JeanetteThe Xaverian Brothers’ International Assembly, July 16-20, in Bruges, Belgium was a very meaningful event for me. We reflected individually and in community on a number of questions throughout the week: “What are we becoming together by the grace of God?” “How can we be so present to reality that we know what is called for?” “How do we take a prophetic stance on the difficult issues?” “What characteristics of the Xaverian charism are we passionate about?”

I deeply appreciated the way individual presenters gave meaning to the charism project through reflections on their lived experience. Their thoughts challenge me to reflect on what God is asking of me at this time in my life.

Let me share notes that I found striking from some the presentations: 

  • There is one impulse of grace for each atom of time. Spirituality is about recognizing the moment for me; recognizing the one thing that is necessary. Brother John Hamilton 
  • Our mission is shared by committed men and women who find in Ryken’s charism, a spirituality that resonates with the way God calls them to serve. Brother Larry Harvey
  • Through my Xaverian experiences I am developing an openness to the reality of God’s presence in the common and ordinary as integral to what it means to be Xaverian. Dr. Ed Hardiman 
  • Ryken’s personal conversion is described as one of powerfully being put “in place.” This sense of place is a fresh experience of relationship with God. Brother Joe Pawlika 
  • Our charism has to be experienced and shared, lived and expressed in life. It is a gift to be shared and all contribute uniquely to it. Brother Placide Ngoie

We gathered as Associates to describe Xaverian Spirituality based on our experience of the brothers — the spirituality that led us to join them as “companions on the journey.” Perhaps you will resonate with what we valued about the brothers.

are non-hierarchical; listen and are present to those they serve; cherish common/ordinary sacramental moments; seem surprised at times to realize they are among God’s beloved; have a personal, loving, relationship with each other; are grateful, hospitable, committed to serving the poor and marginalized; are will to risk confronting difficult issues; are zealous for their ministries and those they serve; are humble and cautiously hopeful in the re-emerging zeal for the richness and diversity of their congregation; are willing to accept others who are not vowed brothers as companions on their journey.

As powerful as the shared ideas and discussions were, for more powerful was the opportunity of getting to know some of the school collaborators and the brothers from Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Belgium, and the United States. I will be processing in prayer what I read and heard and shared in Bruges for some time. It was a graced-filled experience.

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