Brother Daryl Charron is a member of our provincial council. He is also the director of initial formation for the Missionaries, and lives with and mentors young men beginning their formation for religious life. He lives at the Missionaries’ house of formation in Chicago.
By Brother Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.
National Religious Brother’s Day is May 1. This gives me an opportunity to reflect on brotherhood, especially as it relates to leadership.
I have come to realize over the years that the identity of a brother changes over the course of one’s life. Early in life, for example, many brothers over-identify with what they do. Be they teachers or administrators, hospital chaplains or parish ministers, the work they carry out appears to mean much more to them than who they are.
In contrast, at midlife many of the same men begin to realize that brotherhood, more than anything else, is a particular way of being in the world. It has much more to do with who brothers are, men of prayer, mission and communion, than with what they do.
The challenges of midlife, those years between the early forties and mid-sixties, are many: facing personal mortality; bridging the gap between early and middle adulthood; trying to pull together all those disparate parts that make up each of us.
Midlife also brings new roles and is a time for life re-evaluation. Many midlife brothers go through changes in outlook. Their ministry, once so captivating and a chief source of their identity, has lost some of its luster. During midlife, religious brothers must come to terms with the past and prepare for the future. In doing so, they will question virtually every aspect of their life. Being that I am right in the middle of this stage of life, I am grateful that our current leadership is asking us to consider transformation in our lives as Missionaries.
How can I be transformed as a brother going through midlife? What do I want to become as a servant leader to the Community? Mentoring relationships is one of the ways I would like to lead. This type of love relationship is egalitarian. It is the way I like to relate to people. Caught between two generations, most midlife brothers find themselves responsible for both older and younger people.
Mentoring offers me a unique opportunity to expand my care for others. Living with others in simplicity and equality, and with patience, sensitivity and encouragement is the type of transformation I desire.
The leadership that brothers can share in today’s world is the power of fraternity, to create communion in a world that has fostered isolation, self-interest and classes of people considered to be less than human. Fraternity would demonstrate concretely that brotherhood is a viable alternative to the dominant superior-inferior model of relationship so prevalent in our culture. The transformation I seek is being in deeper communion with people.
Brother Antonio Sison, C.PP.S., and I will go to our mission in Vietnam in August. We have been mentoring from afar a brother-candidate there. We are happy to have the opportunity to offer mentoring to all our Missionaries and candidates there. This comes naturally to two midlife brothers trying to show support to our Missionaries in other countries. While we are there, we will get to witness four of our candidates make temporary incorporation. What a great way to celebrate the future of the Vietnam Mission!
I am encouraged by the words of St. Gaspar to Fr. Francesco Maletti in Letter 1308: “Here in this House, we have a gathering of excellent young men who are all preparing for the ministry. Pray and have others pray for them. It is necessary to send out workers everywhere, so that the earth will be cleansed in the Divine Blood.”