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Marist Calendar

22 September

Saint Thomas of Villanova
1948: The Marist Brothers began their mission in Mozambique
1991: First foundation in Monrovia, capital of Liberia

Marist Calendar - September

« Towards new Thresholds »

 

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Following the Marist Spirituality Course at Los Negrales

27/10/2010: Spain - Photo gallery

The Spirituality Course known as « UMBRALES » (Thresholds), at Los Negrales (Madrid, finished on 3 October. The participants were 13 in number, brothers between 54 and 67 years of age, coming from 9 Marist Provinces speaking Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. The last stage took place at the Hermitage as a pilgimage to the places of our Marist origins. Even though the Hermitage experience was not forseen on departure, the co-ordinators and the Hermitage community did everything to make sure that the encounter with the sources of Marist life became one of the most important times of the course: it left a deep impression for personal and community growth, for response in renewed fidelity, recognition of the grace that the Marist heritage represents and, in a word, an encounter transformed into a generous blessing of God through Mary, the Good Mother, and Champagnat.As rich treasure accumulated during these two months of formation, here is what the participants considered « was left in the heart » of each one:« I was very happy to share with the brothers, to recall a pile of things which had, as it were, ‘gone to sleep’… This experience has been an immense grace for me…so I thank God, the Virgin and Champagnat for the chance offered me. » (TAS)« This was a beautiful experience of personal formation and of contact with Marist brothers from many countries…That helped me revise my life and my future projection… to revitalize the love of our sources, the truth of our origins… » (JDBM)« The course seemed to me very valuable, especially because of the inter-cultural group of brothers coming from different parts of the Institute, all feeling members of the same family. I very much enjoyed the exchange of joys, concerns, and desires, as well as the personal experiences of each. » (CN)« We must accept a new experience, a new way of life: accept a new stage where everything will keep on diminishing… Cultivate personal prayer. Work for the community. » (CNBF)« My heart is joyful and happy. This unique experience has strengthened and renewed me. Two months in which we tried to act in a way that what the XXI General Chapter was asking us should become a reality: renew our hearts, be converted to Jesus. We quickened our pace, more aware of the work to be done despite our limitations, and of the importance of letting the joy of living as brothers be reflected in our faces. » (PL)« What remains with me is the beautiful experience lived: a serene community life, in perfect harmony and peace, in a true brotherhood… And what is serious: I rediscovered « the form » for going in haste with Mary and Marcellin to new lands… » (PWS)« The experience of the UMBRALES has been something extraordinary in my life; once again the Lord has touched me. I realized once more that I am human, someone with qualities and faults, imperfections, but capable of improvement. I pray the Lord that he will give me the courage and the determination to live what I have experienced at Los Negrales with the other brothers. » (FNE)« The community experience remains with me like a fortress, a living rock for my growth in brotherhood, in faith, and especially in love; it remains a means of discernment in daily life. Contact with reality, especially with the marginalised, will offer me as a gift the new face of the brother the General chapter asks of us… » (CGA)« I had the good fortune of becoming one of the ‘chosen’ to live the experience of the UMBRALES programme. It was a great chance to revitalise my Marist being. I am very grateful…The interruption came, without doubt, at the right time for rethinking and reinforcing certain aspects of my life. The co-ordination of the course and the speakers were a precious help to us throughout the experience. I understood that I have much to give and also much to receive, and that community has a real value in all that I am and do. » (AB)« The community dimension was the richest aspect I experienced and, in the end, a much greater proximity to the demands of our actual Marist life. I hope to go on in this way and better incarnate the Marist and Gospel dimension. » (ALM)« It was a time of grace… There remains the magnificent memory of having lived with brothers from different countries, with whom I came to realize how the Marist family unites us… I was very strongly impressed by the visit to the Hermitage… My enthusiasm for the new mission that will be confided to me found itself strengthened… I express my most sincere – and indelible – thanks to all who allowed me to live this experience… » (JAB)« My history is a sacred history for God has been present there all the time. Too rare the times in my past life that I recognised His presence…, but how intensely He has manifested Himself to me at present! Little by little, I have realized that my whole being was loved by God… I feel loved in freedom… this bears fruit of serenity, happiness, optimism: a great hope and an interior peace in order to be able to serve in transparency and joy… » (AP) « For me, the time at Los Negrales has been a profound experience which has allowed me to review my Marist life in depth and glance back over the past years. I had the impression that the speakers did much to help us in this process. Besides overcoming my insecurities, I was able to verify that everything can be an occasion of growth: it is enough to look beyond one’s nose and not to act ‘above place’. What I feel most deeply is that God has done everything, for he loves us and proves it in a thousand ways. » (JC)There are simply some echos of the experience shared. Numerous details – like heartbeats – remain motives of life, hope and fidelity in each of those who had the happiness of living this experience.Finally, a brief word, but in capitals: Br. Afonso Levis terminates his service as vice-superior and member of the animation team of the Spirituality Course. For more than four years he has enriched us with his person and the abundant gifts the Lord has given him and which he has generously put at the service of the brothers and the course. Our best wishes go with him as he returns to his Province.Br. Joaci Pinheiro da Silva, of the Province of « Brasil Centro-Norte », will succeed him from January next. We hope for him a fine and fruitful mission and offer him the warmest of welcomes. A good pilgrimage to the « new lands » to those who hear the invitation of the XXI General Chapter. It is a direct and personal appeal which goes to the heart and life of every brother today.

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