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In France the Marist Brothers assure the trusteeship of ten establishments

01/07/2011: France

The Brother’s trusteeship takes in charge houses which no longer have Brother Directors or Brothers teaching. Its purpose is to maintain the climate which gave value to these institutions, a particular spirit inherited from Marcellin Champagnat, the founder of the Brothers, and his first disciples.

The establishments under trusteeship are often schools founded by religious congregations. These  institutions perpetuate a long tradition. It should not be forgotten that teaching in France was for a long time assured by the Church, and that almost exclusively before the State took control.

At the beginning of the XX century, the religious congregations heavily involved in this service were excluded from official teaching. Numerous religious men and women after 1903 chose to become expatriates and carry on their mission abroad. After the second world war, tensions evaporated. In 1959, a sort of law of tolerance permitted the Catholic schools to be associated with the « public service of instruction ». Most accepted going over to contracts with the State and thus contributing to the public service of teaching.

Religious teaching personnel were at that time very numerous. Then came the recruitment crisis and lay people progressively replaced the Brothers. In contact with the religious, many became impregnated with their spirit, and maintained as best they could the spirit which had been the strength of the catholic establishments. The law of 1959, in addition, recognised and accepted that the schools under contract should preserve what was called their « proper character ».

It is the trusteeship which has the responsibility of promoting the formation of the personnel to preserve the Marist spirit in these schools where those who have known the Brothers are becoming less and less numerous. The service of formation is an important means for maintaining the Marist spirit. It is the charge of Brother Henri Vignau, surrounded by a team of formators coming from various areas. Among them are persons who have come from the establishments themselves. Some, after a long time in Marist schools, try to transmit what they have received from the Brothers.

Some time ago, the establishments under trusteeship in the northern sector of France met at Lagny (Seine-et-Marne) at « Saint-Laurent-La-Paix ». Thanks to these regularly organized meetings, an awareness has developed of belonging to a single network. Times of conviviality and celebrations help people to get to know each other.

The directors and their pastoral assistants of the southern sector in their turn met at Bourg-de-Péage to study together how best to take up the pastoral mission entrusted to them.

It is the trusteeship which appoints the heads of the establishments who have the weighty responsibility of seeing that an evangelical climate reigns in the houses they direct. They are assisted in this role by the « pastoral assistants ». They should be able to equally count on the  « local Marist teams », the laity of their establishments impregnated with the Marist spirit and who try to radiate the convictions which animate them.


Br Bernard Méha, after an interview with M. Christophe Schietse,
delegate to the trusteeship for the Marist establishments of France.

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