Superior General Brother Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría, F.S.C., leader of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the largest Roman Catholic religious order of men devoted to education, visited La Salle University on Sunday, Nov. 6. The University was founded by the Brothers in 1863.
While at the University, Br. Echeverría met with lay partners involved with Philadelphia-area Lasallian ministries; he also met with Brothers from the Philadelphia area; later, he participated in a student Mass at the University’s chapel, followed by a dinner with the Brothers.
The appearance at La Salle is part of a 14-day visit to various Brothers’ schools of all levels in the District of Eastern Northern America District of the United States. (He is visiting West Catholic High School in Philadelphia today.)
Brother Álvaro holds the highest office of the Christian Brothers, whose 6,000 Brothers and 100,000 lay people teach nearly 1 million students in schools, colleges, and universities in 82 countries worldwide.
Brother Álvaro was named Superior General of the Christian Brothers in 2000, becoming the 26th leader of the Order founded in the 17th century by St. John Baptist de La Salle, the patron saint of teachers. Brother Álvaro was re-elected in 2007 for another seven years.
Born in Costa Rica, Brother Álvaro graduated from Universidad La Salle Mexico. He then joined the Central American District of the Christian Brothers in 1959 and later professed his perpetual vows. He began his career in education as a teacher and mentor in Mexico and Guatemala for eight years. In the 1970s and 1980s, Brother Álvaro worked in Guatemala and Nicaragua during a period when there was an undeclared war between the notorious Death Squads and the ordinary people of those countries, resulting in thousands of deaths. As a teacher, he personally experienced the violence and underlying tensions of these difficult years for the Brothers, their students and families. In addition to serving as a teacher and administrator, Brother Álvaro is a former Auxiliary Visitor for the District of Central America and Vicar General. In 1992, he was elected Vicar General for the Order, based in the generalate in Rome.
The Brothers of the Christian Schools is an international Roman Catholic order of lay Religious Brothers, who — together and in association with their Partners in mission — strive to provide “a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor, according to the ministry entrusted to them by the Church.”