Walsh University officially celebrated the 200th Anniversary of its international founding order, the Brothers of Christian Instruction, with a week of activities during the University's annual Founders' Week, Nov. 17-23. The celebration began on Sunday, November 17, with Holy Mass and a luncheon and continued throughout the week with fellowship events such as AGAPE Latte, Brothers' Cup Kickball Tournament, Crepes with the Brothers and daily opportunities to join the Brothers in prayer and Adoration.
About the Brothers of Christian Instruction
In June 1819, Father Jean Marie de la Mennais, vicar general of Saint-Brieuc, and Father Gabriel Deshayes, pastor at Auray and vicar general of the diocese Vannes, formed the Brothers of Christian Instruction by signing a treaty uniting their efforts to educate the working class in impoverished France. They vowed to carry the message of the gospel and the rudiments of knowledge to every child in need throughout the region and received Catholic papal approval on March 16, 1891. As a teaching order, their enduring mission remains “to make Christ better known and better loved, through Education and Instruction.” The congregation extended its mission into Bulgaria, Turkey, Egypt, Spain (1903), England (1903), Canada (1886) and the United States (1903). Today, the Brothers are active in Africa, Asia, Europe, America and Oceania.
In keeping with the FIC’s original mission to educate children in primary and secondary school, the Brothers have been instrumental in the founding and operation of vocational schools around the world. Their educational outreach includes areas of unmet need, working with the poor, and helping to keep children in school. In Maine, the Brothers also host the York County Shelter programs and do outreach work with the York County Jail.
In 1960, the Brothers of Christian Instruction established Walsh College in North Canton, Ohio. Throughout Walsh's history, the Brothers have played an active role in the prosperity of the University, serving as faculty during the early years and playing an integral part in the growth and development of the University’s facilities and programs, with several serving as President.
In recent years, Walsh University has implemented several new initiatives to ensure that the Brothers’ mission and Catholic faith will continue to guide the decisions of all future leaders of Walsh University. Faculty and staff have participated in five Presidential Legacy Groups, while each year Walsh students travel to the Notre Dame Spiritual Center in Alfred, Maine, for a one-week service experience that provides a unique opportunity to personally connect with the legacy of Walsh’s founding order. Walsh’s Global Learning Program hosts several international opportunities for students to work alongside the Brothers in countries such as Haiti, Uruguay, Tanzania and Uganda.
In 2016, with support from the Superior General, a new North American Province of the Brothers of Christian Instruction was established. It includes all Brothers from the United States, Canada and Mexico. To ensure that the Brothers remain an active and vibrant part of the Walsh community, the University is also home to five resident Brothers in La Mennais Hall. Walsh’s international community of Brothers helps to enrich the FIC presence on campus. In addition, Walsh University’s Board of Directors includes three Brothers of Christian Instruction or their designees.
Today, there are more than 750 Brothers in 26 countries on five continents. Approximately 150 young Brothers are currently in training and committed to providing a values-based Catholic education to all who seek it.