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Provincial Chapter 2011

09/06/2011: Canada

The Marist Province of Canada held its Provincial Chapter at the House of the Madonna on23, 24 and 25 May 2011. Br Bernard Beaudin has had his term as Provincial renewed for three years.On the same occasion, the Chapter elected the new provincial council, which is composed of Brothers Réal C.-Jacques B.-Gérard B.-Yvon B.-Bernard B.-Réal S.-Marius F.

By means of a message sent by the capitulants to brothers and laity, the Chapter, through the mouth of Br Bernard, invited all « to let themselves be invaded by the Chapter spirit, which promises for the whole Province of Canada a time of hope and confidence in the future of new lands glimpsed, and even attained. »

In his opening message, Br Bernard addressed us in words resolutely pointed to the future. Invited by our confrères to reflect on our Marist future, the delegates of the Provincial Chapter of 2011 have attempted to respond to the wishes of the XXI General Chapter, which invites us to imitate Mary and set out in haste for a new land.

But how to interpret this haste in our current conditions? Yes, the Province is aging. Yes, we are limited in what we do and what we can do, and for some, it is almost impossible. But this very realistic statement does not prevent us from believing that our « being » and “our ability to be » can grow at any age. « An old apple tree does not give old apples », said one confrère during the meetings preceding the chapter.

So it is certainly in the present that we have to define ourselves. Yesterday, the brother’s way of life corresponded to the historic present defined by the socio-religious and cultural context of the period. Today there is a new way of being brother. Am I so? Are we? In the thinking of the chapter, the new way of being brother is inclusive. It is defining itself at the same time as the lay Marist vocation.

A chapter is a time of questioning. In accepting the slogan « A decisive step towards a new land », we wanted to signify clearly that we are committing ourselves personally to make advances on serious questions, which are very different from vague dreams and which impose no obligations on anyone. Around the round tables, the word of each person was important for responding to the questionings raised by a new land to be explored and cultivated in the coming years. Br Joe Mc Kee reminded us of the importance of the method of fraternal dialogue in the meetings, which supposes listening and allows little miracles for the vitality of the Province and of the Institute.

Beyond the discussions, the most difficult thing remains to come. To enter the door of the future, the door of the unknown, finally so as to enter the new land, it is necessary to abandon something which is familiar to us and to combat a routine destructive for community life and the mission. In his Easter message, Br. Superior General said: « In fact, for the birth of a new era for the Marist charism to be possible, it is necessary to accept that something dies and to commit ourselves to a journey of personal and institutional conversion in the coming years. »

More than ever, we must « convert » our ways of living and thinking. Mary and Marcellin are inviting us to do so. We have confidence.

In his letter making official the nomination of Br Bernard Beaudin, Br. Émili Turú invites us to follow a very practical approach, made up of attention to others, of daring openness, of sensible resourcefulness, of encouragement… He asks those responsible for the animation of the Province « to have the capacity for vision and for taking difficult and bold decisions for a better future… in pursuing the way with hope, holding on to the hand of Mary, the one whom the Angel of the Annunciation reassured: for God, nothing is impossible. » We want to signal to Br Bernard our entire collaboration.

Finally, we do not forget that we form, religious and lay Marists, the living stones of an evangelical and prophetic community having Christ as corner stone. The variety of charisms and their combination constitute all its beauty and richness.

It is in union with the XXI General Chapter and resolutely turned towards a vision of the future that we wish to take a « decisive step towards a new land » in adopting the following resolutions around three themes:

  1. A new consecrated life, rooted firmly in the Gospel, which promotes a new way of being brother.
  2. A closer relationship between brothers and laity based on communion for a greater vitality of the charism adapted to Canada.
    Signs of a new life in train of being born.
  3. A strongly significant presence among poor children and young people.
    To see the world through the eyes of poor children.


_________________
Mr. Réginald Sauvageau
Chapter Secretary

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