The Catholic order of Josephites
Constant van Crombrugghe
Constant van Crombrugghe, the founder of the Catholic order of Josephites, was already a Roman Catholic Priest and Headmaster of the Collège de L'Alost in Belgium when he established the Josephites in 1817. The Josephites were founded for the Christian instruction and education of young people.
Initially concentrating all their efforts on addressing the needs of primary age children, the Josephites moved into the secondary sector of education in 1837 when they took over the running of Belgium's leading Roman Catholic boarding school, College Melle, near Gent.
The hallmark of Josephite Schools its ‘family spirit’ which is clearly identified in this extract from the obituary of Constant van Crombrugghe which appeared in the Revue Catholique in 1866.
"All those who knew the Headmaster of the College of Alost have the pleasure of rendering homage to the gentleness of his administration. His boarding school was all about being a family...the fraternal relationships between the pupils themselves and their filial affection and regard for their teachers and their Headmaster enabled them to discover in a real way a gentleness within the school....The Josephites have based their own system of education on the same ideas of their Founder...Their boarding schools are truly like families.. the Superior is the father and where the most genuine affection unites all...Holiness flourishes there but without affectation....the studies serious but varied, the discipline precise but without having excessive rigour. His spirit will continue to animate the schools he has founded."
Josephites also seek to inculcate the Good News of Jesus and the values of gentleness, compassion, right living in those they educate together with a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Today, while Josephite brothers and priests are still actively involved in schools with the Christian education of young people in Europe, Africa and America, the order has diversified into other areas outside of their schools including work as university chaplains, priests in charge of parishes and lecturers at places where men are studying for the priesthood.