Our life is built upon four pillars: prayer, fraternity, study and apostolic activity or mission.
In his contemplation of Christ, St John is a model for us; hence he is the inspiration for our prayer life. “The Brothers of Saint John seek ever deeper union with Christ both personally and in community (…) so that their hearts might be united to the intentions of the heart of Jesus.” (Rule of Life)
Our prayer life has two principal dimensions: the liturgy and silent prayer.
Each day is punctuated by the community singing the Liturgy of the Hours (lauds, sext, vespers, compline) and the celebration of Mass, which is the summit of our day.
Every morning and every evening we also consecrate a period of time to silent prayer. These moments of inner silent prayer or Eucharistic adoration are essential for us. We wish to dwell with Christ, as did Saint John when he rested his head upon the heart of Jesus during the Last Supper. Through this we draw light and love from the wellsprings of Christ’s heart, both for ourselves and for those to whom we are sent. In this way contemplation becomes the source of our apostolic activities.
The brothers also try to pray the rosary on a daily basis.
A liturgy that combines beauty, sobriety and recollection
La mélodie des psaumes et de nombreux autres pièces a été composée par The melody of the psalms and many of the other pieces of music were composed by Magdalith. Some of the brothers also compose liturgical music that we like to use during our major celebrations, such as professions and ordinations.
You can purchase a CD of our liturgy here.
When it comes to fraternal charity, Saint John is one of the most eloquent authors in the whole of the New Testament. In his Gospel we find Jesus’ new commandment: “Love one another; just as I have loved you” (Jn 13: 34), and his first letter is a lively exhortation to fraternal love: “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God” (1 Jn 4 :7).
Community life: an oasis for living the mystery of charity
We live out our religious life in community so that we might better live the mystery of charity. Our communities take the form of priories of between 5 and 10 brothers. Our fraternal life is characterised by simplicity, joy and welcome. It blossoms in our apostolic life, where the brothers work together and help each other to accomplish their missions. Discover the lighter side of our fraternal life in photos!
The writings of St John show us just how much he thirsted to contemplate the mystery of Christ and to proclaim it. Our studies have no other goal than this : to know God, to discover His loving plan for mankind, and to proclaim it. This translates into our lives as a lifelong philosophical and theological search, through which we put our intellect at the service of faith.
Seeking truth in philosophical, theological and mystical wisdom
Our search for truth is structured according to philosophical, theological and mystical wisdom. This distinction of the three wisdoms comes from St Thomas Aquinas and was developed by Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe. John-Paul II also took up the distinction in his encyclical letter Fides et Ratio (n° 44).
Study: our initial formation and each brother’s personal growth in understanding
Our study life includes a period of initial formation received during the first years in the community. You can find an overview of this period here. As well as this initial formation, it is possible for brothers to pursue studies at university and receive a State or Canonical qualification.
Each year the Master of Studies encourages the brothers to deepen their understanding on a personal and community level of a particular subject of philosophical or theological inquiry.
From Pentecost onwards we see St John working with the other apostles to proclaim the risen Christ. His apostolic life took on many different forms, each adapted to the needs of his contemporaries: he proclaimed Jesus to the Jews and to the pagans; he drew close to the suffering churches when he wrote the Apocalypse; he exhorted the new generation of Christians to charity in his First Letter, and in his Gospel he proclaimed the salvation offered by the Lord to everyone. Our apostolic life is inspired by his example.
Delve a little deeper
Listen to a psalm from our liturgy
The daily life of a Brother
We live in small communities, called priories, made up of 5-10 brothers. The day begins with a time of silent interior prayer in the chapel, followed by the office of Lauds.
The morning is spent either in apostolic work, such as visiting the sick or giving catechism classes, for example, or in study or preparation for apostolic work such as homilies, classes, etc. The mass is a special moment in our day and is celebrated either in the morning or late afternoon. We sing a short Midday Office in the morning, usually just before lunch. Like the mornings, our afternoons are often spent doing apostolic work.
During the week, we also give some time to the material needs of the priory (shopping, cleaning, minor repairs, etc.), as well as to relaxation and sport. There are also moments for reflection and for coming together as a community, such as the chapter, for example.
At the end of the afternoon we have a time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Office of Vespers is sung in common. The final office of the day is Compline, and it is celebrated either together as a community or individually.
What are the 3 vows ?
We take three vows: the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Life according to these vows corresponds to « that form of life which he, as the Son of God, accepted in entering this world.» (Vita Consecreta, 16)
That is why, as we make this promise to live according to the three vows, we rely upon God’s mercy and the help of our brothers (Cf. Rite of Profession). We desire to unite ourselves as closely as possible to Jesus, seeking a “gradual identification with the attitude of Christ towards the Father.” (Vita Consecrata, 65).
What is the common life ?
The common life we live is a response to Jesus’ commandment : « love one another as I have loved you » (Jn 13: 34) – the commandment that was His testament.
The apostle John reminds us that the sure path to knowing God is loving one’s brother (1 Jn 4:7). “Living together like brothers” is a joyful experience (see Psalm 132:1) but it is also a responsibility: “What have you done to your brother?” (Gen. 4:10). Our common life follows a rule that enables us to live a life of prayer, work, study and activity at the service of the Church.And so the brothers come together several times a day to sing the liturgy of the hours in community, especially lauds in the morning and vespers at the end of the afternoon. They spend time together relaxing, such as during meals or on fraternal trips outside of their priory. During their chapter they come together to discuss and decide upon aspects that concern their life and mission, both on a spiritual and practical level. They also spend time together as a community reflecting on an intellectual topic or the Word of God. The common life also entails material tasks, such as working in the kitchen, doing the laundry, maintaining the cars, cleaning, etc. The prior has the special role of bringing the community together and encouraging the brothers in their communion and mission.