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.
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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.
BW: You can find out more about our Congregation from our websites: Congregation of Christian Brothers India; Edmundrice.net or Edmundrice.org
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!
If you would like to read more on Religious Brotherhood, visit our own page or this site. You can also ‘Meet a Brother’ by reading ‘this series‘.
Featured image by Matheus Ferrero from Unsplash; In text photos from Edmundrice.net