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On the pathways of the Escorial



« Senderos » (Pathways) Experience - San Lorenzo de l’Escorial

30/03/2011: Spain

This chronicler can confirm that in the local archives one can find the chronicles of all five weeks of our pilgrimage along the pathways of the Escorial. But as we know that the readers of the web site do not have the time to read so much information, we give a page and a half summary of our journey. You can find on champagnat.org the first chronicle (with a photo of the group), under the title: « Persons, works and days ». This is a sort of summary of the three essential elements of the Senderos experience: the people, the tasks to be achieved, and the time, which from secular ‘chronos’  must become sacred ‘kairos’.


Our goals

On the first page of our vademecum, we were given the proposal for an intinerary: Discover the footprints and traces of God in the depths of your being. Savour the aroma of Brotherhood and the joy of treasures hidden over time, treasures of being, of repose, of sharing, of listening to the  messages of the WORD.

So many precious goals to be achieved over this pilgrimage of five months. God will it so!


Five weeks

These are the topics developped in the course of the five weeks. With Br. Josep Maria Soteras, our  « liaison » with the General Council, we were plunged into clearing, (literally, making space), a method which allows you to recover positiveenergy and to engage in changes in your life by learning to get rid of the objects encumbering you. Provided with our « backpack », we were ready for embarking on this adventure.

 « Know yourself » andthe Enneagramme as a GDF for exploring the map of the territory was the topic which Br. Lluís Serra developed in a masterly way.

 Carmen Barba Pérez animated the third week. She spoke to us about « genre ». A sociological, cultural, philosophical and religious approach aiming to « connect » us with the Gospel of Jesus, model of liberating masculinity.

Maite Melendo spoke to us in the first part of the fourth week about communication. We spent two and a half days in workshopon a listening experience, a difficult learning for modern man so in love withmessages served via virtual media.

José María Fernández Martos, S.J., from his own experience, depth of doctrine and ability to communicate, made it easy for us to approach our identity and our sexuality lived at the heart of the expanding mystery of celibacy.

Br. José María Ferre (personal secretary of the Superior General) animated part of the fifth week. With great humanity and solid doctrine, he developed the theme: « Mary in the life of the Marist Brother ». Words and images in a happy synthesis helped us refine our Marial practice.

José María Pérez Sobatook two mornings to share with us some keys for readingand interpreting the document « Around the same table ».


The other faces of the course

But our course is not confined to the classroom. There are also times for personal reading, making use of a well equipped library.

We have special times for the daily Eucharist and community prayer in a light-filled and accommodating chapel. And there are other rooms for leisure and rest.

The work methodology is adapted to the requirements of the topic; small group sharing, general assembly, work guides… For daily « duties », teams attend to the various domestic needs: rooms, gardens, dining room, chapel, TV-bar, laundry.

Afternoons are devoted to personal integration and assimilation of the weekly themes. Saturdays are free and you can go as far as a day’s journey allows. Sundays are community days: Mass in a parish in the city or surroundings, including the neighbouring Marist communities.

The tracks of the hills nearby are a strong attraction for those smitten by heights, but most of us prefer walks.

Five weeks have passed already. The community balance sheet shows many successes, a serene and industrious climate, and the firm resolve of all to reach port safely.

The eleven participants come from the nine Provinces of Spain, France, and America. If this account has pleased you, kind reader, the chronicler does not ask you for a bite of bread or a glass of wine but for the promise of your prayers for the pilgrims of the ‘pathways’ of the Escorial. See you soon!

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