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Blessed Frederick OSA, an Opportunity for the Church?

About the importance of lay brotherhood for the Church and the Augustinian Order in the 21st century.

Blessed Frederick of Regensburg OSA

Patron of Lay Brothers

Frederick was born in Regensburg in Bavaria, and entered the Augustinian monastery of Saint Nicholas in that city as a lay brother. There he spent the rest of his life. Frederick served the community principally as a carpenter and wood cutter, activities in which he showed concern for the needs of the monastery and his brothers.He was well known for prayer, his humility, charity and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. There is little detail about his life. Significant is that devotion to him began after his death on 29 November 1329. Much depends on legends collected by the prior of the monastery about the sixteenth century. These were inspired by paintings representing scenes from the life of Frederick, which an earlier prior had commissioned for Frederick’s tomb in 1481. He was beatified by Pope Pius X on 12 May 1909. He is the patron of lay brothers in the Augustinian Order. At one time lay brothers were those who had not sufficient education to study for priesthood. They usually served in the community, attending to the domestic needs, such as cooking, and the structure of the house. Nowadays there is such emphasis on priesthood that the lay brotherhood is dying out. This would be a great loss to the Church. Brothers are a constant witness to religious community. There are so many needs within the community for which ordination is not necessary, such as doctor, nurse, house maintenance, shopping, accounting. There are many pastoral areas for which ordination is not necessary, such as teaching, youth ministry, visiting the housebound.Much would depend on the skills of the individual. Blessed Frederick is a reminder of an opportunity for the Church and the Augustinian Order in the 21st century.

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