Around the world the Church celebrates May 1 as Religious Brother’s Day. It’s no coincidence that May 1 is also feast of St. Joseph the Worker. The Church established the Feast in 1955, to both to honor St. Joseph and to uphold the dignity of labor.
A young man once told me he saw a statue of St. Joseph in a hospital lobby, and wondered what he was holding in his hand. In these days of office workers and automated labor, some may not recognize that Joseph is traditionally depicted holding a carpenter’s square. The square is used to help make straight wood cuts—he was a carpenter.
Lots of religious brothers have been carpenters, too. But they’ve been all other manner of laborers, and, increasingly, professionals, whether counselors, nurses or other healthcare professionals, planners, educators, you name it. Religious brothers are lay men who take vows or oaths of poverty, chastity and obedience, and live in communities (often with priests, too).
Glenmary student Josiah Kimani is preparing for brotherhood and is studying nursing.