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English Speaking Midlife Renewal Program

07/03/2013: Italy

We are ten Brothers of the English Speaking Midlife Renewal Program who are at present being enriched by this lifegiving “Rekindling the Fire” formation journey. We are Brothers Arthur Ganiza (Malawi, Southern Africa); Patrick Bwalya (Zambia, Southern Africa); Sylvain Yao (Ivory Coast – West Africa); Elie Twagirayezu (Rwanda, Central East Africa); Dellys Randriamamonjy (Madagascar, Madagscar); Ranjith Perera (Sri Lanka, South Asia); Augustine Lee (South Korea, East Asia); Gilber Barillas (Guatemala - AMAG [Thailand[); Michael Callinan (Australia, Australia); John Hazelman(Samoa, New Zealand). We have a Chaplain, Fr. Neil Darragh, a Diocesan priest from Auckland, New Zealand. Our Formation Team consists of Brothers Anthony Hunt (Australia, Australia); Barry Burns (New Zealand, New Zealand) and Antoine Kazindu (Rwanda, Central East Africa).

Our experience of Community Living started last January 27, 2013 in which we experienced a brotherly warm welcome from our Formation Team. This sense of welcome was expressed through prayerful liturgies plus other rituals. The following four days were part of our Orientation program in which we focused on building community, getting to know each another as well as our surroundings. It culminated with an “educational” community outing to some historical places close by. Firstly, we had a formal and practical lesson on the Etruscan people (whose civilization was prior to the Romans). We learnt of the Tolfa hills and its medieval appearance and especially of its famous Etruscan tombs. Secondly, we had a wonderful chance to visit the picturesque Bracciano Lake and in particular the medieval town of Anguillara Sabazia.

Our experience of Community was further enriched with the arrival of ten women on Sunday the 3rd of February. Katrina Anderson, a medical doctor from Canberra, Australia and nine Sisters of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary (smsm) arrived in Manziana for a week encounter on Wholistic Living. Dr Katrina, a woman full of enthusiasm, energy and creativity led us into a journey of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. She introduced Yoga and mandala drawings which have since continue to be a practiced by some Brothers. Our week together culminated with a meaningful liturgy and social in which the different skills and talents of the sisters and brothers were shared in a spirit of companionship and joy. We realized that sharing our experiences with women who are also walking the mid life journey is not only rewarding but also enrich our relationship with Christ as Marists.

Earlier this week, Mrs. Alison Moore from Northern England, introduced us to what one Brother refers to as a ‘new word in his vocabulary’ … a word call transition… in particular mid life transitions. We learnt how to notice and name our thoughts and feelings that we are experiencing as mid life male religious. We explore some of the midlife tasks that are expected of us and learning to recognize, develop, reconcile and integrate our inner polarities… especially young – old; creative – destructive; separate – attached; masculine – feminine polarities.

Lately, we are going through the process of getting a soggiorno, a residential card that would allow us to live in Italy and especially to be able to move freely in and out of the country. The process involves a visit to the local post office within 8 days of arrival and then later a trip to Rome (just outside the Vatican) for the final process of paper work and finger printing. Bro Anthony Hunt with his expertise in the Italian language and Italian immigration processes has been a great value to us.

Our former Superior General, Bro Sean Sammon is arriving today from the US. He will be our mentor for the next two weeks on the important topic of Identity and Consecrated Life. We are all anticipating another wonderful and enriching experience with Sean. Overall we continue to be enriched by creative and prayerful liturgies as well as the rich variety of inputs that will continue to nourish and help us live in this multicultural and dynamic community. Lastly, we offer an open invitation to any Marist who is in Rome or who will be visiting Rome to come and share with us in prayer and meal. Our program concludes on June 13, 2013. 

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