Headmaster Edward P. Hardiman travels to Bruges, Belgium, this week to take part in a five-day gathering of Xaverian educators from around the world. The group of 40 Xaverian brothers, lay associates and collaborators is meeting to explore the charism of Theodore James Ryken, who founded the order in Bruges in 1839. Fundamental to the Xaverian charism are five values – compassion, humility, simplicity, trust and zeal - that distinguish the spirituality of the Xaverian Brothers and are rooted deeply in the Brothers' history and traditions.
The Assembly includes leaders and faculty from the Brothers’ ministries in the United States, Belgium, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Haiti, Bolivia, England, Lithuania, and the United States. Their purpose is to reflect on how the Xaverian charism is being lived today, and how it will be lived in the future.
“One of the calls of Xaverian education is to read and respond to the signs of the times,” said Dr. Hardiman before departing for the gathering. “The Assembly is an opportunity to return to Bruges and explore the ways that Xaverian education can respond, in an inclusive way, to times that are changing exponentially.”
There are 13 Xaverian Brothers sponsored schools in the United States. In addition to Dr. Hardiman, leaders from Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland; St. Mary’s Ryken in Leonardtown, Maryland; Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky; and the national Xaverian Brothers Sponsored schools office are attending the Assembly, which is held every six years. Mr. William Mackinson of the religious studies faculty represented St. John’s at the Assembly in 2006.
The photo at the top of the page shows a plaque in front of "the Insitute," a Xaverian school for about 1,200 students in Bruges, on the site of one of the original Xaverian communities. The photo on the left shows Klink House, where Theodore James Ryken lived for a time, worked as a cook for the Brothers, and eventually died. It serves today as the administration building for the Institute.