Page 15 - March On! God will Provide by Brother Aubert
P. 15

FOREWORD                  xlll
        we had gone into what was then the Belgian  Congo in
        l93l-asked for twenty lines of prime  source material
        on the Founder of the Xaverian  Brothers,  we could not
        provide the data.
          In 1939,  the centennial  year of the founding  of the
        Congregation,  the American  Provincial, Brother Ed-
        mund, unearthed in the American  archives a bundle of
        letters addressed  to Theodore   J.  Ryken.  what aroused
        his curiosity was a notation  on the outside wrapping:
        "Brought from Bruges  after the extraordinary General
        Chapter,  1895, by Brother Bernardine under instruc-
        tions from Brother  Alexius,  Provincial." When Brother
        Edmund  read the letters, he realized that he had stum-
        bled on a very appropriate "find" for the centennial
        celebration:  eleven letters which Ryken had obtained
        when he visited the United States in 1837-1838. Seven
        were from bishops  and four from priest-members  of
        religious  Orders,  all of whom  approved the Ryken pro-
        posal to found a Brotherhood  to labor on the American
        mission.  There was a twelfth letter, one written by the
        Prior of },Iont des Olives in Alsace, vouching for Brother
        Ryken's  exemplary  conduct as a Trappist novice and
        assuring him that he would be welcomed  to profession
        if and nhen the monks could reassemble.  These  Trap-
        pists as a result of the anticlericalism  stirred up in 1830
        in the rvake of the  July  Revolution  were abandoning
        their monastery.
          Using  these letters as background  material, Brother
        Edmund wrote the retreat conferences for the summer
        of 1939, and once again the life of Ryken and his un-
        written biography  loomed up as the conspicuous  miss-
         ing link in the history of a Congregation  celebrating its
           These Ryken letters had been "discovered"  before.
         In 1926 Brother   Justin  Higdon, C.F.X.,  had used photo-
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