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Retreat for Brothers-Laity, Les Avellanes 18-22 July

11/09/2012: Spain

A provincial retreat for lay persons and brothers was held at the monastery of Saint Mary of Bellpuig des Avellanes from the evening of July 18 to the morning of the 22nd. 65 persons from Greece, France and Catalonia, brothers, laity and children responded to the invitation made by the Brother  Provincial in January « wishing to encourage you personally to take part, so that it may be an opportunity for you as lay person or brother to deepen your vocation, let yourself be touched by the God of Jesus Christ and enrich yourself by sharing life. GOD IS CALLING US TO LIVE. » Oral and written testimonies show that these objectives were obtained. Here are some of them :

« A time lived very strongly in a framework filled with stories of Marist life. We came to drink at the  source. This encounter of Brothers/Laity of différent horizons and languages was a richness. Go tell all men,the Kingdom is among us ».

« What I lived these days at Avellanes was the communion of laity and brothers. We gave life to the proposals of the Chapter, not from the document but by the little everyday gestures, the communion of a look, of a smile. The sentiment of union born from praying together, singing together, sharing the table… When I return home, to reality, I will still feel the force given me by the fact of knowing that in the different places of the Province of l’Hermitage there are persons who, like me, have made the choice of following Jesus in the Marist way, who want to live their lives in the style of Champagnat and that this is done from different life choices but in a same spirit ».

« This was for me a time of encounter with God, and with others. A time of listening, accepting and availability, a time of prayer and communion. It was a time that allowed brothers and lay persons to walk a stretch of road together in following Mary and Marcellin ».

« This joint retreat allowed us to share moments of silence, prayer, conviviality. We practised brothers and laity “symbiosis” (living together), which is not always easy but always proves enriching ».

« I feel that God Father and Mother of all is accompanying me and making me a gift each day of  moments full of eternity, magical, always so as to be able to share with others. I am leaving with renewed energy and it would be easy to repeat the experience ».

The richness and depth of the testimonies is impressive as well as the feeling of gratitude. Anna Sarrate, a Marist lay woman of the Province of Ibérica and co-directer of the Secretariat of the Laity, treated the central topic and Father Gil Parés, Capuchin, lived these days with us in giving us to share as well the eucharistic bread and wine. Thanks to both. Thanks equally to the children and adolescents. This retreat was proposed by the Secretariat of Communion between brothers and laity. The Secretariat thanks all those who took part in the retreat and made possible this meeting with God and of communion between brothers and sisters.

Brother Maurice, who accompanied us on the last day, also said in the letter of invitation : « May the participation in this retreat be for you an opportunity for sharing and living with boldness the Marist charism, under the action of the Spirit, in living in the manner of Mary. May she accompany you and bless you ! »

That is how it was and we thank God for it.

Brother Miquel Cubeles.

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