The Xaverian Brothers who reside in Louisville expanded their community and ministry this spring.
They’re quite excited about it, though it’s a bit unorthodox as mission expansion goes.
The 11 brothers who serve here moved from Ryken House on the campus of St. Xavier High School to Treyton Oak Towers, a senior living facility in Old Louisville. What sounds a lot like a step toward hanging up their hats, has become a new mission for the brothers.
“It’s like a shot in the arm,” said Brother Kenney Gorman, who at age 77 is one of the younger Xaverians in the group. “It’s an opportunity for us to grow. We’ve met some wonderful people here. And when we hear their life stories here it’s very humbling.”
Brother Cornelius Hubbuch said the residents at Treyton Oak Towers are providing an opportunity for friendship, ministry and an expanded sense of community.
The new home “gives us a sense of mission, beyond a place to live,” he said. “It connects with the understanding of mission in the world today.
“Our pope is constantly encouraging us to reach out to our neighbors: To be a neighbor to whom? We are neighbors to everyone. It’s an opportunity for us to relate to all these people as our neighbor instead of just one another (as Xaverians),” he explained.
“Our understanding of community expands,” he said. “I think that’s exciting, frankly.”
When the brothers left Ryken House, where Xaverians have resided for 40 years, they brought the chapel’s furnishings with them. The furniture will be used in the brothers’ first project at Treyton Oak: Working with staff, they intend to create an interfaith chapel.
When it’s finished, the brothers hope the residents of all faiths and traditions will use it. They plan to host regular gatherings there for the Xaverian Associates in the Louisville area.
While the brothers — age 74 to 85 — have found opportunities for ministry within their new home, those who are able are also continuing their regular ministry beyond its walls.
At St. Xavier High School, brothers are involved in campus ministry and the St. Joseph of Arimathea Society.
Brother Hubbuch, who at 85 is an elder in the Xaverian community here, and a couple of other brothers normally volunteer with the Global Game Changers after-school program in west Louisville as senior mentors. The pandemic put this work on hold, but they hope to return to it.
“I love it,” said Brother Hubbuch. “It’s basically volunteering for several hours for one afternoon a week. It’s basically interacting with the kids. We become grandpa to them. It’s a very, very good program.”
He also offers spiritual direction and co-leads a Compassionate Louisville group at Nazareth Home. The group considers how they can be more compassionate in their daily lives.
“We try to be of service and do things that keep us going,” he said. “Several brothers teach English as a second language. Another cuts vegetables to serve the poor. Anything we can still do. Kenney is very involved in the national Catholic Chaplains group.”
Three of the brothers at Treyton Oak aren’t able to go out for ministry; they receive personal care services at Treyton Oak while the other eight live independently. The facility offers three levels of care, noted Brother Gorman, which is one of the primary reasons they selected it.
“We’ve found Treyton Oak is continuing to allow us to live independently, and when we need skilled care or nursing care it’s all here and we can support each other as brothers in the same environment,” he said.