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4 December

Saint John Damascene and John Calabria
1889, opening of the first Marist school in Colombia

Marist Calendar - December

The vocation of a teacher

 

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Sharing our Call Workshop

12/06/2005: South Africa

Since December 1997, the Marist Brothers in South Africa have periodically organised workshops for the lay Marist educators working in the five schools owned by the Institute. The fifth such workshop took place at the Good Shepherd Retreat Centre, near Johannesburg, for three days in April. The event, animated by Robyn Picas of Sacred Heart College and Brother Mario Colussi, was attended by close on sixty people.
Among the highlights were sessions led by Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg (the impact of globalisation on South Africa, and the response of Catholic schools) and by Brother Michael Burke CFC. Mike, who did some of his initial teacher formation together with Marist Brothers, delivered an address entitled ‘The Singer and the Song’ on the vocation of a teacher.
Other significant sessions included the following:
* A fantasy meditation leading into personal time for the participants – time to reflect on their lives and to produce a representation of their own ‘River of My Life’. People were free to share their diagram with one another. A married couple did their river together and mutually shared a number of surprises for their spouse!
* A personal story of vocation by Mario
* An input on pastoral care by Robyn – who has written a book on the experience of Sacred Heart in this field
* An audio-visual presentation on an icon of Mary based on Archbishop Rowan Williams’s ‘Ponder these Things’
* Input, discussion and activity on the five aspects of Marist education outlined in our Marist publication ‘In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat’. The section on love of work required groups to build a model of The Hermitage. Some of their fine efforts are captured on film!
* A final ceremony where participants commissioned one another to carry on ministry of education.
One participant remarked that he had been teaching for many years, but that during the workshop he understood more deeply than ever before the significance of his work in the classroom. In the words of Chaucer: What needeth words more?

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