Br. Mark Paul, FMS
What gives you joy in living the vocation of a Brother today?
I try to live every day of my life as a Marist Brother with passion. It’s a passion that is tied to a core belief that being 'Brother' to others is a great way to go! There is something about relating to young people as a Brother that enables me to empower them to live more fully their faith.
My vocation has enabled me to work with young people in many amazing places including East Timor, Australian Marist schools, Youth Detention Centres and Universities. These have all been places of growth in which I have been called to live the Gospel with passion and to live justly and walk humbly with my God and others.
My current ministry of leadership at The John Berne School requires me to provide firm guidance with young people who are struggling to be accepted by their society and to conform to the norms of what it means to be a successful Australian today. As a Brother and principal, I try to support my students by maintaining boundaries and providing a secure learning environment in which they can grow in self-esteem and learning.
As a Brother, how do you see yourself responding to the Gospel in the way of Mary?
When so many aspects of these young people's lives are in turmoil I find myself drawing inspiration from the way Mary lived her life where she stood firm, believed that all things were possible, and affirmed her Son to live out his mission here on earth. Our Marist charism and spirituality likewise calls us to love young people all equally – what a challenge! Because they have been hurt so many times in their young lives, our students often push the staff way, rejecting their guidance. As a Brother, I have no choice but to hang in there for them, letting them know they are still loved and will not be rejected. Our school motto, 'Hope Always', becomes real for me everyday, as I work with these amazing students and staff.
Brother Mark is currently serving as Principal of The John Berne School in Lewisham, Sydney. He has worked in special education and solidarity projects including Marist Youth Care and East Timor.