This photo was taken in 1884 of a group of very young Irish men who were being trained as Patricians and prepared for ministry in New South Wales, Australia. They arrived in Sydney during September of 1884 to teach in the country towns of Maitland, Goulburn, and Bathurst. None ever saw Ireland again.


The Brothers of Saint Patrick were founded on 2nd February, 1808, in the small country town of Tullow, Ireland, by Bishop Daniel Delany. (One year earlier he had founded the Sisters of Saint Brigid.) At that time, the ordinary folk of Ireland -especially the young – faced very bleak futures. There was widespread economic poverty, unemployment and lawlessness. Daniel Delany had the vision that by providing the young with an education in the Four Rs -Reading, (w)Riting, (a)Rithmatic and Religion – many of the social problems could be better addressed. Therefore, he gathered a group of men who would enable the youth of the diocese to take more responsibility for building their own lives as members of their country and their church.

After extremely difficult beginnings, the Brothers of Saint Patrick slowly spread to other dioceses in Ireland. Today you will also find the Brothers in India (1875), Australia (1883), California (1946), Kenya (1961), Papua New Guinea (1968), and Ghana (2008).

The spirituality of the Patrician Brothers has its origins in the life of Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland. Patrick wrote in his Confessio of his calling to bring to the people of Ireland the Good News of Jesus Christ; he also recounted the many hardships he endured in this mission. A strong commitment to the Presence of Jesus Christ in all the circumstances of life characterised Patrick’s life. The Patrician Brothers are enlivened by Patrick’s faith in Christ: daily we recite “The Breastplate of St. Patrick” to emphasise that we find Christ in all hearts (Christus in Corde Omnium).

Mission And Ministry

“We Patricians, inspired by the life of Jesus Christ, rise to proclaim our Creator’s option for the poor. We hold all of creation to be holy and worthy of reverence. We dedicate ourselves to restore right relationships to our world by compassion and action for justice. … We refuse to separate our faith from life. Through life-giving Brotherhood and prayer, we strive for a union of hearts and minds. … We carry forward our apostolic initiatives to promote wholeness, welcome, and self-worth.” [Patrician Mission Statement]

The Brothers are involved in a variety of ministries throughout the world:
  • Leadership in Primary and Secondary Catholic schools
  • Teaching in Primary and Secondary Catholic schools
  • Support of Catholic Education through the various works of (arch) diocesan Catholic Education Offices
  • Hospital & gaol chaplaincy
  • Missions (PNG, Kenya, Ghana)
  • Young Adult Ministry and job-skill training
  • Nursing
  • Adult faith education and development
  • Parish ministry
  • Adult literacy
Jesus on cross
father blessing son


For the Patrician Brother, formation is a life-long journey. We choose to live our Baptismal consecration by living celibacy in communities, sharing poverty, and obediently listening to one another.

Formation concerns the human, spiritual and pastoral dimensions in the development of a Patrician Brother; it is adapted to the needs of the individual candidate and to the Brothers as a whole.

Formation formally commences with a pre-Novitiate period of up to two years in which the candidate examines more closely Patrician Brotherhood by living in one or more of the Patrician communities. The Novitiate of two years is a time for reflection and closer study of the various aspects of Patrician Brotherhood and Church. The candidate may then make his First Profession of Vows – Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. He lives his Brotherhood engaged in the works of the Brothers and/or in further study. After five years, he may apply for Final Profession of Vows.
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