The Conference of Brothers Visitor was established in 1965 after the General Chaoter of that year in Rome. The Brothers Visitor and Auxiliary Visitor met, at leaste once a year, to discuss matters of interest to them as visitors of the US FSC Districts and to cooperate on projects whoch were undertaken jointly from time to time.
I has been conceded generally that these informal discussions were useful. The ready exchange of information on recruiting, formation, and the educational apostolate was of help to all the Districts. The major project of this period was the establishment of the Center for Religious Studies at Sangre de Cristo, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In 1965 directives dame from Rome that the FSC Distrcts of a region should cooperate in the preparation for the General Chapter of 1966. The unofficial Conference of Brothers Visitor took the initiative in this preparation, and this work enabled the relatively few US delegates to the General Chapter to contribute significantly to its deliberations and decisions.
During the first session of the General Chapter, however, preliminary formal legislation was passed that the Districts of each region should organize by Assitancy or by geographical region. Now formally organized, the US Conference of Brothers Visitor organized the intercapitulary work on the community, the distrrict, and the US region. The US delegation again contributed extensively to the work of the Second Session, as can be seen in the set of Chapter Documents translated, edited, and published by the Conference.
The conferences of Brother Visitor were officially recognized in the Rules and Constitutions and the Book of Governemnt passed by the Second Session of the General Chapter in December, 1967. Since that date, the Conference has held regular meetings. At present three meetings are held each year in the months of September, January, and May.
The conference has a formal corporation charter and by-laws which are registered in the State of New Mexico and the state of Illinois. It has an elected president and vice-president (presently Brother Joseph Finnegan, FSC, and Brother Bertram Coleman, FSC) and an appointed executive secretary-treasurer (presently Brother Joel Damian, FSC).
To better cordinate its activities, in 1966 the conference voted to establish a National Office in a new office-residence building which was erected on Land offered by the St. Louis District on the campus of Lewis College, Lockport, Illinois.
In January, 1968, the first two members of the National Office staff took up residence there: Brother Hubert, FSC, director of publicity, and Brother Joel Damien, FSC, executive secretary. Brother Leo Kirby, FSC, Assitant General, and Brother B. Joseph Neary, FSC, his secretary, establish their office and residence there also when they are in the country. Brother E. Joseph, FSC, formation counselor, also has his office there.
Subsequently, Brother B. Paul Broyles, FSC, was added to the staff as Brother Director and secretary to Brother Assistant. In September, 1969, Brother Josephus Slyer, FSC, joined the staff to assist in office work.
Three other Brothers are also assigned to the National Office staff: Brother Robert Pace, FSC, and Brother A. Phillip Nelan, FSC as directors of the Foreign Services Council, Inc., which they have found more convenient to establish in Washington, DC; and Brother Francis Huether, FSC, who in September, 1969, was appointed Executive Secretary of the National Education Council of the Christian Brothers (NECCB).