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Letter to the brothers in their middle age

23/05/2008: General House

Brother Seán Sammon, our Superior General, has just submitted a letter directed to my brothers in their middle age. Brother Seán, using the metaphor of autumn, addresses himself to a wide section of the Institute. The thresholds of that age period, defined by the expression middle age are specified more through maturity of life than through a chronology measured by calendars. Among those addressed, numerous brothers may feel included and will read with interest and benefit from the experience of someone who has already been there. Seán’s letter reveals his own autobiography, lived in the company of those partners who are his brothers.

LetterBy associating the middle stage of human existence with autumn he hopes to offer the reader a serene review of the sweet and sour tone of autumn characterized by signs of death and fullness of life. A stage of existence which carries with it times of harvest, of abundance and at the same time some essential changes and tests of faith. The middle stage of life - Seán affirms - is a favourable time for thanksgiving, for deepening our experience of faith, for assuming our responsibilities for the coming generation, for appraising the gift that makes us capable of knowing ourselves more thoroughly, and for opening up to the gifts that come to us through personal detachment.

The letter arrives just now, in May. There is some time between its sending and its reception. The writing of the letter is officially dated January 2 2008 as historically used by Brother Seán Sammon to share his feelings and his reflections. That date coincided this year with the 191st anniversary of the foundation of the Institute. When handwritten letters pass through technology and become digitally mastered, although they are delayed, they always arrive at an opportune moment for the heart. Without a doubt, the brothers will appreciate Brother Seán’s effort to share this secret, which gives encouragement and hope.

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