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Marists of Champville and de Jbail

29/12/2012: Lebanon

On 16 December, a group of brothers, teachers, Fraternity members and Animators of the Champagnat scout groups of Champville and de Jbail « returned to Rmeileh » to rearrange some rooms so that in the next few months the « Notre Dame de Fatima » school can be used as a meeting centre for youth and apostolic groups, but also for meetings with teachers and students.

We arrived on place quite early on a fine sunny day, and after a brief prayer, in which Br André recalled for us some events in the history of the Marist Brothers in Rmeileh, we formed groups to clean up the area of the former chapel, part of the garden and several rooms on the second floor of the Brothers’ former house.

As for the history of Rmeileh (which can be written in various ways: Rmeyleh, Rmeylé…), the Marist Brothers commenced their work in Saïda, at the Collège Saint Louis, and in 1961 they moved to Rmeileh, which is several kilometres before Saïda coming from Beyrouth. It is a big school which had a boarding hostel up to 1983, and which took in  2,000 students, 50% Moslem and 50% Christian. The establishment functioned up to 18 March 1985 ; then the students were dispersed because of the civil war in Lebanon.

Several times there has been question of reopening Rmeileh. We have received letters and visits from important persons of the region and former students (Christian and Moslems), asking for the return of the Marist Brothers. So it is inspired by these requests that come from outside and considering the insistence of the Church of the Middle East which is asking for the presence of religious educators, that the Lebanon-Syria Animation Team has taken the initiative of beginning arrangements to use these places as a centre for meetings, gatherings, camps and formation.

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Brother Carlos Mario McEwen O.

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