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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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BROTHERS OF CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTION. The Brothers of Christian Instruction was a congregation founded in 1817 at Saint-Brieuc, Côtes-du-Nord, France, by Jean-Marie-Robert de la Mennais for the instruction of youth. The institute was established primarily to remedy the deficiency left by the regulation of Blessed John Baptiste de la Salle forbidding members of his congregation to go on missions alone. (1)

The congregation was recognized by the Holy See in 1851 and canonically erected by Brief of Leo XIII, March 13, 1891. (2)

The members are bound by the simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. From the mother-house at Ploermel foundations were made in England, Africa, Asia, America, and Oceania. (3)

In the 1850, members of the Brothers of Christian Instruction accepted the invitation of Bishop Mathias LORAS to come to Dubuque. Loras gave them land near MOUNT ST. BERNARD SEMINARY on which to live. (4) The Brothers became involved in education through their work at St. Raphael School. (5) They left Dubuque after the seminary was closed. (6)

In 1903 the congregation comprised 3,000 members, with 420 educational institutions, including a number of orphanages, agricultural schools, trade schools, and boarding schools, the total number of students being 75,000. (7)



1. "Brothers of Christian Instruction," Catholic Encyclopedia, Online: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03711c.htm

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Driscoll, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Justin A. With Faith and Vision, Dubuque: Bureau of Education Archdiocese of Dubuque, 1967, p. 3

5. Gallagher, Mary Kevin (editor), Seed/Harvest: A History of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Dubuque: Archdiocese of Dubuque Press, 1987, p. 15

6. Ibid.

7. Catholic Encyclopedia