If God calls you to be a Brother; go for it! You will not regret!!
– Br. William D’Souza
Interview with Br. William D’Souza, a member of the Congregation of Christian Brothers and the current Vocation Promoter of the Congregation.
(The interview has been edited for clarity.)
eVocation: Tell us a little about yourself
Br. William: I am the only brother to five sisters in the family. When I was a boy, I wanted to be a Pilot because my father was working for AAI in Mumbai. After my father’s death, my desire to be a pilot remained until I met a group of Christian Brothers in Bajpe (Mangalore) when I was in class nine. The Brothers’ happy community life attracted me and after I finished my class ten, I joined the Congregation of Christian Brothers. It has been forty-four years since I joined and I am extremely happy being a Brother.
I have taught in a number of schools in different states across India. I have been a Principal of four Christian Brothers’ schools in India. I have also worked in Rural India among the poor Gamit and Khasi tribes. The only state I have not visited is the state of Tripura.
eV: Yes, there is a saying that often comes true – join religious life, see the world! 🙂
eV: Can you explain to us what is a ‘Brother’?
BW: A Religious Brother is a member of a Catholic Religious order who commits himself to follow Christ in Consecrated life of the church, by the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He is a non-cleric, not being ordained, lives in a community and works in a ministry according the charism of his congregation.
eV: Is it a male counterpart to being a Religious Sister?
BW: One can compare it to them because they are widely known and seen.
eV: How is it different from being a priest?
BW: A priest’s job is to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus – primarily through preaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments. Priests are ordained for this ministry by a Bishop who was himself ordained by a Bishop, on and on for two thousand years, in an unbroken tradition called, “apostolic succession”!
eV: Some people think being a Brother is for those who join the priesthood but don’t go all the way. Or for those who don’t qualify to be priest. Is this true?
BW: No. It’s a separate choice. It is all about a choice a person makes to be happy in life. It is a divine Call that is a glorious and gracious call to be a brother or a priest!
eV: What do Brothers’ do? What is their ministry?
BW: Brothers live in a community, pray, work, eat and recreate together. They follow the mission and vision of their congregation.
eV: Yes, Brothers run schools, teach, do various types of social work – each according to the need of the situation and the charism of their congregation.
eV: What is unique about the call to be a brother?
BW: To be a brother for others and live a life of brotherhood.
eV: What made you choose this vocation?
BW: I was fascinated by the community life of the brothers who were very happy and serving the people in their own capacity.
Br Simon Coelho
eV: Could you describe a typical day in the life of a brother.
BW: Depends on each brother, following the routine prepared by the brothers in the community.
eV: What would you say to someone discerning this option?
BW: If God calls you to be a Brother (John 15:16); go for it! You will not regret!!
eV: Tell us a bit about your Congregation.
eV: What are the other Brothers’ Congregations in India?
BW: There are many Brothers’ Congregation in India: Franciscan Brothers, Patrician Brothers, Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel, Congregation of St. Theresa of Lisieux, Holy Cross Brothers, Brothers of St. Joseph and Malabar Missionary Brothers.
eV: If people want more information about your congregation – the Christian Brothers – where do they go?
BW: Our congregation websites given earlier; or meet the Vocation Promoter, or talk to him over the phone i.e. Br. William D’Souza +91 7042355605
eV: Thank you, Br. William, for answering the call and for sharing your life with us!