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11 April

Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr

Marist Calendar - April

Fostering the anthropological dimension



Itinerary of formation towards perpetual profession

14/05/2013: Bolivia

We young Latin American Brothers have just come to an end of the second stage of our formation Itinerary towards perpetual profession, in Cochabamba, Bolivia (5 March - 29 June 2013). We are now halfway there. The experiences have been different and very enriching in their content, depth and adaptation to our personal processes.

This second module of our programme aimed at promoting the anthropological dimension. Thus we had the benefit of workshops in human growth, animated by Br Juan Ignacio Fuentes, of the Province of « Cruz del Sur », and a course on affectivity and sexuality, directed by Br Odair Larentis, of the Province of « Rio Grande do Sul ». We finished this stage with the first week of the Ignatian Exercices and a community outing to the department of La Paz.

With regard to the workshop on human growth, we were invited to study our processes of growth through a pedagogy entitled « telling and completing one’s life ». From a contemplative and holistic perspective, we attempted to name what needed to be « worked on » in ourselves, on the level of personal growth, during the itinerary, in order to draw most profit from the spaces offered to us during these months.

The following week, we had a workshop on affectivity and sexuality. The accent was on the vision of sexuality as an integrating element in our lives. We were able to reflect on the three modalities of love : eros, filia and agapé. Through these three forms of love, we could grasp how we participate in the divine essence inasmuch as we communicate to others what we are. Three forms of love which do not go separately.

After the enlightenment and spaces for reflection promoted by these workshops, we had the possibility of living a retreat experience according to the Ignatian Exercices. Accompanied by Jesuit Fr Santiago, we lived these days of interior and exterior silence.

After the days of retreat we took a day off for walking and sharing on the mountain in small communities. It was the opportunity for resting and savouring nature, but also for having some « adventure », such as the little accident suffered by one of the Brothers…

Another of the beautiful community experiences lived during these days was the visit to the department of La Paz. We visited sites significant for Bolivian culture, such as Lake Titicaca, the island of the Sun and Copacabana. Then we visted the archaeological site of Tiahuanaco, situated on the Bolivian high plateau 15 km southeast of Lake Titicaca. This place was the cradle of a pre-Incan civilisation, one of the longest-lasting cultures on the American continent. Thus we had the opportunity to approach closer to the origins of Bolivian culture, its traditions, beliefs and ways of looking at life. We could also appreciate the cordillera of the Andes, especially the peak of Chacaltaya, more than 5,500 meters above sea level.

The visit of La Paz was a sightseeing tour and a rest, but above all an experience of contact with the reality of Bolivia, its nature, its culture, its symbols, its origins and its vision of the world inherited from the ancestors ; an occasion to discover the bond of these cultures with the All and with all beings.

By way of closure of this second stage, we took a day of personal and community evaluation of the experiences of this period. It was an important space for giving thanks for what we had lived, for regathering strength and for continuing our Itinerary of Marist Formation.

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