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In the footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat

10/12/2004: France

Braving the icy wind and the autumn greyness, about fifty Marist Brothers, having met at the Hermitage the night before, dragged themselves up to La Valla-en-Gier during the afternoon of Saturday the 13th November 2004.
It was a simple pilgrimage to the sources:
· first to the foundation house of 1817 when Father Champagnat brought his first two disciples together,
· then to the chapel at Leytra where the Founder went to implore Marie, Our Lady of Pity, his “Ordinary Resource”, when the novitiate was empty...
The visit to these places, the rediscovery of the historical display of M. Crépin and particularly the fervent prayer in the first Community room brought back memories, warmed the heart and gave confidence to each one present. A song of thanksgiving sprang forth naturally to celebrate the marvels worked in the past two centuries by the Holy Spirit and Mary in the Church and the Institute of the Little Brothers of Mary.
The meditation became more intense in the refectory of the village school (the former juniorate of Our Lady of Victories). After a brief but vivant memory of the crisis of 1823, shared by Brother Alain Delorme, each person wrote on a white cardboard plate his prayer intentions or the names of young people he was going to accompany during this vocation year.
Names and faces of older brothers who had accompanied us from our family, our village, parish or school to the houses of formation were recalled: an occasion to give praise once more to the Lord and thanks to our Good Mother.
Finally, a silent walk in the cold morning brought is to Notre-Dame de Leytra where the renovated walls provided us with pleasant conditions to pray and share our intentions. In front of the local image of the Pieta placed on the altar, we sang and offered our prayers of thanks and intercession after listening to the reading of the Gospel. Our plates with various requests were carried in procession and placed on the altar in a symbolic offering.
Some completed this act of faith, piety and hope by going on to the Maisonnettes, the hamlet where Brother François was born.

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