Bearing Witness to the Reign of God: Discipleship as a Religious Brother in the Church

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Ernest Miller, FSC


This essay is an exploration of and theological reflection on religious brothers in the church. Since the Second Vatican Council, the church has experienced a far greater decline in the number of religious brothers compared to the decline in the number of religious sisters and religious priests. Through the lens of discipleship, the essay opens up the call to bear witness to the reign of God through the vocation of brotherhood. Discipleship is defined and then brotherhood as a concrete expression of discipleship is examined in three ways: the author’s journey as a brother, a close-up of the all-brothers institute to which the author belongs, and a critical look at the current and future state of brothers in the church. The author expounds the constant binary of priests and sisters in the media and common church parlance. The essay closes with a specific challenge to elevate the visibility of brothers and to recover the prophetic nature of religious brotherhood.

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Year of Consecrated Life
Author Biography

Ernest Miller, FSC, Chicago Theological Union

A native of New Orleans, Brother Ernest has been a Brother of the Christian Schools for twenty years. He joined the Brothers in 1993 in Philadelphia to begin his initial formation. He made his first profession of vows in 1998, after his novitiate year in Skaneateles, NY, and in 2003 he made his final profession of vows. Currently, Br. Ernest is a doctoral student at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He recently completed three years as the Associate Director for Mission and Ministry in the District of Eastern North America, the geographic region for all Lasallian educational ministries in six states, Washington, DC, and Ontario, Canada. Before taking up his most recent position in District leadership, he served for two years as Director of Education and Lasallian Mission Formation in the legacy District of Baltimore. Previous to his five years in District leadership, he served on the faculty of Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, PA, and West Philadelphia Catholic High School. His fields of teaching include history, religion, government, international affairs, and interdisciplinary studies. While at Central Catholic, he served as founding director of the Brother David S. Baginski, FSC, Scholars Program, an interdisciplinary studies endeavor for honors-level students. He help cofound the Central Catholic Human Rights Initiative for Societal Transformation, or C-CHRIST , a cocurricular student organization promoting human rights and social change. In April 2010, he was the Convener of the Lasallian Convocation on the Rights of the Child at the United Nations in New York. He was graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a BA in Political Science; George Washington University with an MA in International Affairs; La Salle University with an MA in Education; Georgetown University with an MLS (Master in Liberal Studies). For leisure, he enjoys reading, travel, jazz, African American sacred music, and riding trains.