“You bear the sweet name of Brothers.
Let no one call you by any other name.
Titles may awaken or demand respect,
but Brother has an air purely of charity and simplicity”.
(Br. Gabriel Taborin)
The Constitutions describe the religious consecration of the Brother, lived in accordance with the charism of Gabriel Taborin in two ways: as the characteristic which gives us our identity in the Church and as a means of recreating today the life of Jesus in Nazareth, where his experiences in his family were what He later preached to others.
For a Brother, living the spirituality of the Holy Family of Nazareth means recreating the mystery of that family in today’s terms, and keeping it alive. We do this mainly by living simply, through meditation and humility, in other words, by making the extraordinary history of the Gospel come true in ordinary, everyday activities.
Work, prayer and brotherhood are the constant pattern of this Nazarene lifestyle, summed up in the motto :
“In oratione, labore et caritate: Pax”
Oratione : Brothers in prayer
The choice of the religious life is founded, amongst other things, on a natural inclination to prayer: the religious must have a desire to meet God.
For a Brother of the Holy Family, a life of prayer is a daily need for silence and meditation. Our prayers are simple, trusting, joyful, as befits a son who takes to the Father his concerns for his own apostolate, the needs of the brothers, those of the Church and of the world. We continue to pray at other times of the day to show that we love God and are aware of His presence.
For a Brother, sharing in the Eucharist is the act which most clearly expresses his religious consecration. Through Christ’s example, we learn to give ourselves in love to God and to humanity.
Anyone who wishes may join us in celebrating the liturgy of the hours, an important time in the community’s life of prayer.
“Prayer has been the cornerstone of our Institute; it will be one of the strongest pillars to uphold it.” (Br .Gabriel Taborin NG p. XXVII)
“In their life as a community, prayer is the most important feature of the Brothers’ consecration to God for the sake”. (Constitutions, Art. 129)
Labore : Brothers at work
Being a Brother means being with others and for others. For a Brother, the only satisfactory way to work is by being attentive and open to others: by giving and giving of oneself. That is why we willingly put our talents, our abilities, our whole selves at the service of God’s work, wherever we may be sent, in obedience to our vows.
The Constitutions see apostolic activity as an essential aspect of our consecration to God and the Kingdom, and a practical expression of our love for our fellow human beings. The specific area in which the Brothers work is education: in the Institute’s own schools, or sometimes in State schools, and in centres of professional formation, catechesis and liturgical animation. So, we receive a solid professional formation and take the necessary examinations, keeping abreast of current trends so that we can respond to the demands of a rapidly changing society.
The Brothers pay special attention to the disadvantaged: young people, the poor and families in difficulty.
Caritate : Brothers in community
Life in a community means taking pleasure in sharing with other Brothers the same passion for God, the same desire to serve, selflessly, and with respect and generosity, as we meet the stresses and strains of everyday life and work. The Brothers form a family community where each individual is welcomed, encouraged, loved and helped.
Time is set aside each day – as well as longer periods during the year – for getting together, for talking, for relaxation, moments when joys and problems are shared.
Anything that strengthens the bonds of fraternity is celebrated: birthdays, anniversaries, study sessions…
“Each member welcomes his Brothers as a gift from God” (Const. Art. 90)
“Your religious life is not just living together, but a communion of persons. Your Brothers are a gift from the Father. Take care of them. Love them. The too consider you as a gift from the Father.” (Introduction to the Constitutions)
– A sense of family
In their community life, the Brothers try to recreate “the same feeling that united Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, which has its origin in the Holy Trinity and which creates and transforms the bonds that God placed at the heart of the natural family.”
This spirit is expressed in the qualities that give the Brothers of the Holy Family their special nature, that demonstrate and nourish their sense of family: joy, conversation, understanding, tact, simplicity, service. Brother Gabriel defined this way of living as “team spirit and a sense of family” and he passed on a practical expression of that spirit to the Brothers:
“My dear Brothers one thing that contributes greatly to the happiness, success and strength of a religious society and which lightens the burden of the person God has chosen to be its Superior, is its “team spirit and sense of family”. It springs from charity, and hence from God himself, who is the source of charity… In a congregation which truly has this spirit, all the members have but one heart and one soul; they love each other, help each other, share each other’s joys and sorrows, successes and setbacks…”. (Const. Art. 13)
The sense of family is also a distinguishing feature of the Brothers’ work in education and their relationships with all who collaborate with them, whether at work or in the apostolate.
– The Holy Family of Nazareth, a model for all time
The Holy Family of Nazareth is a model for every community.
“The Brothers perceive the Holy Family as the most perfect earthly fulfilment of the loving community which is the Holy Trinity. They demonstrate their will to serve God and humanity by living the mystery of Christ, in his family life with Mary and Joseph”. (Const. Art. 6)
We set aside every Monday for special veneration of our patron saints.
At Christmastime, we joyfully share in the close family relationships of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
“In the same way that the Word Incarnate established the perfect family union in the mystery of Nazareth, the Divine Word will open this way to the Brothers to the fullness of peace by means of the love, the prayer and the work to build their community permanently”. (Constitutions art. 12)
“Peace and happiness are paschal gifts that Christ offers to today’s people in the communities of the Brothers”. (Constitutions art. 24)