College president pick reflects dwindling number of brothers

A recent story in the Lower Hudson News (N.Y.) presents a good overview of the state of the religious vocation to becoming a brother:

When Iona College recently named Joseph Nyre its eighth president, the announcement represented a sharp break from tradition because Nyre is not a Christian Brother.

Iona's first seven presidents were part of the Catholic community that founded the college in 1940 and has run dozens of top schools across the country.

These days, though, there are hardly any Christian Brothers young enough to be considered for such a demanding job. In fact, the role of all Catholic brothers in the U.S. has been quietly shrinking for decades as the often misunderstood "Brotherhood" gets smaller and older.

Only about 4,700 brothers from all communities are still serving nationally, compared to 12,300 in 1965, and their average age is close to 70. The Christian Brothers are a graying microcosm of this trend.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here