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Who are the Xaverian Brothers? Catholic order is affiliated, but separate from, archdiocese

Both rooted in the Roman Catholic Church, the Baltimore-based Xaverian Brothers and the Archdiocese of Baltimore are affiliated but separate entities.

The brothers are a worldwide religious order, inspired by their patron St. Francis Xavier, that sponsors schools across the country, including Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore. One of the brothers, a former longtime teacher at Mount St. Joseph, is being investigated by the Baltimore police and state’s attorney’s office for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor in the 1980s, according to the brothers and authorities.

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Brother Robert Flaherty taught at the all-boys school in Southwest Baltimore from 1972 to 1993 and again from 2008 to 2010. He was suspended last week from his teaching job at a preparatory school in Massachusetts.

The Xaverians are a lay Catholic order of brothers. They moved their international headquarters, known as their generalate, to Baltimore in 1995. They strive to "live ordinary lives that give witness to God’s unconditional love,” according to their website. Like other religious congregations of men, such as the Jesuits, the Xaverian Brothers operate Catholic institutions with the approval of the local archbishop. The brothers have autonomy over where they assign members and how they manage the congregation.

“As laymen called to live for God and God alone through a life of consecrated celibacy, we Xaverian Brothers freely choose to live without privilege or entitlement and allow ourselves ‘to be formed by God through the common, ordinary, unspectacular flow of everyday life,’ ” according to the brothers’ website.

Notably, the brothers ran the school where Baltimore native George Herman Ruth — aka Babe Ruth — attended and played baseball, St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys in West Baltimore. Ruth was signed out of St. Mary’s in 1914 by the owner of the Orioles to play in the minors under a contract that paid $100 a month.

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