“’Go then, to all people everywhere, and make them my disciples’…. It is through your life of gospel witness that God desires to manifest His care and compassionate love to those who are separated and estranged, not only from their neighbors, but from their own uniqueness; to those who suffer from want, neglect, and injustice: the poor, the weak, and the oppressed of this world”
– Fundamental Principles of the Xaverian Brothers
More than 180 years ago, Theodore James Ryken was inspired by God to form The Brothers of Saint Francis Xavier, known as the Xaverian Brothers, in Bruges, Belgium. On this feast day of St. Francis Xavier, we honor our spiritual patrimony, the gifts of Francis Xavier’s missionary zeal and Ryken’s complete trust in God’s Providence. We also remember all who have embraced Ryken’s vision and upon whose shoulders we stand. Moreover, we celebrate the lives of all who are part of the Xaverian Brothers’ mission today. The Xaverian unique missionary expression of service is manifested in the international character of the congregation and its ministries throughout Europe, Kenya, Haiti, Congo, and the U.S. Though we honor our history, we draw inspiration from St. Francis Xavier and Brother Theodore Ryken for today’s mission. Both Xavier and Ryken placed their trust in God throughout their lives, even in dark and difficult times. They were drawn by God’s grace into a journey which broke down barriers. In their lives, we are reminded that God calls each one of us to embrace service in its many dimensions. On this day, we remember that our mission, “to go and make disciples” is a work we all share.
During this time of COVID-19 and the struggle for economic and racial justice, may we “let the developments and changes of our times be a source of both confidence and challenge.” When we are led to see the face of God in all, and when we extend the boundaries of ourselves, we find that God will sustain us.
Father, as St. Augustine wrote, you are closer to us than we are to ourselves. Help us experience your presence during these challenging times and may we embody the mission of the Xaverian Brothers.
Brother Daniel Skala, C.F.X, General Superior
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