Introduction to Founder’s Week 2013

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November 26 – December 3, 2013 en Français ⎪ PDF



It is through your life of gospel witness

lived in community with others

that God desires to manifest

care and compassionate love

to those who are separated and estranged,

not only from their neighbors,

but also from their own uniqueness;

to those who suffer

from want, neglect, and injustice:

the poor, the weak, and the oppressed

of this world.

They too are called

to experience,


and share

the love of God with the world

through their own giftedness.

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An account based on an interview with a writer of the Fundamental Principles of the Xaverian Brothers:

The words were hard won.

Our task was to articulate a common spiritual aspiration—the essence of our congregational mission. But how would I contribute to a collective idea when I was still struggling to discover my personal talents and my place in the world? How could I make sense of the vision of a nineteenth-century Dutch man when I was decades apart and worlds away?

It was in a moment of ordinary grace that I began to write of my personal journey, of my inner and intimate relationship with God. It was here, in this place of deep intimacy and particularity that the universal and essential desires of my life would come to be revealed on the page. When I finally shared these reflections with my Brothers, they acknowledged their personal identification with the words and believed that the text was disclosing fundamental congregational desires. It spoke to us in a way, and at a depth, that no formal rule was capable of. They had come as close as words could to grasping what we Xaverians were about.

What I had managed to allow, in that moment of graced surrender, was the creation of a document that linked my deep personal and human aspirations with those of the still unfolding Xaverian charism, which had been brought into the world by our Founder a century and a half before.

Now, years later, when I read the Fundamental Principles in a contemplative way, I am still struck by the potency of the words. They can be strange passageways that lead me to a familiar form of gospel life; one that attracted me in my youth, and continues to form me through communion with others and my personal relationship with God.

The words were hard won. They came to form in the most ordinary of ways: through the passions, joys, and sorrows of my own life.

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As we, Brothers, Associates, and Collaborators celebrate the eight days of Founder’s Week 2013, let us take this occasion to reflect collectively on our shared aspirations, as articulated in the above passage from the Fundamental Principles, and appraise, through this mindfulness, our unique place within the common Xaverian mission. Beginning tomorrow, you will see the shape and form of the passage change; words will appear and disappear, then reappear. Sit with the words prayerfully. Allow them to take hold of you and move you. As one of the writers of the Fundamental Principles suggests above, words can be “strange passageways” that, through prayer, help to form our being.

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