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A Greeting from India and Sri Lanka



Recollection on our Models of Marist Sanctity

21/10/2008: Sri Lanka - Photo gallery

Brother Sunanda Alwis, Provincial of the new Province of South Asia organized three days of recollection for the brothers of his Province on the theme of our Marist Saints. He asked Br. Giovanni Bigotto, Postulator General, to come to help the brothers with this

Two recollections were organized; the first in India, in the State of Tamil Nadu for 13 brothers. We met in the Marial sanctuary of Vailankanny finding there an atmosphere of prayer. This is an old Marial sanctuary that dates back to the 17th century. The complex forms a large cross 2 ½ km. by 1 ½ km. Three large white churches, with white steeples pointed toward the sky, form the top of the cross and from them begins a large boulevard which ends 2 ½ km. further on in front of the chapel of the first miracle, that one also all white with a set of white pinnacles. At either end of the horizontal part of the cross are the chapel of the second miracle and the adoration chapel, they also are white. On the 2 ½ km. boulevard a vast central corridor is covered with sand. Many pilgrims travel the length of it on their knees. Floods of people come to this sanctuary at all times of the year. The prayerful atmosphere helped us very much while we listened attentively to Marcellin, François, Alfano, Basilio and all our martyrs of China, Spain, and Africa. We wanted to discover how they had lived the most important aspects of Marist spirituality, thus bringing together sanctity and the spirituality of Water from the Rock.

The 30 brothers from Sri Lanka chose the national Marial sanctuary of Our Lady of Lanka. This sanctuary, set far away from towns at the top of a hill surrounded by woods, gives at atmosphere of peace, while one can walk on the paths which branch around the sanctuary. The recollection had as its theme: our models of Marist sanctity. Looking closely at our Marist saints awakened in us admiration, pride in having such saints as confreres and the desire to imitate them. It was worthwhile to get to know them and pray to them.

For the four novices, three from India and one from Pakistan, a presentation on Mariology was provided. It was given over four days with a five hour session each day. It helped them to have a new and deep look at Mary of the Gospels. This presentation was also given by the Brother Postulator General.

The sector of India gives an impression of young Marists full of promise: a good number of young brothers are studying at the universities in Trichy, others MAPAC, three novices, six postulants… There are two large schools but with small communities of 2 or 3 brothers. It’s a sector in the full of springtime.

The brothers of Sri Lanka, on the other hand, run well-established schools. They have been present there since 1911. To speak of the Marist Brothers in Negombo or in Colombo is to speak of a national reality. They also have several initiatives to go out among the least favored young people, like the school with the workshop in electronics where the young people, who have failed in their studies, learn trades that will enable them to obtain employment: repair of computers, refrigerators, other electronic equipment…

These brothers, with their Asiatic gentleness, and Marist simplicity sent to the whole Congregation their warm and fraternal greetings.

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