August 1 – RECRUITERS
The word “recruiter” has disappeared today in many parts of the Institute, at least in its traditional sense, for in those days it meant someone going to parishes, families and schools to “sell” the product called “Brother” or, in the more biblical use, “to cast the net”.
In France, the first Brother to receive this title was Br. Aventin. Br. Hubert chose him for the Province of the Centre in 1889, only giving the official stamp to the function he accomplished, like many other Brothers, in the schools where he taught and in its surroundings. Before and after 1889, more than one hundred Brothers owed to him, after God, their vocation. He met with all the parish priests of Lot, Aveyron, Puy de-Dome and through them the families. He even went up to Corsica in 1901 and brought 14 youths in one “catch” on 1st February and as many on Jst March. He wrote down these numbers in a notebook: between the end of 1889 and beginning of 1902, 470 including 236 from Lot, the most prolific department. One other famous recruiter was Mr Jacquet. To fill in the gap left behind by the 1914-1918 war, he travelled throughout the length and breadth of the west, on bicycle, then on motorcycle, finally in car, with a driver towards the end for prudence sake. He was enthusiastic, colourful and so convincing that the juniors of Saint-Laurent crossed the lOOth mark in 1921, reaching 125 in 1933 and 152 in 1939. Opposite the names he also noted down his heartbreaks and joys: “a small insignificant thing hunted out just after his arrival” or “died a holy death on 9 January 1897”. While in France, Br. Anaclet, in the 1960s, was of the same calibre, others like Br. Andre Corsini, the successor to Br. Constantin for nearly twenty years, or Br. Joseph Morteau, realised their goals with more discretion. Jn Belgium, it was especially after the First World War that the recruiters were appointed during the summer holidays to scan Limbourg. One of the best known was Br. Gervais. Among his successors we have Br. Prosper-Marie after the Second World War and Br. Eligius from 1949 to 1968, burning with zeal for his·Institute.
In Spain, the name that dominates all others is that of Br. Leonardo (Vicente Ibeas). For fourteen years (1953-1967), he covered the villages of the centre and north of the country, on foot, on horseback, on bicycle, on motorcycle and finally by car, showing slides and giving eloquent commentaries on them.
In Canada, rarely has a recruiter been better welcomed and esteemed than Br. Paul of the Cross (Fran9ois Tessier), between 1938 and 1945. He received so many letters that he had to respond through common circulars. He started a bulletin for teachers and pupils. It became La vocation which reached 20,000 copies.
In India, the first recruiter for Kerala was Br. John of God (See 27 July).