Why We Are Different
How can we, Alexian Brothers, explain our difference from other men's Congregation?
Firstly, it is appropriate to clearly state where we are on the above assertion. The Alexian Brothers do not claim our uniqueness on the grounds of God's extraordinary gifts to us nor on the basis of our own merits as a Congregation. Rather, we base our claim on our unique intrinsic identity as a community and on the measure by which we have reflected on, claimed and proclaimed the endless blessings that God has granted the Alexian Brothers that have sustained us a Congregation for over 800 years.
From a historical perspective, we rejoice in being blessed as a men's s religious order, which started in the 12th century, before the Bubonic Plague. The Alexian Brothers, the followers of the medieval Beghards, have stood the test of time. We have been strong and resilient in the midst of so many challenges and adversities. We are grateful for these gifts of survival, resiliency and fidelity to God's calling, We are most thankful to our courageous confreres, who have continued to believe in "doing what is right at the right time and at the the right place" as we follow God's directions. We are also grateful to the many men and women who have believed in our ministry and who have supported us in many of our endeavors. Without their faith and support, we would not be able to be in where we are today.
Secondly, the Brothers claim a uniqueness from our founding. Unlike many congregation that have been founded by charismatic saints and leaders, the Alexian Brothers do not have an individual founder figure to emulate. Our forebrothers were just ordinary common people who shared a deep compassion to serve the people at the margins of life, particularly those who were suffering and dying. Many did not have anyone to take care of them during the medieval ages. The Beghard's love and dedication was then a movement that compelled men to gather sacramentally and live in common while they begged for food in order to bring healing and dignity to the sick and the dying and to their families. We officially became a Congregation of the Church in Rome in later years when the community of Beghards found congruence of their lives in the gospel message of St. Luke, in the lives of St. Alexius, St. Augustine, St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. John of God.
Thirdly, the Brothers, differ from the standpoint of our unique charism. As inspired by the second Vatical Council, we have returned to our roots and have reclaimed our charism. We live it out today in our ministries by being more open to God's spirit and guidance as we live out the same spirit and examples of our forebrothers. Just as we ministered to the victims of Bubonic Plague and the witches who were burnt at the stakes during the Inquisition, today in our contemporary world, we continue to serve those who are at the fringes of our society, the poor, the sick, the suffering and the dying. In our workplace, we uphold the Judeo Christian spirit of Compassion, respect for the Dignity of the Person, Care of the Poor, Holism and Partnership. Moreover, we live simply and charitably. As we have remained faithful to the Church's teachings and magisterium, we continue to live in community, even when the challenges sometimes seem greater than the graces. It is our belief as religious that it is to this context of community life that we have been called by 'God, and it will be in the context of this community living that we will find God's salvation.
Lastly, the Alexian Brothers are different because we are hope-filled Brothers. We believe in God' abiding grace in our midst. We have survived as a community for over 800 years, and we are confident that God will continue to bless our congregation with new men who have a heart big enough to serve God and God's people. The Congregation of Alexian Brothers are committed to carry on the legacy of our forebrothers, believing that as we keep our torch burning, other men will come and journey with us in serving God's people, the Alexian Way.