Congregation of the Brothers of Charity
Founded in Belgium; approved and confirmed by Pope Leo XIII 1899
Charity, CONGREGATION OF THE BROTHERS OF, founded in Belgium early in the present century: the rule and constitutions were approved and confirmed by Pope Leo XIII, July 4, 1899. The founder, the Very Rev. Pierre J. Triest, titular canon of St. Bavon of Ghent, on account of his services in the cause of charity, was surnamed the Vincent de Paul of his native country, and was three times decorated by royal hands with the highest civic orders of the land. After his death his countrymen erected a superb mausoleum to his honor in Brussels, the capital of the kingdom. The special aim of this congregation is the sanctification of its members in the religious state by the exercise of works of charity, which, in the spirit of its founder, embrace every phase of moral and physical suffering and want. They consist in a special manner in tending the sick, in sheltering poor workmen, in the care of the aged, and of insane or idiotic persons, in instructing and bringing up orphan children and young people of every condition. The services rendered by the Brothers of Charity were appreciated by the people and Government of Belgium, and in a short time they had marvellously developed. In 1906, in the mother province, they counted 42 communities in Belgium where about 1,000 brothers care for about 6,000 insane persons, hundreds of old and sick men, and a fair number of blind adults. In this same province they instruct and care for more than 9,000 poor children, orphans, idiots, deaf and dumb, and blind. Here is also found the normal school of the congregation affiliated to the Government, the graduates of which teach in the numerous boarding and model schools belonging to the order. So rapid an expansion early attracted the attention of foreign bishops. Calls for brothers came from every quarter. America, England, Holland, Ireland have in turn become large and flourishing provinces. There are 3 houses in England, one in Ireland, and 2 in Holland. The American province was founded in 1865 with the arrival of 5 Belgian brothers in Montreal; the congregation was incorporated in 1869 under the title of: “Brothers of Charity of Vincent de Paul of Montreal”. The Brothers of Charity direct, among other establishments, the Montreal Reformatory School, and Protectory in the city of Montreal where 30 religious are stationed, and which contains 265 inmates and 27 boarders; the S. Benoit-Joseph Labre Insane Asylum and S. Philippe de Neri Retreat at Longue-Pointe near Montreal with 25 religious, 8 novices, 7 postulants, 106 inmates; the Mont S. Bernard Commercial and Scientific College at Sorel, P. Q., with 16 religious and 160 students; the S. Frederic Academic School at Drummondsville, P. Q., and the House of the Angel Guardian, orphanage and industrial institute, Boston, Massachusetts, with 25 religious and 317 pupils.
The novitiate for the American province is at the S. Benoit Asylum, Longue-Pointe, near Montreal, Canada. The Congregation is placed under the authority of a superior general, who is elected by the brothers from among themselves and who resides in Ghent, Belgium, the cradle of the congregation. He is assisted by a council composed of four members who constitute with him the central council of the congregation. Moreover, assistant visitors, a general secretary, and a general procurator are appointed to aid him in governing.