Rule of Life – Community in the School Setting
July 22, 1894
DECREE OF APPROBATION
Pias Inter Societates
Among those pious Associations founded to render ineffectual, with the help of God, the attacks of the impious who, in our days, tend to undermine the Authority of the Church, in Christian and Civil education, it is most fitting to count the Institute of men, all lay, which bears the name of Congregation of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
This pious association of Brothers was founded, in 1821, in France, by the very devoted priest André Coindre, of the Diocese of Lyon.
Besides their own sanctification, the end which they pursue with ardor, is to cultivate the spirit of intelligence and piety, always taking into account the character of each one as well as the conditions of time and place, of boys and young men whom they assemble in their various establishments.
The Brothers, under the direction of a Superior General, lead a common life and observe the three ordinary, simple vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, first temporary, then perpetual.
They apply themselves with such great zeal to attain the end of their Institute that, to the very great advantage of the Catholic religion and of civil society, they have spread with the help of God into several dioceses of France and even in various countries of both Europe and of America.
To rescue young people from ignorance, to prepare them for life, and to give them a knowledge and love of religion, Father André Coindre, in 1821, founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
In the spirit of evangelism that marked the period, the founding of the Institute expressed a response to the needs of the time and place on behalf of neglected and dechristianized youth.
Father Coindre wanted the members of the Institute to be brothers living the values specific to the religious life and committing themselves in a stable way to the service of the Church and society.
Brother Borgia, Brother Xavier, and Brother Polycarp took care to preserve the heritage of the founder. The Rule of 1843 describes in a definitive way the original grace of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. It expresses clearly the elements essential to the life of a religious educator.
By the apostolic decree of July 22, 1894, the Church acknowledged the action of the Holy Spirit in the founding and history of our Institute, which it has approved as a pontifical institute of simple vows. By the same action, the Church has confirmed the members of the Institute in their vocation and their mission.
The Spirit who inspired our founding and who has sustained us throughout our history remains constantly active in the Institute. The present Rule of Life strives to translate the spiritual and apostolic thrust of our first Brothers into language which speaks to us today.
Community of Apostolate
47. The brothers live in community to support one another and to have a greater influence for good on the people among whom they live and work.
48. Whether they work within the community or outside of it, the brothers give witness to a life wholly consecrated to God and neighbor.
49. The brothers have a preference for communal apostolic works where they develop a team spirit to increase their effectiveness.
50. The brothers actively support the interests of the poor, the oppressed, and the neglected.
51. The brothers generously respond to the missionary needs of the Church and make efforts to interest the Christian community in these needs.
149. Apostolic Calling
Our apostolic life flows from a movement of love toward God and neighbor.
As members of an institute devoted to Christian education, especially that of children and youth,
we have the specific responsibility of giving them a holistic human formation
in the perspective of their eternal destiny.
We participate in this mission through whatever function obedience assigns to us.
150. Pastoral Adaptation
We adapt our apostolate of education to the needs of the time and place with clearsightedness, good sense, and boldness in order to give the best possible response to the Spirit's calls.
In collaboration with diocesan pastoral agencies and with educational organizations, we work to promote the natural and supernatural growth of all, especially of the poor and of victims of injustice.
151. Apostolic Competence
It is a duty of justice for us to acquire professional competence.
It is an apostolic necessity that we stay well informed of the latest developments in the field of education and of the teaching of the Church on social problems.
This is true because it is not sufficient just to instruct our students; we must also afford them a formation which enables them to improve the earthly city by furthering the reign of Christ.
152. Limitations of the Apostle
Our apostolate roots us in the hidden but powerful action of God.
Despite the resistance of evil, the indifference of our society, and the experience of failure, we must persevere with faith and trust.
The experience of our personal limitations gives us greater sensitivity toward the spiritual and material sufferings of others.
Our unselfish and dedicated concern can reveal to them the compassion of the Lord and draw them to him.
153. Missionary Spirit
A missionary spirit urges us to help expand the Church in countries where Christianity is still young.
