The Christian Brothers receive their mandate as a Religious Congregation from the Catholic Church. This was received on January 20th 1820.
Jesus had a unique experience of God; this experience shaped his life and mission. Religious Life began as an inspired movement of Christian believers who sought to live as radical disciples of Jesus. They sought to “keep alive the dangerous memory of Jesus” for Church and society. Their lifestyle highlighted the values of Jesus and challenged the practices of the times, including promiscuity, hierarchical abuse of power, consumerism and individualism.
A Christian Brother publicly aligns his life with Jesus’ search for God and his mission to spread the Reign of God. “Brother” is essentially a relational identity rather than a title, and so the Brothers work within society and Church relationally, rather than hierarchically.
To be a Christian Brother is to engage with and be present to all people with humility, empathy, and an open heart.
Taking the “search for God” honestly and seriously is a particular gift a Christian Brother offers the Church. It can lead a Christian Brother to a thoughtful and critical understanding of the Catholic faith.
The fruits of this understanding, when shared are often an inspiration to the faith of other Church members searching to deepen their own faith.
Within Religious Life, the Christian Brother’s vocation is complete and internally coherent; it expresses a particular identity and mission in the Catholic Church. It is also a way of life lived in freedom from clericalism. As a man, a Christian Brother can show to others, especially women, a face of Christ that does not seek to dominate but to remain gently present.