Welcome Br. Silas Henderson!
Silas grew up in Eastern Tennessee. He attended the local high school, was active in various clubs and activities.During these formative high school years, he also began to think about the possibility of religious life.
As a Benedictine monk for nearly 11 years, he holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree in liturgy from Catholic Theological Union at Chicago and a Masters in Theological Studies from St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. A catechist and retreat leader, Br. Silas is the author of four books. His reflections and articles on the liturgy, spirituality, Mary and the Saints, and discipleship have appeared in a variety of prominent Catholic publications. In addition to his new ministry as spiritual director for the Salvatorian Center and Hope Newsletter, he continues to serve as director for the collaborative Salvatorian Jordan Ministry Team based in Tucson, AZ.
"The call to religious life is a call to a specific charism (a way of life and prayer) and life in a community," he said. "Over the years, I have come to understand that this kind of shared charism and everyday life is important to me. Being part of a community, having the opportunity to pray and minister together, is an amazing way to serve the Church!"
The Salvatorians' diversity and openness to the gifts and talents of each member is a great gift to the Church. The dream of Fr. Francis Jordan, the Society's founder, was that 'all may know the Savior.' This vision still guides this community today and challenges the Salvatorians—priests, deacons, and brothers, sisters, and lay members— to always seek new and dynamic ways to spread the Gospel.
"I am honored to take on the role of spiritual director for the Salvatorian Center, and I look forward to building a relationship with our supporters as we continue to spread the word of our Savior," said Br. Silas. "I look forward to getting to know and pray with so many."
What does it mean to be a religious brother?
In the middle ages, lay men, whose work was to serve the needs of monks who spent almost half of their day in prayer, were the origin of what the Church today calls brothers. "In time, these 'lay brothers' became the silent workforce of religious communities," noted Br. Silas Henderson in an article written for Aletia to celebrate the first annual National Brothers Day Celebrations in 2017.
"Nearly every community had them, working in the fields, sweeping the corridors, ringing bells, welcoming guests, making furniture and religious habits, tending livestock, and caring for the sick."
Religious leaders in the 17th century, such as St. John the Baptist de la Salle, began envisioning an educational role for brothers. This encouraged them to work in schools, hospitals, and missionaries as they continued to offer their silent support for their religious communities.
"While the day-to-day life of brothers might be very different than what it was, the commitment to compassion, service, and accompaniment of the poor and those in need, remains the same," wrote Br. Silas. "And yet, the vocation to serve the Church as a brother seems to be largely forgotten. I have often been asked why I want to be 'just' a brother or why I don't go 'all the way' to ordination. While we should value the gift of the priesthood, I believe it is important that we also remember the origins of religious life as a lay movement, particularly as we embrace the universal vocation of mission and service—a mission that is not only for ordained ministers."