“The Institute of the Brothers
of the Holy Family
was founded in the diocese of Belley
by Brother Gabriel Taborin;
it is a religious Institute of Brothers,
with a lay character
of pontifical right,
approved on August 28, 1841.”
An Institute founded by Brother Gabriel Taborin
Gabriel Taborin Ponce was born on 1st November 1799, at Belleydoux, diocese of Belley (France). At that time, France was living the end of the revolutionary process that finished with the Ancient Regime. The hostilities towards the Church had ceased and the favourable ambience to live religion in freedom had been progressively extended. In this historical background, of reconstruction of the parish life and assessment of the education as a means of human and Christian promotion, Brother Gabriel Taborin founds the Congregation of the Brothers of the Holy Family in 1835.
The Congregation or Institute was approved by Pope Gregory XVI in Rome in 1841. The intuition of Bro. Gabriel was that his religious might be Brothers at the service of the parishes and villages, in tasks such as teachers, catechists and animators of the liturgy. A mission that Bro. Gabriel himself lived in his youth in several places, and among them his native village.
This was the intuition that reached him to found an Institute of Brothers, the Brothers of the Holy Family. Pope John Paul II, on 14th May, 1991, declared Brother Gabriel Taborin “Venerable”.
A religious life of Brother
“The members of the Institute
are all Brothers and use this name.
They are called to be brothers of Christ,
brothers among them,
brothers of every man,
by the testimony of Christ’s charity towards all.”
Our religious life of Brother is rooted in the very message of the Gospel: “You are all Brothers” (Mt 23:8). We try to highlight and testify in our world the strength of the fraternity, the testimony of the values of the Gospel and the radical imitation of the historical way of Jesus’ life. Brother Gabriel assumed this condition of Brother and died as a Brother despite the strong influence of the clericalism of the Church at that time. He left written to his Brothers: “You are called Brothers, never allow anyone to call you anything else; titles inspire and command respect; but the name Brother speaks only of simplicity, kindness and charity” (Bro. Gabriel, Guide, art. 112).
With a spirit and spirituality inspired in the Holy Family
“The Brothers contribute to carry out
the plan of salvation
through the characteristic spirit of the Institute,
which is the family spirit.
This spirit comes from the vital bonds
that united the members
of the Holy Family of Nazareth
and whose source is the Holy Trinity.”
We, the Brothers, live in Community, guided by a proper way of living the Gospel and proclaiming it. Our relationships are based on the “spirit of family” that we live wherever we are sent.
We get inspiration in the family life of the Holy Family at Nazareth. The response, that Jesus, Mary and Joseph gave the Father through prayer, work and love lived in the daily life, invites us to live it in today’s circumstances. Therefore, the Brothers are called to update and prolong the family dynamism of Nazareth, with a simple and active life, in all the circumstances of our life.
Committed to the evangelizing mission
“The Brothers are open
to the needs of the local Church.
They participate in its pastoral work
mainly by means of Christian education,
catechesis and liturgical animation.”
The Brothers of the Holy Family have very present that, for us, the apostolate is a consequence of our generous self-giving to God, which is prolonged in men. The Brothers, sharing in the charism of the Founder, Bro. Gabriel Taborin, have been called to evangelize in the local Church, especially in three fields, which were very loved and lived out by him:
- The Christian education,
- The catechesis,
- And the liturgical animation.
Thus, our Communities of Brothers carry out an apostolic work that helps to grow as persons and Christians: Educating in schools, colleges and workshops; collaborating in schools of catechists and pastoral; teaching catechesis in parishes, schools or youth groups; animating the liturgy in parishes and sanctuaries, and accompanying and training youth in the formation houses. Brothers and Laity, we carry out this evangelizing task in shared mission with many other people.
A Project that is renewed and updated
“We want to listen to the present call of the Church
to devote ourselves
to the New Evangelization
through education, catechesis,
liturgy and support to the family.”
(37th General Chapter)
Our apostolate is today supported by the whole Sa-Fa Family, in which takes part: Brothers, Nazarene Fraternities, Teachers, Catechists, Christian Communities, Associations of Parents, Associations of Solidarity and Monitors of free-time activities. Nazareth is model and strength for all.
The General and Provincial Chapters update the charism to the new realities and needs with the aim of going on giving responses to today’s man from the Gospel. The XXXVIII General Chapter, celebrated in 2019, made a new Project of Life in which the whole Sa-Fa Family is invited to :
- As Sa-Fa Family, we feel the call to live the spirituality of joy and gratitude we feel as people loved by God. “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus” (EG 1).
- As Sa-Fa Family, we feel the call to holistic care of the person as a beloved creature of the Father and expression of fraternity.
- As Sa-Fa Family, we feel the call to walk together in a participatory and co-responsible (“synodal”) style, according to our charis.
- As Sa-Fa Family, we feel the call to live the charism “on the move,” committed to the existential and geographical peripheries
- As Sa-Fa Family, we feel the call to discover the value of one’s vocation. “I have chosen you as a covenant for the people” (Is 42:6).
- As Sa-Fa Family, we feel the call to walk with young people and families.
- As Sa-Fa Family, we feel the call to take care of life, the environment, and nature. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs” (Laudato si, 1).
- As Sa-Fa Family, we feel the call to promote permanent formation to keep alive the mission of the Institute from the charism.
An Institute on the move
The Brothers of the Holy Family are present in different countries. Our educational and pastoral mission, the spirit of family and the Nazarene spirituality, are good news for all the cultures. At present, the Congregation is present in France, Uruguay, Italy, Argentina, Spain, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Ecuador, Ivory Coast, Mexico, the Philippines, India, Colombia, Benin, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. As Brother Gabriel, we want to be sensitive to the needs of our time and we want to welcome the advice of the Holy Priest of Ars, personal friend of Bro. Gabriel, that says: “Be simple. The more you are simple, the more will be the good you do” (Words of St. John Mary Vianney to the Brothers).