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Marist Calendar

30 November

Saint Andrew
1857:foundation of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary (SMSM)
1871: the first Marist Brothers set out for Australia
1911: the first Marist Brothers set out for Madagascar

Marist Calendar - November

Year of Spirituality

 

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Retreat at Madagascar

08/10/2008: Madagascar

It was good to have this retreat on the book “Water from the Rock”, during the year consecrated to Marist spirituality: it is true that the document was distributed in our communities months ago. But as it happens with other books, this document did not touch us much in fact: the retreat helped us to discover the richness that we have now in our Congregation on Spirituality. “If there was not this retreat, the book ‘Water from the Rock’, for me, would have been a dead book. Before the retreat I read the book, but I didn’t understand it at all”. We have been living a communal sensitization; it was necessary and most beneficial. (read more about the retreat)

The presentation of the book chapter by chapter was very pedagogical. We have noticed the unit between all chapters: they complete themselves each other. One could also seize the contents of each chapter and of the book as whole, thanks to the audiovisual materials sustaining the presentation of the text. The presentations started very often from living experiences, far from the traditional “doctoral” talks. This fact gave to the different sessions a very familiar touch with a call to dialogue, especially during the afternoon session. This session was always a sharing one after personal reading of the text. The retreat introduced all of us to a greater knowledge of the book. It was a great support for both personal and communal prayers as the texts given to us at the beginning of the retreat as well.

The penitential celebration was for many of us a new experience and a very prayerful one. It was a representation based in Exodus 32-34. We have sensed during the whole representation that our God is a God of mercy. The creativity of the representation helped us to understand conversion as we have been living the same experience of the People of Israel. What happened to Israel once was happening to us now. The interesting thing was that the celebration although it was a very symbolic one, didn’t take away from us the sense of the sacrament of reconciliation. All of us have experienced the sacrament of reconciliation within the Penitential celebration. We have enjoyed in a special way this day of the retreat.

It would be good to have similar sessions for lay Marist in our schools. After this retreat we feel better prepared to run these sessions. It is time for us to start doing a bit more for and with our lay people. We could take advantage of the information and of the enthusiasm with which we have lived this retreat.

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