The organisation began its work in the Scottish Borders in 1955 but its origins are much older. The Congregation of Brothers of Charity was founded in Ghent, Belgium in 1807 by the Catholic priest Peter Joseph Triest (later Canon Triest). It was one of several congregations established by Canon Triest to offer practical support to people in need in the region.
Canon Triest gave the Congregation the motto “Deus Caritas Est” (God is Love), explaining: ‘Nothing more powerful motivates us to respond to the needs of others than love, the first motor of all things. Love possesses a particular strength to move someone’.
The focus of the Congregation’s mission was – and remains – on reaching out in particular to those who are at risk of being marginalised in society. In doing so, its continuing core ethos is of showing profound respect for the dignity of each person, and having particular regard to the quality of relationships with those it serves and their families, and with everyone involved in carrying out the Congregation’s work.
After its foundation in Belgium, the Congregation went on to deliver its mission in a number of different countries, including the UK and Ireland. It is currently active in over 30 countries around the world.
In the organisation’s current work in Scotland we retain the founding motto of the Congregation and are inspired by and fully committed to practically delivering support in accordance with its ethos, both in respect for the individual being a core value and having a focus on quality of relationships, through: “Working in Partnership for Positive Lives”.