Brothers, former pupils, parents of former pupils, teachers, etc. Two years later, the first statutes came into being at a meeting held in Barcelona on 23 and 24 April 1966. The International Holy Family Association (AISF) was born.
They proposed that the Council should meet every year, holding a Congress every two years for the in-depth study of a subject of mutual interest, and a Meeting to encourage coexistence and fraternity between the different national groups. The following year, they agreed to start activities for students, and so they began in 1968. At the beginning, it was only on the basis of summer camps, which took place in France, Italy or Spain on a rotating basis.
With this experience, more complex activities for students, such as Olympiads and cultural weeks, began to be organised on a rotating basis from 1984 onwards. This, together with the congresses and meetings of the AISF itself, filled our Association with content and brought it to its full potential.
In addition to these ordinary activities, there have been other extraordinary activities that have made our Association an important support to the work of the Brothers. These occasions were: the campaign for the beatification of Venerable Brother Gabriel, which culminated in Lyon in ’89, the project to launch the Nazarene Fraternities in Rome in ’91, the support and participation in the events of the bicentenary of the birth of Venerable Brother Gabriel Taborin in ’99, together with the transfer of his remains to the Vatican. Gabriel Taborin in 1999, together with the transfer of his mortal remains the previous year and the integration of Burkina Faso into our association, whose candidature was presented at the Congress.
At this point, and at the proposal of the Honorary President of the Association, Brother Superior General proposed in Belley the extension of the AISF to what is now the international reality of the Brothers. The 10 countries where they are actually established. So, we set to work and together we have modified the Statutes of the AISF, which were presented at the Gavà Meeting in April 2001 and approved in June of the same year in Belley.
Since then, the European countries have remained as the European Regional Council of the ISAF. And this Council has continued to organise the Meetings and Activities ever since.