We try to spread the Good News in language that can be understood.
Moreover, we realize that the simple presence of a religious community is already a sign of the nature of the Christian vocation.
Cordial relations among brothers of different ethnic and cultural origins give eloquent witness to the love which must unite all in Christ.
154. Missionary Life
In our adopted countries, we make every effort to understand the work of education in its cultural, pastoral, and social contexts.
This process of inculturation, a work of love and self-emptying, is never complete.
We help the people who welcome us to acquire a formation so that they themselves can provide for the growth of their country and their Church.
155. Context of the School
We work in schools of all types and hold key positions in the field of education as the need arises.
We attach great importance to the formation of new generations of teachers, to the Christian animation of teaching teams, and to the promotion of social respect for the teaching profession.
Among the diverse calls which reach us, we give preference to deprived children and to less developed regions.
156. School Community
Christian education cannot easily be realized without the witness of a school community which is built on close relationships among teachers, parents, students, and the local people.
We wholeheartedly support the establishment of programs for participation and animation which give dynamism to the school community, especially through the search for a common educational vision.
157. Christian Mission of the School
We share with the lay teachers the responsibility for the religious and moral formation of the students, creating an atmosphere of understanding and generosity which awakens in young people a sense of community and a desire to serve others.
In this way, we are helping to form a dedicated laity and to develop religious, priestly, and missionary vocations.
We are also supplementing the formation given in the family and carrying out the educational mission of the Church.
158. Education in the Faith
Christian education is often associated with schooling and cultural development.
It fills the school with the spirit of the Gospel.
We carry out our role as educators in the faith especially through the teaching of religion, which leads the young to an enlightened and close union with Christ.
To accomplish this goal and to kindle in our students a desire for the interior life, it is essential that we cultivate a dynamic relationship both with them and with the Lord.
159. Apostolic and Moral Awareness
In an atmosphere of respect and trust, we educate the young to a sense of personal responsibility.
We also attempt to challenge them to become involved in social ministry, to promote justice and peace, and to appreciate the value of sharing.
We support those students involved in movements and extra-curricular groups which promote human and Christian formation, as well as those who feel called to a special vocation within the Church or society.
160. Christian Acceptance
In our dealings with people of different faiths and ideologies, we look for points of agreement and we welcome dialogue.
We also foster among the young a spirit of acceptance which leads them to love all people regardless of their race, nationality, or creed.
161. Apostolate of Suffering
The brothers who are sick fulfill a special mission.
By enduring their trials in a spirit of surrender and communion with the suffering Heart of Jesus,
they are a profound source of strength within the Institute.
By their serenity and courage in sickness as well as by their prayer,
they become a grace for the brothers in the active apostolate.
162. The brothers consider the school to be the privileged place for their apostolic activity, yet they remain open to all other apostolates determined through prayer, communal discernment, and the agreement of their superiors to be in keeping with the founding charism and the needs of the Church.
163. The brothers carry out their mission by the example of their lives and by teaching both religious and secular subjects or by whatever other task they perform in a spirit of obedience.
164. In the Church the brothers have a special mandate to be educators in the faith.
165. The brothers feel responsible for the missionary work of the Institute. Each brother expresses his concern by prayer, by contact with missionaries, by eagerness to help them, and even by offering to serve in any country to which the Church calls the Institute.
166. To foster genuine inculturation, the brothers chosen to serve in a foreign country are given a time for preparation which includes appropriate missiological studies.
167. The brothers' apostolic activity and community life are integrally related. By pursuing the same ideal and sharing their experiences, anxieties, and joys, they develop a communal apostolic prayer life, strengthen their bonds of brotherhood, and support individual activity with the strength of the community.
168. The brothers readily adapt their teaching methods to take advantage of the educational potential of technology and mass media. They work to develop the moral judgment of the young, who are so greatly influenced by what they read, see, and hear.
169. In keeping with the Church's teachings, the brothers sensitize their students to issues of social justice and other problems of the times.