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Centenary of the Bulletin of the Institute

 

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A century of history in 31 volumes

06/01/2009: General House

The departure of our brothers from France at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, scattered in almost every region of the world, increased the geographic distances of many of them in relation to the General House. Because of this several General Chapters felt the necessity and desire to create an instrument of periodic communication which would serve as a common tie among all of the members of the Institute.

The circular of Brother Stratonique, November 11, 1908, announced its creation: “Our family journal will begin to be published on the 1st of January, as the Bulletin of the Institute of the Little Brothers of Mary.” And further on he defined what would be an ambitious objective: “It will be the official chronicle of the Institute, the faithful guardian of our traditions, of our spirit, of our works and everything interesting that happens among us, so that, I hope, as the work of writing the history of the congregation is undertaken, those who are in charge of writing it will only have to open its pages to find in them everything necessary to do it completely and instructively.”

Upon opening its pages today we can observe the variety and richness of content that they hold and the adaptation that was being done by the brothers in charge of printing them in order to utilize the best techniques of graphic arts. It is interesting to observe the effort made to print the first page in a color different from black, the inclusion of the first photographs or the first page that was printed in four colors. Through the panoramic view of contents which the digital edition of the indices of the 31 volumes offers, one can observe the variety of topics and contents of spiritual life, pedagogy or the history of houses, works and provinces as well as statistical data or maps. The graphic information through photos has given occasion to use the important yet carefully kept material in the general archives in Rome for the production of the pages of the Bulletin.

In its 100 year history, 222 issues have been published which fill the shelves of our libraries bound in 31 volumes. Volume 31 contains the issues published from 1978 to 1984. In 1962 they changed the format with a major presentation that was proposed from the first issue. The use of the four official languages of the Institute was introduced, although gradually. From November – December 1972 until May – June 1985 a news magazine called FMS was printed. During those 13 years 60 issues were published. On behalf of the Patrimony Commission, Brother Louis Richard has been given the task of putting into digital format the Bulletins of the Institute, so that they may be placed on the webpage. At the present time, Brother Louis is working on Volume IV, issue #35.

In 1986 the General Council named the Commission of “Publications and Communication,” made up of Brothers Yves Thénoz, Secretary General; Richard Dunleavy, General Councilor; Jean Dumortier, editor of “Présence mariste”; Ignacio Pérez, Director of the publishing house Luis Vives and Antonio Sancamillo, from Italy, to define the characteristics of the information that the General Council should send to the Institute. At the conclusion of the work of the commission it was decided to publish a new periodic magazine that was a synthesis or intermediate point between those extended and serious considerations of the Bulletin and a Marist news magazine. Thus emerged the F.M.S. Message, which currently gives continuity to the Bulletin of the Institute.

After three years of news shortage, the first issue of FMS Echo appeared on January 1, 1988, which would last until 1999. Beginning in that year there appeared another publication directed primarily at the laity called Marist ECHOS, of which there were 49 issues until the suspension of its publication in 2005. The dissemination of news through the web page called for a definition of other ways of communication with the Institute. Today, Marist News presents each week the most current of what is happening in the Marist world.


This anniversary fills us with satisfaction on seeing that the initiative undertaken one day by the General Council, to respond to the concrete necessities of the Institute at a specific time, has been evolving, supported by the new technologies of communication which have been appearing throughout history.

The words that the Pope spoke to the personnel and collaborators of the Vatican Television Center before Christmas of 2008 can be applied to the reality of our Institute: “Today the internet requires an ever increasing integration of written, audio and visual communication, and thus is a challenge to broaden and intensify the forms of collaboration between the media which are at the service of the Holy See.” And in our case at the service of the Institute.

And when we perform this service of information to the Institute we feel comforted with the words of encouragement that the same Pontiff spoke to his Vatican collaborators. “May the modest size of your structure in comparison with the immensity of your tasks not cause you dismay. Many people, thanks to your work, can feel closer to the heart of the Church.” And of the Institute, we would add.

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