Everyone has a vocation.
A vocation is an invitation from God to live one’s life in a certain manner. Through the sacrament of Confirmation, we receive Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, including the gift of Counsel. This gift helps you find the best way you can serve God, given your particular gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses.
The vocation of Marist Brotherhood is to “Make Jesus known and loved.” It involves adopting a practical community lifestyle that that looks to Mary as a model. The Marist mission centers around the Christian education of youth with a particular emphasis on meeting the needs of those that are least favored.
There are a variety of ways to discover your vocation. In general, discerning a vocation involves prayer and reflection on how God has spoken to you through your experiences and the people in your life. If you are interested in exploring whether you might have the vocation to be a Marist Brother, we encourage you to take the time to get to know us and consider what God is asking of you.
“The Marist movement has transformed many into more loving, caring, service-oriented people.”
Do you feel drawn to deepen your relationship with God through community? Do you want to make a difference in the lives of young people?
While you might feel some attraction to life as a Marist Brother, it is very natural to have questions and doubts as you ponder a lifestyle that is so different from what most people choose. The responsibility of our vocation directors is to help you better understand how God is calling you to share your gifts and talents. As long as life as a Marist Brother is still a possibility for you and you would like to learn more about our life, you are strongly encouraged to begin a process of inquiry with us. As an inquirer, you will be invited into a process of accompaniment according to your needs and the context of your life.
To join the Marist Brothers, you must:
- Be between the ages of 18 and 45
- Desire to know and serve God
- Possess the ability to get along with others and to live with others
- Possess the willingness to develop your prayer life
- Possess enthusiasm to serve others, especially young people
- Be (or become) a practicing, baptized, and confirmed Catholic
- Possess or be in the process of earning an undergraduate degree
Whether in the initial stages of inquiry or in a more serious process of discernment, those in accompaniment are expected to take opportunities to develop their relationship with God and come to better know the Marist community.
Depending on your individual circumstances, throughout inquiry and discernment you may be invited and encouraged to:
- Be an active member of the Marist Young Adult Program.
- Participate in service projects with other Marists.
- Attend discernment experiences or retreats along with other young men.
- Reflect prayerfully on written materials meant to help you better understand our life.
- Visit Marist Brothers’ communities and ministries for “come & see” experiences.
Regardless, personal contact with a vocation director or designated accompanying brother is important in order help us get to know you. If you move beyond inquiry into more formal discernment, you will also need to find a spiritual director outside of the Marist community if you do not already have one. Discerners to the Marist Brothers are invited to apply for admission based on the discretion of the vocation director or designated accompanying brother, and only once they are deemed ready.
Applying for admission into the Marist Brothers does not mean that you are making a lifelong commitment. Three stages of initial formation help young men in formation more fully discern whether they are in fact called to this life.
Stage 1: Postulancy
For most young men in formation, postulancy is the first opportunity to fully live Marist community. Postulants deepen their prayer life and their community living skills, while also engaging in part-time ministry. If a postulant discerns he is not called to this life, he is free to leave after discussion with the postulant director who has been assigned to accompany him. This stage of formation lasts one year.
Stage 2: The Novitiate
The novitiate is the second stage of the initial formation rogram. The novice continues to discern his vocation to the Marist Brothers through studying the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, as well as the life of our founder, St. Marcellin Champagnat. The novitiate also includes programs with novices from other local religious orders, as well as at least one international experience with Marist novices from other parts of the world. At the end of the two-year novitiate, the novice may apply to take temporary vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for a period of one year. Marist novices are presently receiving formation in 16 different Marist novitiates around the world.
Stage 3: Temporary Profession
The time of temporary profession is 4-6 years. Temporarily professed Brothers live in a Marist Brothers’ community while serving in full-time ministry. As they only commit to one year at a time, they take advantage of this opportunity to determine — along with the other brothers — whether or not they are called to make a lifelong commitment to life as a Marist Brother.While you might feel some attraction to life as a Marist Brother, it is very natural to have questions and doubts as you ponder a lifestyle that is so different from what most people choose. The responsibility of our vocation directors is to help you better understand how God is calling you to share your gifts and talents. As long as life as a Marist Brother is still a possibility for you and you would like to learn more about our life, you are strongly encouraged to begin a process of inquiry with us. As an inquirer, you will be invited into a process of accompaniment according to your needs and the context of your life.
General Questions About Religious Brothers:
What exactly is a Brother?
A Brother is a man who consecrates himself to God and performs some service to God’s people. His call is to relate to others as Jesus did, as a brother.
Do Brothers take vows?
Brothers do take vows. The common vows for Brothers are the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. This basically means that instead of having their own wealth, Brothers share their resources with one another; Brothers do not marry or pursue romantic relationships; when making decisions, Brothers try to listen to and follow God’s will for their life, rather than their own preferences. These vows can present challenges at times, but when lived well they can also contribute to a joy-filled life.
How is a Brother different from a priest?
The call of a Brother is to live the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience while offering non-sacramental service to God’s people through such works as education, health care, social work, spiritual accompaniment and prayer, whereas typical priestly ministry focuses on the celebration of the sacraments.
Do Brothers pray all day?
While prayer is an essential component of a Brother’s life, so is community and ministry. While we take time for both private and communal prayer and try to remember God’s presence throughout the day, we also work, socialize, and take time for ourselves in much the same way that other people do.
Are Brothers monks?
While some Brothers are monks who dedicate themselves to contemplative lifestyle in a monastery, other communities of Brothers focus more on providing direct service to others.
Questions About the Marist Brothers in Particular:
Do the Marist Brothers wear a habit?
Some Marist Brothers wear a traditional habit as seen in various places on this website. Others wear some distinguishable black garment. Marist Brothers who do not wear a habit wear a congregational cross when doing ministry.
How do the Marist Brothers pray?
Marist Brothers are called to pray communally and individually. The style of community prayer varies but it often involves the Liturgy of the Hours. Personal prayer varies, but includes forms of meditation and contemplation. Brothers also make an annual retreat of about a week’s time. Marist Brothers attend Mass regularly and are encouraged to engage in spiritual reading.
What is community life like?
Marist Brothers’ religious communities vary in size from two to 20. Regardless of a community’s size, Brothers live communally, sharing prayer and meals together and spending quality time with each other. The hallmark of a Marist Brothers’ community is family spirit. Each community is a welcoming place for co-workers, family members, friends, young people, and others.
What is your connection to the official Church?
The Marist Brothers is an official congregation of pontifical right within the Roman Catholic Church. Our specific role within the Church is to make Jesus Christ known and loved through the Christian education of youth, especially the most neglected. We collaborate with the local Church in helping young people know Jesus.
What do the Marist Brothers do?
The Marist Brothers frequently serve as counselors, teachers, youth ministers, spiritual directors, and mentors, while others work to strengthen and promote the rights of children and youth.