A religious brother is one who takes upon himself the evangelical counsels, that is, who vows himself to poverty, chastity, and obedience. That is what a brother is – but what does he do?
The apostolate of the SSPX brothers is inseparable from that of the priests. While it is possible to have a priory of priests without brothers, a community of brothers without priests is impossible. In a few words, the essential apostolate of a SSPX brother is to be an indispensable aid and companion to his fellow priests.
After completing the designated three years of formation at the Brothers Novitiate, the brother begins his apostolate. He may stay at the Novitiate to help with the formation of the new brothers, or, more commonly, he may be sent out to a priory. Of course, this opens many possibilities for his apostolate because our priories are often connected with any combination of churches, missions, schools, and retreat centers. Thus, the daily tasks of the brother vary widely. He will find himself using already acquired skills, or perhaps learning new ones.
Every day a brother may fulfill such major functions as Mass server, sacristan, cook, organist, or choir master in the church; teacher, housefather, or secretary at the school; or woodworker, maintenance man, artist, or gardener at the priory. The minor tasks as well, of cleaning, laundering, preparing guest rooms, and driving priests to sick calls are often done by a brother and must not be underestimated. With all these active tasks, the brothers inevitably comes into contact with the faithful and, whether he realizes it or not, is engaged in an indirect apostolate of edification to those around him.
The biggest contribution that the brother has to offer, however, is not his skill set, but the hidden love and generosity shown by his contributions to the community, material and spiritual. The more the brother accomplishes this, the more he fulfills the role given to the brothers by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: to be the guardian angels of the Society.