Image: As part of the postulancy period prior to the novitiate, Brother Patrick Martin and Brother Roberto Martinez worked for a year at the high school the other had attended. Martinez says,“The novitiate experience has clarified my understanding of myself because it has become more clear that God has called me to this life.”
WHEN THINKING of Catholic brothers, it’s hard not to think in both the singular and plural at the same time, especially when it comes to novices. Yes, each of the three men featured in the photo story to follow had a pretty regular life as he thought about the De La Salle Christian Brothers and each joined the brothers individually, but, because they are now novices, living together in community, prayer, and ministry—as brothers—they are aware that their identity is now growing larger than any one of them could be alone.
A man or woman taking part in the initial stage of entering a religious community. The novice is typically involved in discernment, preparation, and formation activities, including study of the order’s charism, or guiding spirit, history, constitution, and way of living the vows. This period lasts from 12 to 24 months and is called the novitiate. At the end of the novitiate the novice either leaves or takes temporary vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
|Twice a year all the De La Salle Christian Brothers in initial formation in the U.S. gather for a weekend of retreat, conversation, and fellowship. A unique aspect of the novitiate, in today’s high-tech, media enriched world, is the time to be still. As Brother Patrick Martin says, “Without external stimuli, you get a chance to do some inner work. You get to know yourself really well, and test your fit in this vocation.”
|Brother Dave Deradoorian, 26 (left) “first met the brothers in high school . . . and saw them as a dedicated and energetic group of men living, sharing, and praying together.” Here he and Brother Patrick Martin spend some time producing music in their studio. Before entering the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Martin, 35, was a special education teacher.
|Martin and Deradoorian in one of the three weekly classes the novices take. For Deradoorian the novitiate “is a supportive, encouraging experience. Sometimes the brothers see strengths in us that we didn’t see in ourselves.” He finds the schedule of courses and unstructured time helpful for understanding how his role as a brother grows through “reading, the ability to learn about our founder and our history, and the ability to try new things and explore new talents . . . art, [and] music.”
|Once a week Brother Roberto Martinez, 27, and the other novices help out in classes at the local Lasallian high school. “My role as a brother in today’s day and age,” says Brother Dave Deradoorian, “is to simply and humbly walk with young people throughout their journey of faith.”