relate to people in a fraternal rather
than a paternal way. We meet them
eye to eye, at their level. It is how
we are with the people with whom
we live, our friends outside the
community, our lay colleagues, and
those to whom we minister. In my
experience, even when brothers hold
positions of authority, they lead with
a sense of collaboration, equality, and
mutuality. Let me illustrate this at-
priesthood, or the single life—it’s
just another way of living out our
Although the face of brotherhood, like that of the world and thechurch, has changed, the heart of ourvocation still remains the same. Weyearn to deepen our relationship withGod, to serve those in need by givingof ourselves freely and totally as Jesusdid, and to share our lives and faithwith each other in community.
To better understand the brother’s vocation, look at the word itself.Brother, by virtue of its definition,connotes relationship. Within thefamily unit, one cannot be both anonly child and a biological brotherto someone. Likewise, in religiouslife, we brothers do not stand alone.
We stand with others who shareequally in our membership by virtueof our vows of poverty, celibacy, andobedience.
As brothers within a family, we
Although the faceof brotherhood, likethat of the worldand the church, haschanged, the heartof our vocation stillremains the same.
BEDNARCZYK wasinvited to have teawith this familynear Mariamnagar,Bangladesh whilehe was visiting thearea in his role asHoly Cross vicar.
Because many dedicated laypersons also perform these same goodworks, it is not possible to defineourselves solely by our ministries.
I prefer to look at the unique life ofthe religious brother in its completeness and the gift it is to the churchand the People of God.
Simply put, what gives our vocation both meaning and identity isour life as consecrated religious. Weare laymen who publicly consecrateourselves to God and ministry withinthe church through our vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. We livein community for mutual supportand companionship, to live out ourshared Catholic faith and the sharedheritage of our religious congregations, and to further our mission inthe church. Our vocation is neithersuperior nor inferior to marriage,
COUR TES Y OF ALEXIAN BROTHERSCOURTESY OF BROTHER PAUL BEDNARCZYK, C.S.C.