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Youth living the spirit of the Hermitage !!!



Group of young Americans in Notre Dame de l’ Hermitage

05/09/2011: France

For one week, a group of young Americans, almost all in their twenties, have come to Notre Dame de l’ Hermitage to live an original experience. Accompanied by Brothers Dan, Owen and Dominique, they form a very likeable and dynamic team. Certainly they have discovered and visited the Marist places stamped with the spirit of Marcellin and his first Brothers, but more than that, they have wanted to live a Champagnat experience by organizing their stay as a camp –work site. Without waiting, from the morning of their arrival, they could be seen all together beautifying the cemetery, which was much in need of it. Another day, a team attacked the reopening of a path invaded by brambles and scrub. The spirit of Marcellin is passed on through work shared for the common cause. One evening, when they celebrated the Eucharist in the woods around a great stone altar, I could not stop thinking of Marcellin celebrating in the wooden chapel during the construction of the HERMITAGE, surrounded by his little brothers.

Brother Seán explained to us what « Reclaiming the Spirit of the Hermitage » meant: « Nothing more and nothing less than entering into contact with  Marcellin and his contemporaries, appropriating for ourselves their faith, their mission, their courage and their  audacity in action. »

May this rich experience of brotherhood and shared work help them build their  future life.


Roselle Catholic High at Hermitage.
Tim Hagan, 27
Our trip to Notre Dame de l’Hermitage has been a very special one. It is inspiring to see how Father Champagnat was able to accomplish fro, such a modest start. It is both humbling and empowering. One of the most rewarding aspects of our pilgrimage has been the opportunity to help around the property with work projects. We, Roselle Catholic students, graduates, and faculty, have weeded the Brothers cemetery, cleared garden patches, and repaired a trail that Father Champagnat himself used. Although some blood, no small amount of sweat, and maybe a few tears were left behind, we have been blessed to be able to work in a place that founded and built by people who loved to work, in spite of the seeming impossibility of the task. It brought the point home that best way to follow in Father Champagnat’s dream of making Jesus known and loved, wherever you are in the world, it is to start working.


Mike Kennedy, 24
My stay at the Notre Dame de l’Hermitage has a profound effect on my faith and deepened my spirituality. Walking in the places that Marcelin Champagnat walked and seeing what he accomplished has helped me to understand the Marist tradition better. This experience has strengthened my relationship with God and inspirited me to make a difference in the lives of young people.


Kristen Paulsen, 18
My Marist faith throughout my four years of high school was a faith that consisted of ideas, stories, and acts of kindness. Up until this week, Marcelin Champagnat was just someone who I knew stories about and whose picture stared me in the face every time I walked through my high school’s front doors. My hunger for more of the Marist faith was satisfied during my stay at Notre Dame de l’Hermitage. I discovered Marcelin Champagnat. All the stories I had heard about him finally became real. Marcelin Champagnat, as well as his memorable work, became tangible for me. Walking in his footsteps and following the paths he once followed finally completed the missing piece I was looking for all along.

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