Brother René Stockman, FC is the Superior General of the Brothers of Charity. Today he speaks to the Xaverian Brothers at their chapter in Rome on the subject of the religious Brother in the 21st century

Reflection Questions:
What stands out from this morning’s talk that speaks to our Congregation today? What challenges do we face and what hopes do we share for being faithful to our charism, life call and commitment?
Qu’est-ce qu’il ressort de l’exposé de ce matin qui interpelle notre Congrégation aujourd’hui. Quels sont les défis auxquels nous faisons face et quels sont les espoirs que nous partageons pour être fidèles à notre charisme, notre vocation et notre engagement ?
full webcast schdule link

2 comments on “The Religious Brother in the 21st Century with René Stockman, FC

  1. Bonaventure Scully on

    —Some time ago I was at dinner with Bea and Peter Holland and in the course of our conversation, Bea, Peter’s wife, asked me two question about myself; “What particulars in my life was I proud of and what would I like to do or accomplished with my remaining time? This reflection deals with only the first question and I do so with hesitation and fear of false pride. I am acutely aware of false pride or bragging. I often reflect on my motives: do I minister for myself, my ego, or do I minister for the good itself, for my way or to our charism? I actually did not reflect on my motives but just assumed I was going what was good and my responding to our way. Sometimes I was brash and was not evaluating enough.
    For my own reflection and for your consideration, I hereby identify my ‘prides’. I
    After only one happy year at the Prep, I found myself assigned to St. X to teach Chemistry and be a member of a community of 45 of us ‘monks’. While it was an abrupt change, I was very happy teaching, coaching tennis and moderating the Sodality. I was one of the first to teach Advanced Placement Courses with very eager St X students, Our sodality members on Sunday mornings to reach or minister to people in the city hospital, the city youth detention center, teaching catechism in Sunday school. Young St. X students were bringing the gospel to people on the margin in Louisville.
    .BROOKLYN (‘58-‘68) Advanced placement Chemistry was taken by three classes. Brooklyn kids were enthusiastic and so was the teacher! In some mysterious way I became involved student spiritual life with STUDENT RETREATS AWAY FROM school scheduled with the Jesuits at Monroe, NY and Conn., with the Passionists at Shelter Island, and others.
    Humboldt St. & St. Paul’s Retreat Center(’65-‘70+)–IN COLLABORATION WITH BROTHERS FROM NAZARETH AND WITH SUCH BROOKLYN PRIESTS AS DOUG BROWN AND LARRY HINCH MANY XAVERIAN STUDENTS PARTICPATED IN A BROOKLYN ENCOUNTER WITH Christ. I was never so happy as with this four day in depth seeking a more mature faith with Brooklyn high school boys..
    4409 (’68-’70)—PROVINCE VOCATION DIRECTOR when our juniorate and our novitiate were closed. Most time spent PROMOTING STUDENT RETREATS.
    WHEATON/OLGCHS(’70-’80)— As principal I promoted and encouraged 1) spiritual life with retreats, school wide liturgies, volunteer services; 2) improved academics with more Advanced Placement Courses, added languages German & Latin 3) expanded athletics to include track and soccer allowing more students to participate. Note: I found this ministry very difficult but challenging. I believed we developed a better Catholic school. I came in 1970 and lasted ten years though not intending to stay that long. At one point OLGC was called ‘THE SCHOOL’
    SOUTH BEND/UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME (’85-’99) As rector of Keenan living with three hundred highly motivated and intelligent college students, I promoted both spiritual and social justice practices such as student planned and involved Sunday Liturgies(I really miss these!) cooking dinner on Monday nights at Dismas House, a residence for ex-offenders and college students in South Bend.
    A Franciscan Sister and I organized The Notre Dame Encounter with Christ Retreats for students …We took a group of eight students to Virginia during a fall break to experience one of Cos’ Virginia campus ministry College Encounters. These students formed our first team for NDE #1. This NDE movement has taken hold and expanded into full retreat offerings for both grad and undergrad students and includes faculty. I recently attended the 100th NDE!
    One personal ND spiritually gratifying experience was quasi-community among other rectors. When we gather weekly for a social and once a week for shared prayer.
    OTHER ‘PRIDES’ XAVERIAN BOTHERS VOLUNTEER MINISTRIES, involving lay people to volunteer with us in Haiti, Bolivia, Africa, Orengeburg SC, Baltimore, MD and thus expanding XB ministries and influence. Several volunteers are now XB associates.
    XAVERIAN Brothers Associates now in its third year and with many future possibilities.
    A few further comments:
    1) What would I like to do with the rest of my life? I am 85+ and with only a bit more time and being limited, I am working on a collection of faith journeys including own.
    2) Maybe I would share my disappointments, failures, misunderstandings in a similar revelation ?!
    3) My motivation continues to be a concern for me and my God at times seems even more elusive as I grow older.
    Acting with pure motive is a human challenge and I tried to do so with the above .
    4) Affirmation has come on occasion often from outside my brotherhood I tried to do my thing not seeking affirmation but the good.
    5) My most cherished pursuits were mostly my teaching, my efforts to encourage young people and not so young to deepen their relations with Jesus and their outreach to the less fortunate.
    6) Only my teaching assignments were directed Obediences while the other ministries were partly my own initiative. I do not know what this means for me.

