Brothers of the Sacred Heart

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The spiritual influence of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, which permeates the College, combined with an emphasis on courtesy, courage and compassion, enables pupils to develop a high degree of maturity and personal development. ISI Report, January 2015

The Brothers of the Sacred Heart were founded in post-revolutionary France by Father André Coindre (1787-1826), a priest of the diocese of Lyon.

The first Brothers gathered as a religious family to educate orphans and juvenile delinquents and to live a communal life of prayer, obedience and celibacy. The congregation quickly expanded to staff schools in poor rural communities that had previously been unable to attract qualified and committed teachers.

In 1848, the Brothers established their first overseas mission, an orphanage for boys in Mobile, Alabama. Over the next half century, Brothers’ communities were established across the United States and Canada. It was from the New England Province that the Brothers established a presence in England, purchasing St Columba’s College in 1955 from its founding Headmaster and proprietor, Mr Philip O’Neill.

In 1956, the Brothers began teaching at St Francis Secondary School in Malole, Northern Rhodesia, a remote mission in the colony’s northernmost province. Members of the community were present at the ceremony marking Zambia’s independence from Britain in 1964, and played a significant role in the educational development of the young nation. Today, the great majority of Brothers in Zambia and the community’s leadership are indigenous Africans. St Columba’s College enjoys a close relationship with the congregation’s Zambian schools. It is twinned with Robert Shitima School in Kabwe and the St Francis Secondary in Malole.

Today, the Brothers serve in thirty-two countries around the world. They are a religious institute of pontifical right, transcending the boundaries of any one diocese and enjoying a direct relationship with the Holy See. As religious vocations decline in the West, the Order continues to grow in the developing world: Africa, Madagascar, South America and Oceania. Since 2006, the community has been led by Brother José Ignacio Carmona, Superior General, a native of Spain, who has worked most of his life in Colombia.

Education in the tradition of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart has the following characteristics:


  • A Spirituality of the Heart of Christ: This spirituality of love is characterised by relationships based on compassion, attention and respect for the individual.
  • Integration of Faith in Life: Teachers model for their students and for one another faith in action as a necessary response to the gospel.
  • A Spirit of Community: Hospitality, family spirit, collegiality, teamwork and appropriate consultation are characteristics of our work.
  • Formation of the Whole Person: The total school environment contributes to the formation and development of a student’s all round talents.
  • A Special Concern for the Poor and Neglected: We work to sensitise the entire school community to the needs of the materially and spiritually poor.
  • An Ordered and Structured Environment: The school is structured through firm but friendly discipline, which admonishes, corrects, teaches, encourages and models.
  • Availability: Availability provides the opportunity for accompaniment, support and vigilance.