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Building vocational identity in communion



Workshop at the Cochabamba Novitiate

30/07/2013: Bolivia

On July 17 to 19, Brother Javier Espinosa, from the Secretariat of Laity, directed a workshop with the novices of Cono Sur in Cochabamba, after an invitation from brother Raul, the novice director.

The workshop was aimed at reflecting on the way to build vocational identity in communion, echoing what brother Charles Howard expressed more than 20 years ago: “Spiritual sharing with the laity will reveal new depths of our vocation as brothers”.

Mario and Salvador from Paraguay, Daniel from Argentina, Javier from Chile, and Oscar from Bolivia, shared in a fraternal and outgoing way their understanding of what it means to move – in the spirit of the XXI General Chapter – to a new relationship, to a practice of communion, to a new way of being brother. It became gradually clear during the dialogue that both identities, laity and brothers, are enriched by communion; that each vocation understands itself more clearly thanks to this participation; and that the new relationship between laity and brothers, leads to a new understanding of our respective vocations.

Envisioning the charism within this context of communion, the group outlined some qualities of the brother’s vocation to be emphasized, such as: a more God-centered and missionary life, therefore, a brother with a deeper inner work regarding spirituality; a brother acting as charismatic and spiritual memory, rather than insuring good management and administration; a brother who is at the level of ordinary people, dazzling because of his spiritual and human richness rather than showing the splendor and wealth of an institution; someone who fosters fundamental equality with the laity, without hierarchies; who is present in day-to-day life, in small details and simple things, whose cordial attitude prevails over a pragmatic business approach; and finally, a brother for whom being a spiritual partner or companion becomes a priority for his vocation.

The message from one of Brother Emili’s videos echoed throughout the meeting: “The fact of sharing the charism opens up a new possibility for Marist consecrated life: establishing a genuine dialogue of life and friendship between equals with those lay men and women who want to share the charism with us. This entails readiness to change our ways of living, praying, and acting”.

The workshop ended with the design of a mandala, through which each novice expressed and summarized his vocational identity as a brother, in communion with the lay Marist identity.

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