January 28 – SCHOLASTICATES
St Thomas Aquinas, whose liturgical feast used to be celebrated on 7 March, was and still is the patron saint of the Institute’s scholasticates. The following is ·an outline of their history.
The first scholasticate goes back to Br. Eugene-Marie who had had the idea very early and was able to carry it out only in 1881 and on an ambitious scale: a scholasticate for Brothers with their teaching certificate and studying for a higher qualification by taking courses given by the Jesuits in Lille. This first attempt did not survive its initiator and was replaced in 1896 by the scholasticate at Clavieres (Mayenne), which was attended by junior Brothers from all over France after their novitiate. It closed down in 1903.
- Between the two world wars some . Provinces which until then only had embryonic scholasticates started some large ones: in France at La Mothe-Achard (1922), in Canada at Sault-au-Recollet (1931), in Belgium at Braine-le-Comte (1931).
After the Second World War the number of scholasticates grew rapidly:
-in India at Madras and Tindivanam (1948), in Malaysia at Georgetown (1951);
-in Italy at Giuliano di Roma (1957), then at Sant’ Oreste (1964);
-in Spain at Castillo Elejabeitia (1966); in Thailand at Sampran (1978);
-in Senegal at Dakar (1981); in Central Africa at Brazzaville (1986).
Inlndia other houses were opened later for the junior -Brothers, especially the Trichy Scholasticate (1988).
Let us go back and recall two contemporaneous foundations which were as imposing as they were short-lived: the university scholasticate at Avrilie near Angers, blessed on 8 June 1966, and the intercongregational scholasticate at Montreal, blessed on 23 October 1966. In those days the houses of formation were full and the policy of the Superiors was to prepare as many Brothers as possible to take university degrees.
The country house of La Garde near Avrille, France, which had been housing the scholastics since 1961, soon proved too small, and in 1965 a large complex was built close by. The 60 Brothers housed there the first year attended Angers Catholic University, taking courses in arts and science, or they attended the Higher College of Agriculture or the regional school for catechists.
At Montreal, six teaching Congregations (the Marist Brothers, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, the Brothers of Charity, the de la Salle Brothers, and the Brothers of Saint Gabriel) pooled their resources to build a real university; the master-builder was Br. Jean-Paul Desilets SG; the university consisted of communal rooms (such as a chapel that could hold 500 and a lecture hall that could hold 700); each Congregation had its own detached house. A few years later the vocation crisis in the West hit all religious Institutes full-force. The two former scholasticates had to be put to other uses.