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Meeting Held at FMS School, Fianarantsao

20/10/2008: Madagascar - Photo gallery

On September 6, at the Marist Brothers’ Saint Charles Primary School, a formation session was held for teachers. The session focused upon “Water from the Rock,” (WfR) one of the most contemporary documents of the Congregation. The teachers listened to a short account of the genesis of the document, after which a general presentation of the text was given. The teachers were not so up-to-date about the significance of the book nor about the enthusiasm which it has generated in the congregation. The presentation, though brief and clear, was not the key component of the meeting. What was key to the meeting was the work in small groups and the sharing which followed from the small groups. Such a way of making initial contact with “Water from the Rock” found a ready reception among the teachers.

We read together Chapters 2 and 4.

Chapter 2 emphasizes the importance of having a personal plan of life: What de we want to make of our lives? Such is the fundamental question that every person must face and to which a personal response must be given. In such a way did Mary act; and so too, Marcellin Champagnat, following Mary’s example (WfR, N° 51, 52). From their reading of the book, the teachers were especially keen to retain practical elements as a way of supporting our apostolic and Marial spirituality.

The elements in question are found in Numbers 80 to 87. The teachers realized that not all the Numbers are of equal importance to them. Various groups, however, did point out as the principal element the importance of personal prayer and community prayer. The teachers shared the view that in their school an attempt should be made to create times of common prayer: Brothers, teachers, students.

The study of WfR which the teachers are planning to make later on would create an apt occasion for such a prayer, using the book as an help. The teachers took note of the threefold desire of the Commission as expressed in the book: that the book inspire our prayer; that it stimulate reflection; that it inspire various initiatives. All such responses would be with the purpose of assisting both the Brothers and the Champagnat laity in their spiritual life, a spirituality life which remains in contact with that of Marcellin Champagnat, so Marial as his spirituality was. Such is our hope for the remainder of the year 2008 and for the following year too, since 2009 also remains in the purview of the Spirituality Year: to create structures of formation which will last beyond the year 2008. Such a vision encourages us to do more in our context of the Saint Charles Primary School.

The group which studied Chapter 4 had time sufficient only to emphasize Numbers 131 to 134, which have such a notable Marial character. Speaking as they do of Mary, the four Numbers provide us with a real model for finding a balance between action and contemplation. Number 131 is the clearest on that score, underlining explicitly the balance. The same notion appears in N° 133: to avoid not only the temptation of active-ism, but also that of a misconceived contemplation which distances one from apostolic activity.

I was told that all the teachers who attended the formation session were satisfied with it. The female teachers were pleased to see the attention given to the place of women in Marist spirituality and in Marist apostolate. The female presence is especially high-lighted in the following Numbers of “Water from the Rock”: 31, 43, 58, 71, 97, 119, 122, 127, 139. The female teachers noted that, from now on, they form an integral part of our spirituality and constitute a vital element in our apostolic works.

Brother Modeste - Principal Ecole Saint Charles
Fianarantsoa, September 4, 2008

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