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The Archives of the Marist Province of Italy

13/10/2012: Italy

Brothers Juan Ramón Sendra and José María Rius spent July and part of August going through the archives of the Marist Province of Italy at San Leone Magno in Rome.

The archives are stored in three rooms on the third floor of the “The Administration.” Two of the rooms are entirely devoted to a collection of documents and the third, where the Provincial Council used to meet, contains those from more recent times. In addition to the economic archives pertaining to the offices of the former Provincial Administration of Italy there are also property deeds, contracts, school projects, etc.

Two Brothers taking six weeks to examine such a spacious archive like this one belonging to the former Marist Province of Italy was hardly enough time to look at and scan even a small portion of the documents that need to be catalogued and studied.

The documents that these Brothers have tried to go through and digitalize concern:

* Real Estate: (property deeds, contracts, registry data, etc.)
* Provincial Council Minutes: We have on handthosefrom May 22, 1935 (the autonomous District of Italy was established on November 3, 1934 and this became an autonomous Province on November 3, 1946) to July 10, 2003, when Italy joined with Bética and Levante to form the “Mediterránea” Province on August 5, 2003.
* Circular Letters of the Provincial Superiors: The first Circular is dated November 4, 1934 and sheds light on the creation of the District. The Brothers were able to locate a substantial number of the Circulars (427) leading up to January 22, 1989. After that the Circulars appear in “In Famiglia” and the most recent ones are now available on computer.
* Provincial Chapter Minutes and Documents: The Province of Italyheld an “Ad experimentum”Chapter in Velletri, the first session taking place on January 6 and 7, 1968. A year later (on January 7, 1969) Br Umberto, the Provincial sent out a letter from Carmagnola announcing a convocation to elect representatives for first Provincial Chapter. The first session was held in Velletri on June 27, 28 and 29, 1969. After that Provincial Chapters in the country took place every three years until 2000, when Chapter XI was held in Lavarone from July 26th to the 31st.

In the process of being digitalized:

* “In Famiglia,” an in-house magazine for the Marist communities in Italy
* “Mistica Rosa,” a magazine for Marist students and alumni

Going forward, an action plan will call for efforts to find archival material in the different Houses and Communities, documents that due to their advanced age need to be preserved in Rome. There is also a need to put together a data base classifying and summarizing the documents. It will be necessary to transcribe time-worn and difficult-to-decipher minutes and circulars that will be illegible a few years from now. To accomplish all this we would appreciate having Brothers and volunteers, preferably people fluent in Italian, letting us know if they are available to help us with these tasks.

We have been able to bring to light a glorious history of the Marist Province of Italy, a dynamic and powerful story, one that we marvel at and must preserve with all due diligence.

_________________
Br. José María Rius and Br. Juan Ramón Sendra
Marista Mediterránea Newsletter 166

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