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1857:foundation of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary (SMSM)
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Province of Southern Africa – Sector of Mozambique

 

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Retreat on Marist spirituality

18/08/2009: Mozambique - Photo gallery

From 18 to 25 July, our annual retreat was held in the House of Prayer of the White Fathers of Inhamizua (Beira - Mozambique). The retreat had as theme Marist Spirituality according to the publication, WATER FROM THE ROCK. It was an excellent retreat, and at the end we were all well encouraged and enriched by this “Water from the Rock which the Congregation has just offered the whole Institute. What an opportunity and what a present!

Prayer

Prayer throughout the retreat was very rich and always well prepared, inspired by our book of spirituality. The prayer helped us in our daily encounter with the Lord. One desire expressed by all the participants: that the book continue to inspire our prayers and the prayers of the community during the current school year and even afterwards. It is with great joy that I emphasize what all the brothers underlined in the evaluation: the penitential celebration which was held in the middle of the retreat was of great depth and really touched our hearts. The symbols helped us to experience repentance for our sins in a more authentic way: when the papers on which we had recorded our sins were burned, we were assured of the mercy of God who, once again, was wiping away our sins and resuming our lives in his grace. For us, this celebration has been a source of inspiration for future penitential celebrations. It has given us a better understanding of our book’s invitation to pray with creativity and generosity. The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the end of the day was a marvelous time for prayer, which led us very well into the night’s rest.
The silence during the retreat was very important and gave the brothers the possibility of getting in touch with themselves and with the Lord. A certain difficulty in observing it was noted, but everyone recognized the necessity.
We were greatly assisted also by the celebrant’s punctuality and his very profound biblical reflections. It would be good to return to this house of retreat and welcome.

Presentation of the book Water from the Rock

The presentation of the book surprised us by its richness and content. We were familiar with the book, but far from suspecting the wealth of doctrine it contains. Day after day, we were taken by surprise with the teaching in each chapter. We discovered the richness of each, but also observed the unity among them all. We took notice that one would need a lot of time to absorb all the book’s richness. Not without humour, the preacher informed us that we needed to leave something to work at ourselves. I fear that our communities may not follow this direction and the enthusiasm aroused in us by the retreat, because of the daily activities which completely absorb us. Still, we were aware that we have to pay more attention to our spiritual life, for if we are spiritually empty, our apostolate will suffer and we risk falling into simple activism. After this favourable retreat, we are convinced that Water from the Rock will be in future an essential element in the spiritual renewal of our communities.


General considerations

The book Water from the Rock constitutes an enormous challenge for all of us. We are, in fact, called to be consecrated men in living our spirituality in depth. It nourishes our hope in the renewal of the Congregation and of our Sector, which has lost many brothers in recent years. One can suspect that one of the reasons for these withdrawals is, without doubt, the weakness that can be divined in our spiritual life. This retreat has helped us to discover how to live a more spiritual rhythm in our lives. It can help us become, as the preacher emphasized quoting the book, «men who are Eucharistic, apostolic and with a great devotion to Mary». We are convinced that, if we become more spiritual Marist Brothers, by learning and assimilating the teachings of Water from the Rock, we will be well on the way to a renewal of the Sector and greater perseverance among the brothers of Mozambique.

Some suggestions
At the end of the retreat, we make bold to offer some suggestions:

1. That we continue to reflect on the book Water from the Rock in our communities. All the material that you can send us from Rome will be welcome.
2. That we may be capable in our communities of finding new ways of catechesis, creative and accessible to the young people who attend our schools.
3. That we continue to have more conferences on the book Water from the Rock; that they be as practical as possible while presenting the work’s rich content.
4. That the study and putting into practice of Water from the Rock be, from now on, an instrument of renewal for our personal and community life. That the Community in its Community Life Project indicate times for reflecting on the document.

_________________
Brother Felizardo, Sector Superior
(Resumé of the evaluations of the Brothers)
Maputo, 2 August 2009

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