Recognized in the Xaverian charism are certain values that distinguish the spirituality of the Xaverian Brothers and are rooted deeply in the Brothers’ history and traditions. These values are humility, trust, zeal, compassion and simplicity.
Theodore James Ryken encouraged his Brothers to have the humble attitude of Christ. The Xaverian Brothers are formed in the belief that each person is unique, gifted and loved by God; yet, sinful, incomplete and ordinary, sharing all things that are important with the rest of humanity.
Humility allows all members of the Xaverian Sponsored School community to accept and affirm their giftedness as well as to acknowledge the giftedness of others. Likewise, humility enables one to accept personal limitations in oneself and others. Humility inspires a sense of connectedness, not only within the community, but beyond. Humility is not a passive attitude, but an attitude leading to action, and that action is service.
Humility promotes harmonious relationships allowing members of the school community to affirm each other, to learn from each other and to work together. Humility is a powerful source of unity and is needed if the Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School is to promote truly inclusive and collaborative relationships.
Compassion, as exemplified in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, calls for the openness necessary to let oneself be touched by another’s life and the courage to reach out in loving service to others. Compassion is the eyes, the ears and hands of Christian charity. It is the heart seeking action. Compassion impels those in a Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School to look at life with the eyes of Christ, to suffer with those who suffer, to accompany them and to seek appropriate action to eliminate the sources of suffering. Compassion leads one to a lifestyle rooted in mercy and forgiveness.
Simplicity is another aspect of the Xaverian charism and is rooted in humility, trust of God, zeal for the Church’s ministry of education and compassion. Simplicity frees the heart, the mind and the soul for the work of evangelization and education.
The Xaverian Sponsored School community makes simplicity a way of thinking, feeling and acting in order to offset the modern tendencies of materialism and consumerism, which can minimize the spiritual values of God’s kingdom. A Sponsored School community applies the value of simplicity in all decisions related to the life and mission of the school so that inclusivity of all persons and outreach to the poor and marginalized is upheld.
Programs and activities of the Xaverian Sponsored School educate and form students in Gospel simplicity and responsibility for their neighbor.
Trust is the meeting place of mind and heart, faith and courage. Trust in God forged the Xaverian charism as the Brothers learned to respond in faith and courage to the enormous difficulties encountered in establishing their first schools. This trust is characteristic of the Xaverian charism: Omnia cum Deo, nihil sine Deo. (All with God, nothing without God.)
It is the Spirit of the Lord who encourages, enlightens and inspires all believers especially those engaged in the demanding mission of evangelization and the ministry of educating and forming young people. A Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School is urged to provide the contemplative time and space needed for members of the school community to fix their gaze on the transcendent in order to grow in faith in spite of life’s difficulties.
The word zeal is traditionally used among the Xaverian Brothers to mean the single-minded devotion to, the ardent enthusiasm for and the intense drive to fulfill the Church’s ministry of education. The Founder’s zeal for the Church’s work of evangelization formed the spirit and charism that the Xaverian Brothers have transmitted to their Sponsored Schools. Furthermore, the renowned zeal for evangelization of St. Francis Xavier led Theodore James Ryken to the select this saint as the patron of the Congregation.
Single-minded devotion to the mission of the Xaverian Sponsorship unifies and strengthens the Xaverian educational ministry. Ardent enthusiasm for the Christian formation of young people increases a person’s desire for personal growth and learning. Intense passion for the more abundant life proclaimed by Jesus Christ inspires and forms the Christian community.