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Retreat in Charlesbourg

27/03/2008: Canada

How to express our gratitude for the enriching retreat which was offered to us on February 22-23-24? Moreover, we were quite surprised when arriving at Madonna House to learn that all the expenses were to be paid by the community. Thanks very much to you, Brother Provincial and to your Council for such a warm reception and for such generosity. In addition to paying our board and meals, your offered us quite hearty food of a spiritual nature. Again we thank you.

It was a delightful moment for intellect and heart to hear Brother André Lanfrey speaking to us in completely new accents about both Champagnat and spirituality. How happy we were to hear a scholar who calls up old facts and history in order to introduce us to unsuspected conclusions. I may mention some which were surprises to me:
-- to learn that spirituality has three well identified components: the mystic, the theologal and the ascetic: I am embarrassed by such a previous lack of awareness.
-- to learn that our spirituality must differ from that of the founder who was priest whereas we are lay people.
-- to learn that the community of the Little Brothers is not that which Father Champagnat dreamed of, but rather that which the first Brothers agreed to form.
-- to hear the lecturer give the title of cofounder to Jean-Marie Granjon, this disciple whom the good father had to cut off from the incipient community.

I have come to understand too that my knowledge will be always embryonic, but it is perfectible provided that I maintain an interest in it and study it. The conferences, the summaries of conferences and the diagrams are excellent tools which will enable me to continue this study. They were very useful to illustrate the influences and to revive the memory of all that gave birth to the Spirit of the Hermitage. For me, this retreat presented a more human face of our saintly founder and brought me to have an increased admiration for this man of faith who lived out his dream of being a pastor in the manner concretized in these words: we need Brothers.

I finish by expressing once again my great gratitude for this completely unforeseeable, but fully beneficial retreat.

Yours sincerely, Andre Perreault
Former Chairman of the Committee of Animation of the MCFM - Marist Family of Charlebourg, Quebec
Charlesbourg, February 29, 2008.

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