  2. Bonaventure Scully on

    OR 8/1/13 0CCASIONAL REFELECTIONS-bonanventure
    Recommended, selected reads re: religious life now:
    1) THAT WAS THEN…THIS IS NOW BY SANDRA SCHNEIDER IHM, on occasion of the Sisters in America Exhibit visit to South Bend. Here in 50 page monograph Sister Sandra carefully and clearly identity of women religious evolving in time. Very much applicable to us, non-ordained religious Brothers. This brief insight provides an accurate history and hope for today and for our future. ($3 per copy from the Center for Spirituality @ St. Mary’s College @ ND, 574 284 4636 or on loan from b)
    2) CAN RELIGIOUS LIFE BE PROPHETIC? BY MICHAEL CROSBY, Crossroads, NY, 2O005. Our religious life is to be prophetic in itself. Has our religious life hardly been prophetic or Gospel witness? Crosby describes how our current way prevents being prophetic even the very nature of our way is to be prophetic. Alternate communities are encouraged. to move beyond our institutionalization by Rome. The second part Michael uses Old Testament prophets to illustrate how we could become prophetic. I recommend Michael Crosby. He speaks prophetically to us and our response could determine our future!
    3) CHRISTIANITY AFTER RELIGION BY DIANA BUTLER BASS, HarperOne, San Francisco, 20012, $14.99. Spiritual life observers tell us that our faith life and way is evolving from our traditional practice to a more spiritual level; from top down to a more shared circular, collegial, collaborative, model or way. Some faith people tell us that they are spiritual but not regulated church people. A New awakening is taking place and Diana Bass, a prolific writer and keen observer, neatly describes this new awakening. She speaks well for all faith people and she reflects Vatican II’s ‘PEOPLE OF GOD’ This book could help us see our future in light of this new awakening. (Amazon or loan)
    4) COLLABORATIVE MINISTRY BY LOUGHLAN SOFIELD, ST & CARROLL JULIANO, SHCJ, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN 1987. Vatican II strongly encouraged us to be ‘people of God’, a collegial, participating body of believers. It seems very difficult for Leaders to encourage circular, living, participation, to involve all in the community in active participation. Bro Tom More in an Article in the first issue of CFX WORLD talks about future direction coming from the members and not from on high. Loughlan Soffield has been writing and leading gatherings on this very topic on how to be collaborative. This is a manual skills and guidelines. Being collaborative, working together, going from being only individuals to being communal, takes serious practice. Do we not need such a skill? (Amazon or on loan)
    5) HEARTS ON FIRE EDITED BY MICHAEL HARTER,SJ, Jesuit Resources, St. Louis, MO 1993. This is a handy collection of prayers including a do-it-yourself Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. I find it a helpful prayer companion.
    6) FRIENDS COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL LEGISLATION NEWLETTER, 245 Second St, NE, Washington, DC 20002-5761. This periodical comes from the Friends or Quakers and promotes peace, justice, anti-poverty causes particularly in Congress and is an excellent resource for such matters. It could help our call to serve the poor and marginalized. The Current issues deals with immigration.
    7) ENGAGED SPIRITUALITY BY JOSEPH NANGLE, OFM, Faith life in the Heart of the Empire, Orbis, Maryknoll, NY2008. Christians from the very beginning have struggled with living prayerfully and at the same time serving. It is action vs contemplation! Joe Nangle, a Franciscan who knew us in Bolivia, describes Christian life as engaging our spirituality, our prayer life with our service or ministry. He facilitates a mixed community of Christians in DC while at the same time keeping his Franciscan roots. He talks about the essence of a community of believers such as we XBs. (order through me from Orbi, Maryknoll; or amazon; or on loan)


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