Schools and boarding schools
Traditionally, the brothers worked mainly in the area of education. The founder of the congregation, Bishop Joannes Zwijsen, was deeply touched by the poverty, illiteracy and spiritual negligence of the youth. Many children barely received education. He realized how all these elements were connected to each other and he started with a Christian response to it. In the first ten years, the brothers started to take care of orphans in poor neighbourhoods. They also started a boarding school, a Catholic trade school, a seminary, a teacher training college, an institute for blind and deaf children, and a few Sunday schools.
Education is still an important field of work for the brothers. In all schools, the brothers are now working together with a team of lay teachers: the presence of the brothers often is essential for the structure, identity and continuity of the school. In addition to teaching, other activities take place at the schools. The communities organize catechism classes, provide seminars, and support activities in the area of sports and music. Thus, the schools are a center of social, cultural and also religious education.
In some places, the brothers also have boarding schools. For many pupils – especially those living in remote places – this means that they have access to good education, which is not always available in their immediate surroundings.