25 March 2007


Welcome to my blog, “Just a Brother”, or JAB, for short.
You may find the title a little provocative. I hope so; otherwise all the time I spent thinking it up was wasted. Let’s talk about the title a while (actually, I’ll write about it; you’ll sit quietly and read).

I have been asked many times during my nearly 27 years of religious life if I was a priest. When I replied that I was not, the person often responded with, “So, you’re just a brother then”. One person actually responded by saying, “Don’t worry. You’ll make it someday!” I suppose I felt a little offended the first couple of times this happened, taking the response to mean that the questioner did not value my form of life. It does not bother me any longer, however. Most of the people who respond in this way, I believe, are not making a value judgment. In fact, I now consider it a badge of honor. I am just a brother.

In his acceptance speech after his election at the General Chapter of 2000, our former General Minister, John Corriveau, said words to this effect: “If you want to know how to address me, I’d like you to call me ‘Brother John’, for I consider Brother to be an honorary title.” And why should it not be? After all, Francis of Assisi wished that he and his followers be called brothers, and Jesus became incarnate in order to become our brother. If it is good enough for Jesus and Francis, it is good enough for me!

I am well aware that I was elected to be a General Definitor for all the friars of the Order, not just for the lay brothers. I intend to do that to the best of my abilities. Moreover, I want to avoid recreating the artificial distinctions that the Order has worked so hard to eliminate during the last few decades. At the same time, I cannot ignore the opportunity that I have been given to bring to the General Definitory a view of the Order that may differ from that of a priest-friar. Furthermore, if I can support and encourage in any way this form of life that I love so much, I feel it is my duty to do so.

It is great to be just a brother!


Aldo said...

Scrivo in italiano, perchè l'inglese non è il mio forte.
Sono un ex Cappuccino (provincia di Trento, Italia), uscito dall'Ordine nel lontano 1974.
Nel 1970, alla fine degli studi teologici, ho ritenuto giusto non accedere al sacerdozio, ma restare "just a brother" perchè convinto che il carisma religioso sia cosa diversa dal servizio sacerdotale.
Ora scopro che un fratello è addirittura diventato definitore generale (allora si diceva "reverendissimo"), cosa ai miei tempi impossibile, sia per mentalità che per diritto.
Auguri di cuore.

Just a Brother said...

Certo che la vita dei fratelli laici è molta cambiata negli ultimi 30 anni, anche grazie ai frati-sacerdoti dell'Ordine che hanno insistito sul ritorno alla nostra carisma d'origine.
Per quanto al titolo "reverendissimo", penso che conviene aspettare fino a quando si può scrivere (o meno) sulla lapide.

Hermano said...

Paz y bien:

Hola hermano, espero que estés bien. Sólo unas palabras de felicitaciones en estas Pascuas de Resurrección y para decirte que me gustó su artículo Just a Brother. Hasta pronto, Dios te bendiga.
Fr. Elmig de P.R.

bbb said...

Dear Rev.mo — I think someone from anglophilia needs to jump into your blog to keep it balanced. You have just nine days to get something verbal posted for April. Does Mid-Am's 2nd definitor know he is in your photo album? He'll probably find it "Harribul." However I'm sure we all (even he) are happy to be posted as your bros. Peace and All Good.

Diana Prince said...

Brother seems like an honorary term to me. Maybe you have to be a middle child to understand... but I think it's cool that you embrace your brotherhood. You do inspire.

Alois & Nora said...

You mean you're not ordained yet!?
What the hell is taking so long!?
You're not getting any younger, gela!?
All of us have to go some day, don't ya know.
And you're still putzing around, dammit.
Why don't you just go ahead and go all the way?
-Alois and Nora


JAB said...

Uh, okay Alois and Nora. Sit down and relax. Don't get so excited. Maybe you should take your medicine now.

Lou said...

Alois and Nora,
we all hope that JAB will do his best to be happy!
Take it easy,maybe you are a bit too young to understand such an olf Capuchin friar..Lou

Alois said...

What Brother Joseph wrote to us at http://martinsbrudersalois.blogspot.com is all very nice and good, don'tsha know, but when ARE you going to be ordained? And by the way, who is this Brother Joseph, and when is he going to be ordained?

capuchin sister said...

Dear Brother, I found your blog very interesting and original. We sisters can find news about the friars in a very enjoyable and easy way to read.


Martin said...

Good Job! :)