The Coat of Arms of the Brothers of the Holy Family, was brewing in January 1947 when, in the 25th General Chapter, gathered in Villa Brea and under the presidency of Brother Tharcisius, newly elected Superior General, was approved that the Congregation had a Coat of Arms representing its motto: “In Oratione, Labore et Charitate: Pax”. This Coat of Arms should preside over all the official acts of the Institute.
“L’Entretien Familial” (official magazine of the Congregation) published the rules for the contest. Fifteen projects were submitted.
DESCRIPTION OF THE COAT OF ARMS
Upper emblem: “Sancta Familia”.
Monogram: JMJ, the initials of the three persons of the Holy Family.
Lower emblem: With the motto of the Congregation: “In Oratione, Labore et Charitate: Pax”.
Field of the coat of arms: Quartered with the Savoy cross in silver integrating the whole set. It appears divided in four equal parts.
The first quarter: Blue with the golden star with three beams of the same metal pointing to the centre of the coat of arms.
The second and third quarters: Totally of red colour.
The fourth quarter: Red colour with a beehive of golden colour in the centre and in the upper part, two bees of the same metal.
PRESENTATION AND INTERPRETATION
The final model is work of the Commission, bearing in mind the three drafts submitted by the Community of Saint-Pierre du Gros-Caillou…
(Published in L’Entretien Familial in June 1950, no. 47)
“Our ideal corresponds to a well-defined religious life. The real life is unitary; it should not be lost in the details, but should reflect its main components…
Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived a life of work, in an atmosphere of intimate union, with God and in the ambience of holy and whole-hearted family relationships…
In our Communities, under the protection of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, prayer goes up to heaven and irradiates graces of peace upon work, fraternal love…
The cross of Savoy-Bugey evokes the place of origin of our spiritual family… Our life is one, focused in Christ, living in Nazareth in the intimacy of Mary and Joseph.
The cross indicates us that, through our inner life and our apostolate, we are victims together with Christ for the ransom of the Humanity. We realize our task united to Christ in work, prayer and in the practice of a true fraternal love. The four quarters remind it to us…
The blue colour of the first quarter where shines a golden star with three beams of the same metal, pointing to each one of the other quarters,… The star, with its peaceful reflections, is the bright symbol of the peace that the Saviour promised to his true disciples and to those who obey faithfully his commandment: Love one another as He has loved us…
… The red colour occupies the other three quarters; what does it mean to us? It is the blood, that loves, fights, prays in us. It is the life and the symbol of the victorious love.
The three red quarters will repeat that peace will shine in our soul and in our Communities by the prayer, work and love among us…
The idea of Community, essential in our life, appears here reflected, since Jesus, Mary and Joseph are our patrons, forming a family…
Also it is clear the meaning of the small beehive of gold that occupies the centre of the last quarter of our Coat of Arms. If like true and working bees we know how to suck, through the insignificant facts of our life, the hidden honey, so our Communities will be a sacred beehive in which we will store the precious nectar of the religious virtues…”
All the Coats of Arms of our Schools bear as a base the one of the Congregation, but with some adaptations:
In the upper right quarter, we have added a torch or a book, symbols of the ideal to integrate culture and faith. The torch is also understood in our educational spheres as a symbol of sports.
In the lower left quarter, we put the emblem or symbol of the country or the city in which the Community of the apostolic Work is living. It is a way of expressing our way of enculturation in that place.
The Coat of Arms reminds us some basic truths of our religious life, and it may help us to bring together among us the bonds of our fraternity, since the colours and symbols help us to understand that at Nazareth, they prayed, they worked and they loved.