FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE VOCATION OF MONTFORT BROTHERS OF ST.GABRIEL

1. What is the meaning of ‘SG’?
2. What is ‘Brotherhood’?
3. What does it mean to be a ‘Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel’?
4. Why is the name ‘Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel’?
5. Where are the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel in the world and how many are they?
6. What is the aim of the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel?
7. In what different ways do the Brothers serve the people?
8. What is the spirituality of Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel?
9. What is ‘Consecrated’ Life?
10. What do the 3 Vows mean?
11. In what way Brotherhood is different from Priesthood?
12. How does one become a Member of Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel?
13. How long does the process of becoming a Brother take?
14. What are the minimum requirements to become a Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel?
15. What about those who are married? Can they too share in the spirit and mission of the Montfortians?
16. If I do not belong to the Catholic Church, can I still share in the mission of Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel?
17. What other groups form part of the worldwide ‘Montfortian Family?

1. What is the meaning of ‘SG’?

The name “Saint-Gabriel” was officially given in 1853 to the Congregation of the Brothers of the Christian Instruction formerly called “of the Holy Spirit” by Montfort. This name recalls the first house called “Supiot’s House” given to the Brothers in 1835 by Father Gabriel Deshayes, to which was given the name “Saint-Gabriel” to recall the name of “Brother Gabriel” who was near Montfort when he died on April 28, 1716.

2. What is ‘Brotherhood’?

Brotherhood is the genuine identity of the Religious who consecrate themselves to the service of God and Humanity “recalling efficiently the fundamental dimension of Brotherhood in Christ, that they have to live between among and with every man and woman and they proclaim to all the Lord’s Word: “You are all brothers” (Mt 23,8).

3. What does it mean to be a ‘Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel’?

It means to be a religious brother called to live the Evangelical Counsels (sharing, celibacy, obedience), in a community and dedicating oneself to the educational mission being inspired by the examples and teachings of Fr. de Montfort and Fr. Deshayes.

4. Why is the name ‘Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel’?

The name of “Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel” recalls our identity of religious brothers born in the Church of the will of Fr. de Montfort, and after him, of Fr. Deshayes, for human and Christian education of children and youth, and especially the poor and sensory disabled.

5. Where are the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel in the world and how many are they?

The Brothers of St. Gabriel are present on the five continents, in 31 countries. On January 1, 2011, they were 1201 that is 1149 professed Brothers: 936 finally professed, 213 with temporary vows, and 52 novices.

6. What is the aim of the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel?

The aim of the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel is to consecrate themselves totally to God and the Church, to live in community, to dedicate themselves to the education of youth in all its forms, especially of the poor and the sensory disabled.

7. In what different ways do the Brothers serve the people?

  1. By their daily prayer life: corporate and personal prayer on behalf of the Church (Eucharist, Marian prayer…)
  2. By their lives dedicated to the education of children and youth: in primary, secondary, vocational schools and colleges; support to the illiterate and dropouts; welcoming and entertainment of street children; education of the deaf and blind, catechesis, liturgical animation in parishes, etc.

8. What is the spirituality of Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel?

The spirituality of the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel is based on the Word of God, transmitted by the Church and lived by our founders St. Louis Marie de Montfort and Gabriel Deshayes who shared with us:

  1. their way of considering God: “God Alone”;… Providence… a Father who will never fail… Incarnate and crucified Wisdom, a friend of men and a way of salvation… based on the example and the help of Mary, his Mother and ours…
  2. their way of respecting the little and poor ones, beloved of God too, and their way to help them;
  3. their way of being missionaries: through catechesis, singing, the use of audio-visual means (pictures, sculptures, planting of Crosses and construction of chapels, processions…), the spiritual writings …

9. What is ‘Consecrated’ Life?

In the Catholic Church, one may decide to dedicate one’s life to God out of one’s own free will. This dedication is for the whole of one’s life through the public profession of the three vows: Obedience, Poverty and Chastity. Pope John Paul II made this prayer to Mary: “… You who did the will of the Father, ever ready in obedience, courageous in poverty and receptive in fruitful virginity, obtain from your divine Son that all who have received the gift of following him in the consecrated life may be enabled to bear witness to that gift by their transfigured lives, as they joyfully make their way with all their brothers and sisters towards our heavenly homeland and the light which will never grow dim. (Vita Consecrata No. 112)

10. What do the 3 Vows mean?

The three Vows are a sign that one wishes to place oneself totally at God’s disposal and at the service of His mission to make peace, truth, justice and love a reality in this world.

Our way of living poverty, chastity and obedience is a call to transform into actions the radical newness of Brotherhood, image of the Trinitarian communion, already realized in Christ, but still to become. It is a challenge to live out these three vows, in today’s changing world and in the cultural context we live in. It is our duty to identify those challenges and to search together for credible answers, for ourselves and for the world.

  • Chastity, in consecrated celibacy, invites us to enter into healthy and responsible relationship between us, and to love everyone passionately with Christ’s own love.
  • Poverty challenges us to share material and spiritual goods with a trustful spirit that impels us for greater solidarity with the poor and the marginalized.
  • bedience calls for a prophetic exercise of authority that makes our community life a discipleship rooted in mature responsibility, common discernment and creative fidelity (Vita Consecrata 37). (Message of the 30th General Chapter No 21)

11. In what way Brotherhood is different from Priesthood?

The life of the religious brother is not opposed to the priesthood. It is not a lesser way. It serves God and the Church in another way recognized by the Church.

12. How does one become a Member of Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel?

After seeking the help of the Holy Spirit and having consulted his spiritual director, the person concerned gets into contact with a Brother who will help him to discern the strength of the call that he hears.

13. How long does the process of becoming a Brother take?

The formation of a Montfort Brother of St. Gabriel is done in three stages:

  1. a period of probation (or Postulancy) that lasts one year or two and helps to learn about the life of the Institute, to assess one’s motivations and abilities. After the time of probation, the candidate makes his application to enter the novitiate or withdraws freely.
  2. the period of the novitiate, which lasts for at least one year but not beyond two. The novice makes a profound experience of God, discovers the values and the demands of religious life, and gradually gets imbued by the spirituality and mission of the Institute.
  3. the period of temporary profession, which normally extends over six years. The Brother takes his final vows at the end of this period of probation.

14. What are the minimum requirements to become a Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel?

“The following qualities are essential for the admission of a candidate to the Institute: good health, a well-balanced mind, required maturity, the aptitude to acquire the needed intellectual, professional and spiritual formation, suitability for life in community and for the mission.” (Constitutions No 24)

15. What about those who are married? Can they too share in the spirit and mission of the Montfortians?

Married Christians can share the mission and spirituality of the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel, as ” Montfortian Gabrielite Associates”. A document that the congregation has issued on March 25, 2009, gives full information about this movement. (See on this Web Site, the section on “Partnership”).

16. If I do not belong to the Catholic Church, can I still share in the mission of Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel?

A person who does not belong to the Catholic Church or the Christian religion can share the mission of the Brothers and their educational values as a collaborator.

17. What other groups form part of the worldwide ‘Montfortian Family’?

    1. The Fathers and the Brothers of the Company of Mary (also called Montfortians)
    2. The Daughters of Wisdom
    3. The Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel
    4. The lay Associates of the three Congregations