January 27 – MOBILITY
All scenarios are possible in the Institute when it comes to the posts filled by the Brothers – what used to be called ‘obediences’ – from extreme stability (staying in one place all one’s life) to the opposite (moving to 30 or 40 places). The reasons for the great mobility of some Brothers are various and sometimes cumulative: their instability and desire to move, historical or personal circumstances beyond their control, their availability to meet the Superiors’ requests, their successive failures because they were overqualified or underqualified. We will illustrate this with only two examples among others. Although they were provided by the West (France and Canada) it does not mean that no other could be found elsewhere – quite the contrary.
Br. Isidore d ‘Alexandrie is the first example. He was very intelligent and was highly qualified before starting to teach at the novitiate in Clermont-Ferrand in 1895 at the age of 18. He stayed three years there, then was appointed to the juniorate (eight months), returned to the novitiate (one year), was appointed to the primary school at Saint-Eloy-les-Mines (15 months), taught at the novitiate for the third time (three months) and returned to Saint-Eloy (two months). He was there when secularisation occurred in 1903. Brothers were needed in Canada.· As a preparation to go there he spent a year in Plymouth where he easily obtained qualifications in Engli$h and electricity. In America he taught first at St Johnsbury (U.S.A.) but only for a year. After teaching at Sault-au-Recollet Novitiate for three years he became Director of Saint Martin-Laval for two years and of L’Assomption for the same length of time. He then fell ill and took a rest at the Provincial House before being appointed to Saint-Arsene Orphanage. He stayed there less than a year. He fell ill again and returned to France. He went to Mont-Dore for a course oLtreatment, then taught aLTauves during the school year 1914-1915. As there was a war on, those who had been judged unfit to serve had to be examined again. Demobbed in February 1919 he helped his mother for eight months. Then, as if by miracle, he taught at Ussel for 13 years, then at Bagnols for six, acting as Director for five years. He started again to move around, to Entraygues, Clermont, Tauves, and eventually settled at Boulieu-les-Annonay for the last six years of his teaching career. He did not retire to LaPeyrouse until he was 77. As he was highly gifted he thought his pupils were like him and was not a good teacher. Besides, his frail health did not help. Hence his many appointments, which he accepted with good humour and in a real religious spirit. And, surprisingly, his state of health did not hamper his educational work too much.
Br. Melchior (Enrique Tey y Mas de Torrents), worked in a record number of houses – 40. He was covered in diplomas, was a polyglot and highly cultured, but, despite his great religious spirit, found it difficult to fit into a community. Between 1921 and 1939 he taught in 14 different schools in Canada, then in four in Spain from 1939 to 1941, and in six more in Canada between 1949 and 1956. Br. Gabriel-Marie, Superior General, took him as his private secretary and he filled the post at Saint Laurent-sur-Sevre for two years before returning to Canada and in six years filled four more posts there; he then moved to Peru and taught in two schools there in two years; in 1966 he returned to Canada again and was appointed to seven places; he died in 1971.