Co-operator Brothers’ Commission
The Commission for the Vocation of the Co-operator Brother met at Santa Sabina from 18 February to 20 February 2019. This was the commission’s final meeting before the general chapter. Most of the time was given to finalising the projects on which the commission has been working. These include a text to be inserted into LCO defining the identity and mission of the Dominican religious brother, some petitions to the general chapter about how the work of the commission could be developed in the future, and a directory of all the brothers in the Order.
The directory shows that there are 292 brothers at present, just 5% of the total number of friars. Most interesting though is the range of activities in which the brothers are engaged. These include many internal ministries in the convents and churches of the Order where brothers work as sacristans, cooks, gardeners, tailors and syndics, and many serve on the conventual council or the formation councils of the convent or of the province. Many brothers are engaged also in external ministries of teaching and healthcare, pastoral work and catechetics, administration and project management, icon-writing, architecture and other artistic apostolates.
The commission met with brother Pablo Sicouly, socius for the intellectual life, to consider how the Ratio Studiorum Generalis considers the brother’s intellectual and professional formation. It met also with brother William Short OFM who spoke about the identity and mission of the religious brother in the Franciscan order.
The commission has worked to establish good contact with the regional socii and with the provincials in each region. It has also sought to be in contact with all the brothers of the Order and it reviewed how the brother’s vocation is presented on the websites of the provinces.
Priorities for the coming years are to assist the promoters of vocations in speaking about this vocation and to continue to work with the provinces to encourage a renewed understanding of the brother’s vocation, of his essential contribution to the fraternal character of our form of life and of his specific contribution to the evangelizing mission of the Order.