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Tilburg Friars recruit new monks via own website

Three brothers assigned to California

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

TILBURG, the Netherlands - The 124 Brothers of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, have set up a website to recruit new members for their greying religious order. On, the friars share their beliefs, their monastery, their work and life. The website also includes a discussion page.

The congregation known by its Latin name as Congregatio Fratrum Beatae Mariae Virginis Matris Misericordiae, consists worldwide of 338 brothers (including 36 novices), in the Netherlands, Belgium, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia, Brazil, Surinam and California. A recruitment drive in 1999 only produced three novices.

Orphanages and education

The Brothers CMM are a Roman Catholic congregation. The friars who live in a community, take vows of obedience, poverty and chastity, and devote their lives to serving their fellow human beings through education, especially for the young and the poor.

The congregation of Brothers CMM was founded in Tilburg in 1844 by Monsignor Joannes Zwijsen, who later was elevated to Archbishop. The orderís first endeavour was to open a boysí orphanage. The California division was formed in 1963 where three brothers of Dutch descent labour. Two of them lecture as professors at the Loyola Marymount University.

One, Anthony Smulders, was Dean for 22 years and is now Professor of Biology, and the other, John Graver, is Professor of History and chairman of the History Department. Between the three, they serve in such positions as chairman of the Los Angeles County Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Commission, as member of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), and as course-coordinator of the PLATO Society at UCLA.

In the Netherlands, the Brothers CMM live in nine communities, all but one in their home province of Noord-Brabant.