What is the vocation of a brother?

Every religious vocation consists of following the three religious vows of poverty chastity, and obedience.  (Much information on these three vows can be found in our article on Religious Vows and Profession.)  But each religious order or congregation follow these vows with their own special emphasis – the Franciscans are notable for their poverty, the Dominicans for their preaching; Benedictines take a special vow of stability, the Jesuits of obedience to the pope.  What of the Society Brothers?  What is their particular characteristic?

First and foremost, the brothers of the Society are marked by their devotion to the Catholic priesthood.  Their life at a priory is directed in every manner at aiding the priests in their sacred apostolate.  Whether it be sweeping the floors or teaching catechism, praying the Office or serving Mass, the brothers’ every action is dedicated towards those who share in the priesthood of Christ.

But the brothers of the Society may be said to have another special characteristic – their hiddenness.  A brother cannot expect his work to be glamorous in an earthly sense.  He works from the sidelines.  As the priests’ back-stage assistant and support, his work in the apostolate is often not seen, appreciated, or understood by those around him.  And yet, the brother, through his vows, can truly work marvels in the spiritual realm, even if his physical labors are routine and mundane.  In fact, the very hiddenness of his work can make it even more meritorious.  Only on the Last Day will it be fully realized how much the brothers’ hidden apostolate has accomplished, how many souls they have saved.