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28 November

Saint James of the Marches

Marist Calendar - November

Manziana, 17-31 March 2012



Course for community animators

14/04/2012: Italy

After our return from Notre-Dame de l’Hermitage, we were able to share in community all that had touched us in the contact with Father Champagnat and our first Brothers through the places where they lived. This pilgrimage to the Marist sources was a significant step on our journey and our search for renewal for our communities.

We then entered on the final phase of our formation process.  The two weeks were lived with intensity. The first, starting on 19 March, was devoted to drawing up the personal synthesis of our experiences during these six weeks: a better understanding of the role of the community animator, the convictions which animate us, the values we wish to develop, and the concrete steps we can take, whether at the personal, community or provincial level. We were thus able to take advantage of each one’s reflection and observe that, despite the different contexts, certain elements were shared by all.

The following Saturday was our last opportunity for a community outing.  We chose to visit Subiaco, not far from Rome, a high place of spirituality, stamped by the life of Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica at the very beginning of “Benedictine” monastic life. The guided visit with a monk made us understand a little better Saint Benedict’s intuitions and reminded us of the necessity to develop an interior life and become contemplatives in action. The Eucharist celebrated in the monastery was impregnated with the presence of God in our lives. A copious meal, typically Italian, began the afternoon before our return to   Manziana.

On Sunday, 25 March, many of us went to the General House in Rome. It was the opportunity to meet with the brothers of our Provinces and many others taking part in the session of formation on the   protection of children and young people.

Finally, the last week was devoted to a time of retreat, evaluation, and fraternal celebration before returning to our various Provinces. The feast of the Annunciation marked the beginning of the three day retreat animated by Fr Craig Larkin SM. An experienced guide, he helped us to bring together all we had  lived in an atmosphere of prayer and entrust it to the Lord and to Mary. Each day, Father Craig took up and introduced one of the icons Brother Emili invites us to contemplate in his Circular « He gave us the name of Mary »: Mary at the Annunciation, at the Visitation and in the midst of the Apostles at Pentecost. These days of spring and the prevailing climate of silence really helped us to become deeply impregnated with them.

We also took time to evaluate the different elements of this session of formation, as much for ourselves as for the Secretariat « Brothers today » and the formation team. Once again, we were able to appreciate the chance we had been offered to participate in this process, which must continue when we return home. And we want to express all our gratitude to those who organized and accompanied this course.

We could not leave without also taking time to celebrate the brotherhood lived with the « marvelous companions » we had travelled with during these two months. United « around the same table », first that of the Eucharist of celebration and farewell, we were able to envisage our mission in counting on the presence of the risen Christ, of Mary and Champagnat as well as that of our Brothers. And it was, quite naturally, « around the same table », this time of the meal shared, that we said our au-revoir, strong in our brotherhood and faith, to go and serve at the table of our Provinces and our Institute.

Brother Robert Thunus
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