Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Brothers at Work: A History of Five Dutch Congregations of Brothers and Their Activities in Catholic Education, 1840-1970

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Brothers at Work: A History of Five Dutch Congregations of Brothers and Their Activities in Catholic Education, 1840-1970

Article excerpt

Brothers at Work: A history of five Dutch congregations of brothers and their activities in Catholic education, 1840-1970. By Joos P A. Van Vugt. (Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Valkhof Pers for the Catholic Study Centre, Catholic University of Nijmegen. 1996. Pp. 126. Paperback)

This work is an abridged English version of a historical study in Dutch undertaken by the Catholic Study Centre of the University of Nijmegen at the behest of, and funded by, the five brotherhoods suggested in the title, namely, the Brothers of St. Louis or of Oudenbosch (founded 1840), the Brothers of Maastricht (1840), the Brothers of Tilburg (1844), the Brothers of Huybergen (1854), and the Brothers of Utrecht (1873). Although the English version is intended primarily for the congregations' foreign missions, it is a scholarly narration based upon an exhaustive study of congregational, diocesan, and government archives and is a perceptive treatment of institutional development that is applicable to teaching brotherhoods in particular and religious life in general.

The author provides a background for the establishment of these five brotherhoods in the proliferation of the active, simple-vow congregations that exploded into existence in the generation following the French Revolution, a development "characterized by spontaneity, enthusiasm, and chaos (p. 31). All five were founded by priests or bishops primarily for the poor children of industrial cities in the making. In short order, however, they were torn loose from their local roots to become part of an ambitious educational system, a principal goal of the "Catholic movement" in The Netherlands. …

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