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A network of communities in Europe

10/09/2012: Spain - Photo gallery

A meeting of Marist communities of Europe was held in our house of l’Escorial, Spain, from 9 to 13 August. It had been called by the Spanish Marist Conference (CEM), as fruit of the reflection of the Enlarged General Council at ND de l’Hermitage in March 2011 on the future of the Marist presence in the continent. Each Province could send representatives from one or two communities. There were participants from 5 Provinces : for Central West Europe : Arlon, Belgium, and Dessau, Germany ; for Compostela : Ponferrada, Spain ; for Ibérica : Fuenlabrada, Spain, and Bucarest, Romania  ; for Mediterranea: Torrente, Spain ; for l’Hermitage : Karzac, Hungary, and the new community in Athena, Greece, which will open soon.

The organizing team for the meeting was composed of the members of the European Commission  « Brothers today » : António Leal (Portugal), Carlos Martín (Spain), Maurice Taildeman (Belgium), Juan Miguel Anaya (Spain) and Jean-Pierre Destombes (France), absent for health reasons. Brs Brendan Geary, Provincial of Central West Europe and current co-ordinator of the CEM, and Antonio Ramalho, General Councillor, were also present. The Provincials of Ibérica, Br Ambrosio Alonso, the Hermitage, Br Maurice Berquet, and Compostela, Br Óscar Martín, remained at least one day with the group.

The proposal for the meeting was to share experiences and reflect on the calls of the  XXI General Chapter in the sense of « going in haste to a new land » and « exploring new ways of being brother ». The profile of the communities present were quite different with regard to their mission and composition, some being international. The sharing proved to be very rich and stimulating, the accent being placed on fidelity to the Marist charism and its updating. At the conclusion of the meeting, the group submitted to the CEM a series of propositions and concrete suggestions, with a view to analysing the possibility of creating a network, with the communities present or with others. It will fall to the CEM also to work out how to offer accompaniment to these « new » communities, by reinforcing their existence in order to promote a future of vitality for the whole of the communities in the Marist Provinces of Europe.

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