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Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions About Religious Brothers
What exactly is a Brother?
A Brother is a man who consecrates himself to God and performs some service to God’s people. His call is to relate to others as Jesus did, as a brother.
Do Brothers take vows?
Brothers do take vows. The common vows for Brothers are the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. This basically means that instead of having their own wealth, Brothers share their resources with one another; Brothers do not marry or pursue romantic relationships; when making decisions, Brothers try to listen to and follow God’s will for their life, rather than their own preferences. These vows can present challenges at times, but when lived well they can also contribute to a joy-filled life.
How is a Brother different from a priest?
The call of a Brother is to live the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience while offering non-sacramental service to God’s people through such works as education, health care, social work, spiritual accompaniment and prayer, whereas typical priestly ministry focuses on the celebration of the sacraments.
Do Brothers pray all day?
While prayer is an essential component of a Brother’s life, so is community and ministry. While we take time for both private and communal prayer and try to remember God’s presence throughout the day, we also work, socialize, and take time for ourselves in much the same way that other people do.
Are Brothers monks?
While some Brothers are monks who dedicate themselves to contemplative lifestyle in a monastery, other communities of Brothers focus more on providing direct service to others.
Questions About the Marist Brothers in Particular:
Do the Marist Brothers wear a habit?
Some Marist Brothers wear a traditional habit as seen in various places on this website. Others wear some distinguishable black garment. Marist Brothers who do not wear a habit wear a congregational cross when doing ministry.
How do the Marist Brothers pray?
Marist Brothers are called to pray communally and individually. The style of community prayer varies but it often involves the Liturgy of the Hours. Personal prayer varies, but includes forms of meditation and contemplation. Brothers also make an annual retreat of about a week’s time. Marist Brothers attend Mass regularly and are encouraged to engage in spiritual reading.
What is community life like?
Marist Brothers’ religious communities vary in size from two to 20. Regardless of a community’s size, Brothers live communally, sharing prayer and meals together and spending quality time with each other. The hallmark of a Marist Brothers’ community is family spirit. Each community is a welcoming place for co-workers, family members, friends, young people, and others.
What is your connection to the official Church?
The Marist Brothers is an official congregation of pontifical right within the Roman Catholic Church. Our specific role within the Church is to make Jesus Christ known and loved through the Christian education of youth, especially the most neglected. We collaborate with the local Church in helping young people know Jesus.
What do the Marist Brothers do?
The Marist Brothers frequently serve as counselors, teachers, youth ministers, spiritual directors, and mentors, while others work to strengthen and promote the rights of children and youth.