What is the current number of Brothers in the Community of St. John?
On January 1, 2009, the Brothers were 546 in number; 385 (71%) were perpetually professed Brothers (of which 233 were priests) and about 40% were in formation. The Contemplative Sisters were 362, the Apostolic Sisters 147 and there were more than 2,500 secular Oblates.
What is the average age of the Brothers?
The average age is around 40.
Where do vocations come from?
Below are the geographical origins of the Brothers who come from more than 30 different countries:
- France: 58%
- Other European countries: 14%
- Africa: 10%
- America: 15%
- Asia: 3%
What are the stages of the Brothers’ formation?
- The first stage is postulancy which is usually done in a Priory of the Community; it lasts between 3 to 12 months.
- The second stage is the Novitiate which is made in one of the three Novitiates of the Community (in France, in Cameroon and in the USA); the Novitiate lasts between 18 to 24 months. The Novice receives the habit during the Novitiate.
- The third stage is temporary profession which lasts for at least 4 years. During these years the Brother lives in the Priories of formation and he also spends 2 years in an apostolic Priory.
- At the end of his temporary vows, if the Brother is accepted by the Community, he pronounces his perpetual vows (until death).
How is a Brother’ vocation discerned?
Discernment is made at all stages of formation.
- For admission to the postulancy, discernment is made with one’s spiritual director, together with the Prior of the house where the candidate enters.
- Admission to the Novitiate is decided by the Prior General. During the time of Novitiate, the Novice Master, helped by his assistants, is responsible for discerning the Novice’s vocation.
- Admission to simple profession, decided by the Prior General, is preceded by a consultative vote of the chapter of the Priory where the Novitiate is made.
- Admission to final profession depends upon a special chapter (called "Chapter of Formation") whose members include the Prior General, the Novice Master and the final professed Brothers of the Priory of formation. The decision is made through a secret deliberative vote.
How do Brothers go about receiving Holy Orders?
Among the final professed Brothers, some are called to receive the Holy Orders of diaconate and/or priesthood. They are called by the Bishop of Autun (France), upon the Prior General’s recommendation, that is once the Prior General has consulted an ad hoc counsel and received the agreement of his own Counsel. The Brothers' studies for preparation to the diaconate and/or priesthood include the course requirements (Ratio studiorum ) adopted by the French Bishops Conference.
What is the juridical status of the Community of St. John in the Catholic Church?
The Community of St. John is a religious institute of diocesan right under the Bishop of Autun’s jurisdiction.
How is the Community governed?
The supreme authority in the Community is the General Chapter which elects the Prior General for a term of 6 years. The General Chapter can modify the Community’s Constitutions, with the agreement of the Bishop of Autun. The Chapter takes place every three years.
Does the Prior General work alone?
No. According to the Catholic Church’s Canon Law, the Prior General is aided by a Counsel whose members are elected by the General Chapter. The Prior General regularly consults his Counsel concerning the affairs of the Community; and, in some cases, he needs his Counsel's agreement to make a decision.
What is the juridical status of the Community in civil law?
In the United States, the Community of St. John is a non-profit corporation. The juridical status of the Community in other countries depends on local legislation.
How are foundations of the Community decided?
In most cases, the Community first receives a Bishop’s request for a foundation in his diocese. The petition is then weighed by the Prior General and his Counsel who, in turn, present it to the General Chapter for its approval.
In order to start a Priory of formation the Community may however take the initiative to propose a foundation in a diocese. Nevertheless, the local Bishop's agreement is always required.
What are the criteria needed to decide on a foundation?
There are several criteria. The petition must come from a diocesan Bishop and correspond to the proper grace of the Community. The Brothers then evaluate the importance and the urgency of the petition for the Church as well as for the good of the Community.
What are the main apostolates of the Brothers of St. John?
The Brothers' apostolic activities are quite varied in order to respond to the needs of the local Churches who call them. Here are a few examples of the Brothers’ apostolates:
- Teaching and preaching
- Retreat Centers and guest houses
- Chaplaincies of schools and universities
- Chaplaincies of hospitals and prisons
- Youth activities, especially “schools of life”
- St. John Festival (for young people, in the spirit of World Youth Days)
In what spirit does the Community manage its material goods?
The Community desires to receive and manage its material goods in a spirit of poverty, according to the vow made by the Brothers. This is why the Community prefers to avoid owning real estate and instead seeks other solutions such as lease contracts. For the same reason, the Community maintains only a minimum of financial reserves and chooses ordinarily not to borrow money
What are the Community's main sources of income?
The Community’s main sources of income come from:
- the Brothers' apostolates, guest donations and other apostolic activities (40%)
- Donations (45%)
- Various revenues (15%)
Given the large number of Brothers in formation, the Community depends greatly upon the help of benefactors to balance its budget.
Do the Brothers manage their finances alone?
Lay people assist the Brothers in their financial and juridical management. Also, each Priory makes a yearly budget and does its own accounting which is then, in turn, consolidated at the level of the entire Community. The budgets and accounts are available to both Church and State authorities.
Est-il possible de faire un séjour dans un prieuré de la Communauté?
- La plupart des prieurés de la Communauté ont une capacité d'accueil et peuvent recevoir des hôtes. Si vous désirez effectuer un séjour dans un prieuré, veuillez contacter directement le prieuré concerné (voir la rubrique "Adresses").