• 09 Jan 18

Jan 9 - “Venerable Br. Polycarp” © icon by Lewis Williams, OFS. Happy Memorial Day Br. Polycarp!

Born in the French countryside, tending sheep in the foothills of the Alps, Br. Polycarp’s roots and temperament were almost opposite those of founder Fr. Andre’ Coindre. Yet God’s plan for Polycarp was to revive this order of Brothers after the death of its founder.  He began as a teacher, fervently teaching Christian values and was much beloved by his students. Seeking deeper commitment, he knew of two neighbors who had joined a recently formed congregation of teaching Brothers and approached them about their lives.  At age 26 he opted to join them.  He was quickly noted for his modesty and serenity of heart. By 1830, the French Revolution revived, along with its persecution of the Church. This was a difficult time for the Order, but it survived and on September 13, 1841, Br. Polycarp was elected by his peers Superior General.  He addressed the abuses that had crept into the Community during the difficult times, returning to the ideals of the founder to form a Rule for the Community.  At his death there were 400 Brothers serving needy youth in 70 schools, with plans to establish the Congregation in the United States.  Rekindling the torch lit by Fr. Coindre, his kindly heart was aflame with love for his Brothers and the youth he served.  The Brothers at that time chose as their symbol the joined Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  This image too was representative of the two founders, Andre of Christ’s passion and he with the gentle, suffering heart of Mary.