Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland – Brothers of Charity

photograph of an unidentified Brother of Charity from the book Monasteries and Religious Houses of Great Britain and Ireland, 1903, photographer unknownArticle

Active. Under Simple Vows. Founded 1809. Motto: Deus est Charitas.

The Brothers of Charity were founded by the holy Canon Triest of Ghent, who is known as the Saint Vincent de Paul of Belgium.

The object of the Congregation, after the personal sanctification of the members, is, notably, the instruction of boys of all classes; the care of orphans, prisoners, and of deaf, dumb, blind, and abandoned children; and the nursing of sick, insane, incurable, and aged men. To these and other similar works of charity the Brothers devote their lives.

The novitiate lasts one year.

There are two principal novitiates: one at the mother-house at Ghent, Belgium; one in Canada, at Montreal. The novitiate must be made either in Belgium or Canada, but postulants can be received for three months in any of the houses.

The Congregation of the Brothers of Charity, which has now five provinces, developed very quickly, as did the Sisters of Charity, the Brothers of Saint John of God, and the Sisters of the Holy Infant, all of which were founded by the holy Canon Triest, who died in 1836.

The Congregation was approved and highly recommended by His Holiness, Leo XIII, in 1888, and they received the final confirmation of their Constitutions in 1899 from the Holy Father, who eulogized their work.

The Brothers soon spread all over Belgium, and in time passed into other countries, and now (1903) have many large establishments in England, Ireland, Canada, and the United States; they have under their care over 5,000 lunatics, 850 old men, 200 sick persons, and a good many blind adults. Over 8,000 children are being educated in their schools, and over 1,000 orphans, more than 350 deaf and dumb, and blind children are also being instructed in their houses. The Brothers also direct boarding and secondary schools, and have a normal college for the education of their teachers. The Brothers are constantly receiving calls to open fresh charitable institutions of the same kind, but, unfortu- nately, their number is barely sufficient to attend to the existing establishments; subjects with a religious vocation are wanted.

Candidates should be between sixteen and twenty-eight years of age, and as Brothers are needed for the care of the sick and aged, and for domestic duties, as well as for teaching, an elementary education is sufficient.

A preparatory novitiate for boys of thirteen or fourteen has been attached to several of the houses to cultivate incipient vocations and train and educate such boys as show signs of them.

MLA Citation

  • Francesca M Steele. “Brothers of Charity”. Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland, 1903. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 November 2018. Web. 19 April 2021. <>