"We are called to service in some way. Service is what gives hope to the human condition. I do not think there is any aspect of our humanity that is more important. The primary lesson we teach in our schools is our vocation to serve."
Brother Robert Sullivan, C.F.X., founding principal
At the heart of what Xavier High School is and has always been are its Xaverian Brothers, who dedicate their life to the Christian education of youth.
In the first school year, 1963-64, there were eight Brothers out of 10 faculty members. Just two years later the faculty had 29 members, of which 16 were Brothers. Xavier has had more than 70 Xaverian Brothers in its history.
Today Xavier has three teaching Brothers, more than any of the 13 Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools: Brother Thomas Ryan, C.F.X, Brother John Sullivan, C.F.X., and Brother Philip Revell, C.F.X. Brother Brian Davis, C.F.X., who retired as headmaster in 2017, was elected a general counselor of the Xaverian Brothers in 2019.
Despite the declining number of Xaverian Brothers in the United States, Brother Ryan says, “Xavier will always be a ‘Xaverian’ school, staffed by men and women dedicated to the mission, values, goals and legacy of a Xaverian education.”
Xavier has remembered its Brothers in many ways through the years, from scholarships to awards to the naming of academic levels and honor societies. Such examples are the Celestine Medal, Brother Harold Pray Accelerated Program, Brother J. Robert Houlihan College Prep Program, Brother James Kelly Honors Program.
“We are called to plant a vision of hope and faith,” Brother John said.
The Xaverian Brothers’ mission has a long history.
The Congregation of the Brothers of Saint Francis Xavier, commonly called The Xaverian Brothers, was founded in 1839 in Bruges, Belgium, by Theodore James Ryken. The small congregation grew slowly, establishing schools in several Belgian cities and beginning an English Province in 1848. On Aug. 16, 1854, an American colony of Xaverians opened two schools in Louisville, Ky.
Despite difficulties and hardships, the work of the Brothers spread quickly in America. Schools were opened along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Virginia; the first Xaverian School in New England was opened at Saint Patrick's Parish in Lowell, Mass., in 1881.
The Brothers first came to Connecticut in 1904 to work at St. John's Industrial School, located initially in Hartford and subsequently in Deep River.
Xavier High School opened in 1963 with Brother Robert Sullivan, C.F.X., as the founding principal.
More on the history of Xavier can be found here.