We are a consecrated lay Catholic order of Brothers, with Associates and Collaborators, who strive to fulfill the spiritual aspirations that our founder, Theodore James Ryken, had for his Congregation.
Following the path of our Founder, we see ourselves as called to live ordinary lives that give witness to God’s unconditional love. As Ryken’s spiritual conversion was the sense of his being “put in his place” by God, we too believe that the Xaverian calling is a way of being put in our place in the world, a place of humility and simplicity, from which we receive the grace to turn toward God, fall in love with God, and put ourselves in God’s service as followers of Jesus Christ. Within each distinctive life choice, we are further invited to attentiveness, simplicity, flexibility and openness to the common, unspectacular flow of everyday life. We unite ourselves to God through an integrated life of both contemplation and service. Through the Xaverian Way we are awakened by the Spirit of God to our own graced potential and freely offer that giftedness in service to the gospel. Through our ministry, in particular among the poor and the marginalized, we work to help others discover their own uniqueness so they, too, may, as it is written in our own Fundamental Principles, “share the love of God with the world through their own giftedness.” In a spirit of hospitality, we try our utmost to be approachable and available, as true brothers and sisters who welcome others and accompany them in the joys and sorrows of their lives.
-Adapted from "The Preamble of A Description of the Xaverian Charism."
A Description of the Xaverian Charism as Lived by the Brothers
As laymen called to live for God and God alone through a life of consecrated celibacy, we Xaverian Brothers freely choose to live without privilege or entitlement and allow ourselves “to be formed by God through the common, ordinary, unspectacular flow of everyday life.” Motivated by the lofty purpose proposed for the Congregation by our Founder, we set as our life direction the integrated life of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Like Mary in the presence of Jesus, we choose the “better part” by turning toward and falling in love with God. Like Martha, we are transformed by that love and impelled to place ourselves in humble service to Jesus through our service to others.
We aspire to realize our Founder’s vision of “a band of Brothers who mutually help, encourage, and edify one another, and who work together.” We endeavor to integrate prayer and contemplation with growth in friendship within the community by means of honest and fraternal dialogue. We understand that the “way of perfection” our Founder envisioned for us is a way of continual formation. This takes place for us in our community life as well as through our individual practices of prayer and contemplation. In community we are encouraged to discover our gifts and talents and to affirm the giftedness of our brothers, calling each other to greater service of the Lord. Here we find the encouragement and support to live a life of asceticism, consecrated celibacy, and contemplation that, by the grace of God, strengthens our public commitment to vow for Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. As a community nourished by the memory of Brothers who have followed this way before us and enriched by a growing intercultural presence, we, together, search out “the needs of the times and the desires of the Lord in (our) regard.” We appreciate and embrace the lay character of our Congregation rooted in the Roman Catholic Church. From our place within the Church, we live in solidarity and availability among the people, freely renouncing any sense of power or prestige, and striving to witness to the ideals of the first gospel community. We are sent as missionaries to the world to participate in the church’s mission of evangelization. Like Theodore Ryken, we believe that the best way to bring out the giftedness in an individual is through education, but we realize that education takes many forms. We see our way of life as being intimately connected with our mission. We believe that it is through our life of Gospel witness lived in community that we respond to the Spirit’s summons “to manifest God’s care and compassionate love to the people of the world in these times.” We are called to live our mission, whether on the outskirts of society among the poor and marginalized, or at the center among those who are separated and estranged from their own uniqueness. Impassioned with Spirit-driven apostolic zeal, following the example of our patron Francis Xavier, we stand ready to leave the familiar and the comfortable “to go throughout the world to teach all peoples.”