The Missionaries of Charity Brothers were founded on 25 March 1963 in Calcutta and are a congregation of pontifical right. Brother Andrew (Fr. Ian Traverse Ball), who took over the formation and leadership of the Brothers in 1966, is considered co-founder with Mother Teresa.
The Brothers wear ordinary clothes with a crucifix over their heart as a sign of their religious consecration.
Works characteristic of their apostolate are: ministry to street children, homeless people, drug addicts, beggars, alcoholics; homes for the sick and dying, mentally and physically handicapped, leprosy patients, the abandoned and the mentally ill; visiting families, the elderly, the sick, the lonely, those in prisons and hospitals; teaching catechism, running non-formal slum and village schools; basic medical aid in outdoor clinics, nutrition programs and relief work.
Candidates are required to have completed the equivalent of a high school education in their country. Normally men over the age of 35 are not accepted unless they have lived in another religious community. Already ordained priests can be accepted.
In 2007, 367 Brothers were serving in 68 houses in 21 countries.
The Missionaries of Charity Brothers were founded by Mother Teresa in Calcutta in 1963, to do work similar to that of the Sisters, who were already well established serving the poorest people of Calcutta and many other places. The congregation was founded with the same spirit and charism as the Sisters as Mother Teresa saw that God would also want to call men to share in this way of life.
For the first three years, the Brothers, as a pious union, were under the care of Mother Teresa and her sisters. During that time Mother Teresa was waiting for someone suitable to take up the leadership of
the Brothers and so enable them to become a religious congregation.
In 1966, Fr. Ian Travers-Ball, an Australian Jesuit working in India, decided to join the Brothers and took the name “Brother Andrew”. Seeing his attraction to this vocation, Mother Teresa saw him as the answer to her prayers and asked him to take over the formation and leadership of the Brothers.
From his arrival in 1966 until the Third General Chapter in 1986, Brother Andrew was the General Servant (Superior General). He formed and governed the brothers during those years, helping them to find their
own identity as religious brothers within the M.C. family. Although the charism comes from Mother Teresa, Brother Andrew gave the Brothers a particular appreciation of their own poverty as instruments in God’s hands,
and of the wonderful fact that God uses weak and wounded men like themselves for his own work.
Because of his important role in their history, the Brothers consider Brother Andrew as their “co-founder” with Mother Teresa.
For the first 10 years, the congregation grew mainly in India with Indian vocations. Since then, many houses have been established in other countries and men of other nationalities have also joined.
As of 2005,
there are about 370 professed Brothers with 42 houses in India and 27 houses in 20 other countries.
WAY OF LIFE
The religious congregation of the Missionaries of Charity Brothers is of pontifical right.
Brothers profess the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and
a special fourth vow of whole-hearted and free service to the poorest of the poor.
They live this life of consecration supported by a regular life of prayer, including daily Eucharist and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Brothers live a close community life: living, working and praying together.
The poor and simple lifestyle of the Brothers, after the example of Jesus,
allows them to share something of the poverty of the people they serve and helps the brothers to feel at home among the poor.
The brothers have no religious habit but wear ordinary clothes with
a crucifix pinned over their heart as a sign of their religious consecration.
The mission of the Missionary of Charity Brother is to be a friend for the poorest people, especially those most rejected and abandoned. In this way, the brothers love and serve Jesus in His “distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor” (Mother Teresa).
The brother offers himself as an instrument of God’s love for the poor person and expresses his friendship by comforting and caring for them in their immediate needs.
The nature of this loving service differs according to the needs of the poorest of that place, but it is usually a service through ordinary, humble works of day-to-day care and concern, always in personal contact with the poor person.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR CANDIDATES:
Candidates must have a desire to love and serve Jesus through and intense prayer life and simple, wholehearted service to the poor. They are required to be healthy in body and mind and thus able to bear the hardships of this vocation. They must be able to acquire knowledge,
be of cheerful disposition and have sound judgment. Candidates are required to have completed the equivalent of High School education in their country. We do not normally accept men over the age of 35 unless they have lived in another religious community.
Though ours is primarily a vocation to brotherhood, we can accept candidates who are already ordained priests.