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4 December

Saint John Damascene and John Calabria
1889, opening of the first Marist school in Colombia

Marist Calendar - December

International experience of combined formation and charismatic vitality (3)



Sharing relationship processes with others, mission and combined formation

21/08/2008: Ecuador

Our experience of combined formation in the Hispanic-Portuguese language area has come to an end. These past weeks have been a time of great intensity as much at the level of reflection as at the level of shared experience. We have deepened our relationships with others, our Marist mission and the processes of combined formation.

The relationship process helped us to be aware of our habitual form of relating with people, our capacities, difficulties, conflicts and possibilities of personal growth that the world of our affectivity gives us. The dynamics were very experiential and vital combining the personal with the community: personal reflection and sharing in pairs. A very intense moment in this process was the creation of our own psalm of gratitude to God for so many people who have crossed our lives and who have shaped us, as well as sharing it in a prayerful climate with all our brothers and sisters. We finished with the construction of a personal mandala and a community mandala which expressed our summary of the process.

The mission process introduced us to the heart of our charism: the voices of the children and the young people who ask for our presence”. By designing a personal panel we shared our mission experience, what makes us vibrate, our beginnings, the challenges that we feel, the strength of God and his calls… again we had a day for meeting with the targets of our mission: we divided ourselves into four groups to have a mission experience: in a project that welcomes working girls (CENIT), an insertion project for street children and adolescents in vulnerable situations (Mi Caleta), a Hebrew organization that helps refugees (HIAS) and a foundation dedicated to harbouring and offering support to mistreated mothers (Casa Matilde). These experiences coming from God and from our charism helped us jointly to discover what prophetic signs we need to live in our Marist mission and what kind of communities we want to build to take this mission ahead.

Later we started the final process, the one that refers to combined formation. It has been an intense week of summarising what had been done previously, combined prayer and discernment of what God made us feel to be high-priority and of what we can contribute as most valuable to the Institute and the Marist family from all that we experienced in the course of this month. We have also tried to see possible lines of action for our provinces and regions on combined formation, always keeping in mind that what is essential is the vitality of the charism.

At the end, we prepared a document which is the expression of the most important things that we have been able to agree upon during this experience of formative community life, but we are very well aware that words can never really express what overwhelms the soul. The experience of having shared life and faith with so much intensity with our brothers and sisters, of feeling ourselves vibrate and sharing the call to revitalize our charism is the most important thing that we take for ourselves from this meeting. We know ourselves to be a family in mission and we want to continue to stay connected so as to be able to share the fire that we have felt together in these days.

We finished with a sacrament of thanksgiving and offering to God what we lived during this month. We unite with the disciples of Emmaus when they said to themselves: Did we not feel our hearts burning when He spoke to us on the road?

Thank you for having been together with us in this meeting, with your prayer, support and interest. We are convinced that God wants to do marvels in us and that he is already doing them. We leave with the conviction that He continues calling for the Marist vocation and that this group sharing, of Marist Brothers and Lay people, is a gift that the Lord is giving and asking of us. All thanks to Him!

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