The Four Branches in the Order of St. Charbel
The Order of St. Charbel is a new Religious Order in the Church - an Order
which sees itself living the Gospel to the fullest. It encompasses Priests,
Religious and Laity in one religious life, lived in community and bound
by the three Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience - the Evangelical Counsels. As such, the Order
of St. Charbel is a new form of living the Consecrated life, since it is
essentially composed of four Branches:
The structural government of the Order sees the Supreme Pontiff as Head
of the Order. Then, solely responsible to the Pope, is the Prelate of the
Order, who is appointed by the Pope.
The First Branch is composed of celibate Priests.
The Second Branch is composed of Religious - both Brothers and Sisters.
The Third Branch, which comprises the Laity (married and families, or singles)
take `Minor Vows', only, according to their state.
The Fourth Branch is similar to the old "Third Orders" that have been in
existence in the Catholic Church for centuries - the Third Order of Saint
Francis is one example. There is a major difference in that the Fourth
Branch comprises Lay persons who live in the world, but wish to live a
Consecrated life involving a real commitment in the form of a Written Promise.
It involves active volunteer work; manual work at home for the benefit
of the Order, and requires similar daily prayers as in Community.
The Confraternity Membership comprises: The 'Saint Charbel Houses of Prayer,
Peace, Unity and Reconciliation' and 'The Living Stones' who are united
in the life and merits of the Order through their sacrifices and prayers.
The Order of St. Charbel is truly a new Gift of the Holy Spirit entrusted
to the Church. The main goals of the Order are as
It is not possible to begin this major task without, at the same time,
pursuing self-sanctification in order to nourish personal union with God. The way of life promoted by the Order greatly strengthens
and deepens the awareness of this need for the Love of the Father (1 John 2:15-17); that Love which is in the Heart
of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world. The Order of Saint Charbel promotes this contemplative dimension of Religious
Life through the very structure of the day. Half the day is devoted to
Prayer - the other half to Work, particularly the apostolic and charitable
works of the Order. Listening to, and meditating on, the Word of God is a daily encounter with the surpassing
knowledge of Jesus Christ.
(a) Re-evangelisation of the Mystical Body of Christ, particularly through
preaching the Word of God in its entirety, as authoritatively taught by
the Magisterium, through teaching the Faith at all levels of the Church's
life in the modern world.
(b) Re-unification and reconciliation of Christianity, particularly East
and West, beginning with individual persons and encompassing all ecclesial
(c) Promotion of the Family as the "Domestic Church" which, in God's plan,
is the basic cell of Society and a subject of rights and duties.
(d) Promotion of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which proposes
consecration to Jesus through Mary, as an effective means for Christians
to live, faithfully, their baptismal and Religious commitment.
The Order fully realises that devout participation in the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass is the source and summit of Christian life and is, therefore,
the irreplaceable centre of the daily religious exercises. The Sacrament
of Reconciliation, which restores the fundamental gift of conversion received at Baptism, is encouraged highly
by the Order for personal growth in the spiritual life.
There can be no contemplative dimension of Religious Life without the
personal and community experience of conversion. The Adoration of the Blessed
Sacrament as a special devotion of the Church, is a source of spiritual
nourishment for personal prayer and a more intimate participation in the Church's life. The
Order is dedicated to the prayerfulness with attention and fidelity.
By Her exceptional pilgrimage of faith, the Blessed Virgin Mary continues
to "go before" the People of God and represents a constant point of reference for the Church and particularly the Order
of St. Charbel. The Order has singular veneration for the Blessed Mother
of God. Each member of the Order daily consecrates his life and activity
to Jesus through Mary, directing filial love towards Her Who is Mother
of the Church and of Consecrated souls. The Order manifests this love with
the celebration of Her Feasts, promotion of Her authentic Shrines and devotions,
and, in particular, daily prayers in Her honour, especially the Holy Rosary.
Some of the apostolic and charitable works promoted by the Order of
St. Charbel are primarily in the:
Preaching the Gospel has a high priority in the Order since the needs of
evangelisation in the Church and the world are so great. The evangelical
witness of Religious Life, bringing the Word of God to the modern world,
will be the leaven to sanctify every sector of Society which is willing
to receive the call to a conversion of heart. In this respect the Order
of St. Charbel considers itself Missionary to the whole world. Catechesis,
which often takes the form of religious instruction in the Faith, will
be promoted at all levels, but beginning, always, with the family, where
the Faith is nourished and supported.
Preaching and teaching of the Word of God.
Caring for the sick and the unwanted.
Sacramental and catechetical needs of the Third Branch Communities.
The Order of St. Charbel also sees itself as a living expression of
the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29f). Care for the sick, unwanted, and dying, brings the tender Compassion of Christ
to those who are suffering in the circumstances of their pain. The Order maintains the "preferential option for the poor" in
bringing to the world of human suffering the unselfish love of neighbour
for the sake of Christ, so fundamental to Christian solidarity.
Sincerely in Christ,
REV. MALCOLM L. BROUSSARD, Jr.
(one of the founding Priests)