Of the three categories of Religious — priests, Brothers and Sisters — that of Brother seems to be the most overlooked. Why? The differences between a priest and a Brother are often not properly understood. One popular misconception is that a Brother is someone who just wasn’t quite holy enough or smart enough to become a priest. Far from it! The truth is that the two vocations are essentially different. Brotherhood is not a lower grade of priesthood. The priest has greater spiritual authority than the Brother, true, but the Brother has a unique spiritual effectiveness in his calling. Many great men, some of them canonized saints, were Religious Brothers — St. Gerard Majella, Blessed Martin de Porres, St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, Brother Andre of Montreal, to name just a few.
The main duty of a Marian Brother is to assist the priest in his manifold tasks: he serves at the liturgy, accompanies the priest in his Mass circuit travels, helps in catechizing children and adults, performs manual tasks in the religious house, and may be called upon to teach in schools. He cultivates a deep prayer life, and like the Marian priest, takes the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. With his hands the priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, while the Brother, with his hands performs the manual labors and folds them in hours of daily prayer. The priest may be the spiritual navigator or pilot, but his effectiveness is enhanced by the Brother’s life of prayer, sacrifice, and work.
If you are interested and feel that you have the potential for this special vocation, we invite you to visit our Vocations Page, or to write to the address below.