Bro. Jean-Paul Mbengue
“For formation to be complete, it must include every aspect of Christian life. It must therefore provide a human, cultural, spiritual and pastoral preparation which pays special attention to the harmonious integration of all its various aspects. Sufficient time should be reserved for initial formation, understood as a process of development which passes through every stage of personal maturity — from the psychological and spiritual to the theological and pastoral. In the case of those studying for the priesthood, this initial formation coincides with and fits well into a specific course of studies, as part of a broader formation programme.” (Vita Consecrata No 65)
“Led by the Spirit young men come to your community to find therein light and help, and to discern whether God calls them to your Institute. They become yours in a very special way. With your Brothers you bear the responsibility of their growth in Christ. You help them to live ever ready to do God’s will, to develop the talents He has given them, to perceive His call in the words of Scripture, in the men around them, and the daily happenings of their lives.” (R.L. 19).
The purpose of the consecrated life is conformity to the Lord Jesus. It should include and express the character of wholeness. Therefore, it involves the whole person in every aspect of his personality, in behavior and intentions. Precisely because it aims at the transformation of the whole person it is evident that the commitment to formation never ends. Indeed, at every stage of life, consecrated persons are offered opportunities to grow in their commitments to the charism and mission of their Institute.
Formation is a dynamic process by which the individuals are led to accept the Word of God in the depths of their being whilst, at the same time, they learn how to discover the signs of God in the midst of earthly realities.
A Vocation to Love
Together with all baptized men and women, Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel’s primary vocation is to yearn for sanctity. As religious, we are “called to live in God with our brothers.” We heard that call one day in the depth of our hearts.
Recognized within our personal history, that call makes us love Christ first of all and leave everything behind to follow Him. Jesus Christ is our life; he draws us to the Father, teaches us how to love with the strength of his Holy Spirit and sends us towards our human brothers, particularly towards those neglected by the world.
A Response of Love
Our response consists in welcoming God’s love with the mindset of the poor, indulging in love and reconciliation, loving like Jesus Christ, offering our life to God for his glory, so that his Kingdom of love, justice and peace be revealed to the poor. Our response consists in following Christ along with the Brothers and living like him in chastity, poverty and obedience in Montfort’s way.
Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel’s Formation:
1. Vocation to Brotherhood
Religious life in the Church is indeed a gift from God to the Church. It is a sign and symbol of the Kingdom. The Religious life of the Brothers is first and foremost a call to live radically the Gospel in the community, in practicing the evangelical counsels. It is the life based on the words and examples of Jesus Christ.
2. A prophetic witness
The call to Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel is a call to prophetic witness, bearing the Spirit who is attentive to the signs of the times and sensitive to the task of human liberation.
3. Educational Mission
Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel are endowed with a special Charism inherited from its founder St. Montfort. Through its specific Charism the institute shares the mission of the Church. The Society exercises primarily in the education of the young particularly of the poor.
The key elements of Brotherhood of Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel is:
With Mary, a disciple of Jesus Christ Incarnate Wisdom: To belong to Christ, to acquire and possess him, Brothers use the four means recommended by Montfort: desire, prayer, mortification and devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
Consecrated by profession to live with Brothers.
Following Jesus chaste, poor, and obedient.
At the service of communion in the Church.
Members of the Religious Institute of Brothers.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel
Our identity of Montfortian Brothers of St. Gabriel is rooted in the spiritual and apostolic experience of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, of Gabriel Deshayes and of the generations of Brothers who lived before us. Our Rule of Life, our Constitutions and our Capitular Documents express our specific way of living the Montfortian spirituality and charism following Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, with Mary.
Brothers in Christ
Founded on the true relationship, brotherhood is created through a deep bond. Brotherhood becomes a reality and a model of social life in the world which is divided by individualism and discrimination, hatred and violence.
As a universal value, brotherhood is lived at different levels:
All human beings were created free and equal. This fundamental principle of human rights transcends all differences. Faith in God the Creator who made man “in His own image and likeness” implies the equality among all human beings. This is a strong invitation that calls us to live this brotherhood.
By his teaching and deeds, Jesus promoted a model of brotherhood, a new way of social relationship among his disciples. He called them to live as children of the same Father and as brothers and sisters towards one another. From the beginning, the Christian community had a great desire to live in brotherhood and communion assembled around Mary.
By vocation, we are committed to live this spirit of brotherhood in a religious community. Concrete commitment with and for those less privileged ones in society manifests that Brotherhood is lived out not only in words but in actions. It is proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom.
In the Church and in the Congregation
Our specific vocation is acknowledged by the Church as a way to sanctity for those who have been called by God.
As Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel, we belong to the Montfortian Family. With all the men and women who consider themselves as members of that spiritual family, mainly the Daughters of Wisdom, the Brothers and the Fathers of Company of Mary and the lay associates, we have the responsibility of bearing fruit through the Montfortian spirituality and charism. As our founders did, we have to interpret the signs of the times and strive to incarnate the Gospel in our lives by imitating Jesus Christ through our words and actions.
Brothers for the Mission
To make Christ present to the world
The apostolate of the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel consists first and foremost in witnessing to the consecrated life.
In Communion with our Brothers
In order to make quite clear their determination to work in the service of God and of men, the Brothers commit themselves to live in a community dedicated to witnessing the presence of the kingdom, to proclaim, welcome and spread its coming in the world.
Committed to human and Christian education
Through the educational activity, principally amidst the young school-goers and the neglected, the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel take part in the ecclesial mission of evangelization entrusted to the Institute.
Concern for the poorest
The educational and missionary Charism of the Institute ceaselessly invites the Brothers to be conscious of their responsibility towards the poor.
For the world
The Brothers are attentive to the voice of Christ, who sends them out. They seek to understand the realities in the world around him. They are sensitive to every human need. As educators, the Brothers try to understand the aspirations and concerns of young people.
Spirit of availability
The Spirit of availability is fostered among the Brothers for the universal mission of the Church.
To Be Authentic Leaders
Leadership is a process of influence. Anytime one seeks to influence the thinking, behavior, or development of people towards accomplishing a goal in their personal or professional lives, you are taking on the role of a leader. Effective leadership starts on the inside. Before you can hope to lead anyone else, you have to know yourself. We call this personal leadership because it involves choice.
AUTHENTIC LEADERS LIKE JESUS
Jesus’ style of leadership is primarily based on authenticity and service. For the followers of Jesus, servant leadership isn’t an option; it’s a mandate.
· Being authentic like Jesus is an alignment of heart, head, hands and habits;
· Jesus prepared not a crown prince but a generation of successors
· Value Statement of a Montfortian Gabrielite
· Honour God in everything you do. (God Alone)
· Build relationships based on trust and respect.
· Maintain integrity and excellence in all your ministries and services
· Practice responsible stewardship.
· The Resurrection-Inspired authentic Leadership
AUTHENTICITY LEADERS FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST. MONTFORT
“By clearly depicting both sides of the coins, Montfort led people almost imperceptibly to a clear discernment of the choices to make as Disciples of Christ, and how to grow from imperfection to sanctity”.
· Devotion to Mary as the best alternative to bring in authenticity
· Mary is an echo of God
Montfort states in the Secret of Mary that “Mary is the wonderful echo of God” (SM 21). “The basis of Mary’s faithfulness is her sharing in the life of God. Authentic leaders are called to become an echo of God.
BECOMING AUTHENTIC MONTFORTIAN BROTHERS OF ST.GABRIEL
We, the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel, had our origins nearly 300 years ago, when Louis Marie de Montfort gathered disciples around him and formed them into the “Community of the Holy Spirit” in 1715 A.D. Our way of consecrated life has become the object of special attention now as we have taken upon ourselves the responsibility of being authentic leaders for greater brotherhood. This shows that not only the Church is fond of this form of consecrated life but the world itself is aspiring to achieve greater brother/sisterhood. Becoming an authentic Montfortian Brother of St. Gabriel places lots of responsibility and tasks on us and invites us to realize and imbibe the necessary qualities.
1. The word « brother » contains a rich Spirituality: God the Father has called us to follow Jesus, His Son, on the path of Consecrated Brotherhood – to live as brothers of Christ, deeply united with him, ‘the firstborn among many brothers’ (Rom. 8:29; VC. 60). It is in a way a call to authentic Leaders.
2. We are a community among other ‘brother-communities’: As “Religious Brothers” we are first and foremost Christians, living within the Church, people who are brothers. Like all the baptized, we are called to holiness according to the vocation proper to us.
3. We are a community which reminds all of the urgent need for fraternity
4. Brothers among ourselves, we are brothers to all: We are called to live this in our communities.
5. We move from a Fraternity at a human level to an Evangelical fraternity
6. Our way of life is a way to humanization
‘As Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel, and heeding the Lord’s call, each of us has freely accepted to live and work with the other Brothers. This has certain anthropological consequences which find a strong expression, especially in our manner of making one body, of living in community with other Brothers whom we have not chosen, of living the vows …’
7. Authentic Brotherhood is a Call to Foot-washing:
“You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (Jn.13: 13-14, 17).
8. Brotherhood is the heart of humanity
9. Brothers following Montfort their elder Brother: Like St. Louis Marie de Montfort we, Brothers, are shaped by the Word of God
Authentic leadership does not develop in a day. It takes a lifetime.