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17 April

Saint Simeon, Bishop, and companions, Martyrs

Marist Calendar - April

Marists on the road!



4th Provincial Chapter of the Hermitage

13/08/2013: Spain - Photo gallery

The Monastery of Les Avellanes (Lleida) gathered 52 chapter members and six lay Marists (three women and three men) who came from France, Greece, Hungary, Algeria, Switzerland and Catalonia, a mixture of languages ​​and cultures generating a dynamic version of Saint Marcellin Champagnat’s charism: communities of consecrated religious enriched by the participation of the laity, and dedicated to the apostolic mission with children and young people. Brother Antonio Ramalho, General Councilor and delegate of the Superior General, also participated in the meeting. Father Emmanuel de Marsac celebrated the daily Mass.

Brother Maurice Berquet, who begins his second mandate as Provincial of the Hermitage, made the opening speech. He concluded by saying: “I hope our Chapter will be an opportunity to highlight what is being born in our Province, and to thank the Lord, no doubt, but also to focus our energies for the three coming years”.

In the previous months, there were a number of meetings to study, analyze, and dialogue about provincial matters, with a large participation of lay people, brothers and communities. All this work was summarized in several documents, namely: a) The Superior General’s letter regarding the appointment of Brother Maurice Berquet as Provincial for a second term, in which he mentioned the challenges and hopes expressed by the brothers. b) The echoes of the councilors’ visit to the Province of the Hermitage (November 2012 and March 2013). c) The Provincial Council’s report regarding the 2010-2013 period. d) The final document from the Marist Life in Communion Forum. e) And finally, the contributions of the communities outlining the convictions and guidelines for the future of the Province.

The assembly, working in table groups, looked for signs of hope, and challenges leading to the future, and then worked by interest groups around four main priority areas, in order to define some objectives for the next three years, and make concrete recommendations for each objective.

Guidelines for the next three-year term

Although the final wording is yet to be defined by the new Provincial Council, we could summarize the general idea of ​​the four priority areas as follows. Each of these points was almost unanimously approved.

1.  Brothers and community life. This area focuses on the brothers’ personal lives and on the community experience. We discussed the following aspects: personal life project (relationship with God, relationship with others, ongoing formation, use of time, revision of the day). Two other points: support and facilitation in the homes for older brothers, and criteria to integrate the communities.

2.  Vocations ministry in association with youth ministry. This guideline was clearly stressed by the group: “We should invite all the brothers to promote vocations at all levels. To achieve this, we believe it is essential to involve the laity”. This objective includes many important aspects regarding youth ministry and formation, and implies offering concrete experiences and vocational accompaniment. Documents such as Making Jesus Known and Loved, and He Walked Along with Them, among others, are a reference point here.

3. Communion of brothers and laity. The 2013 Life in Communion Forum strongly encouraged us to develop this ongoing process in the Province. There are two concrete objectives regarding this area: “To deepen the vocational and mutual-recognition process of brothers and laity”, and “to promote and develop communion experiences between lay people and brothers in the Province”, guidelines which imply concrete experiences, formation, and group work. Brothers and lay people obviously have a privileged field of common growth in this area.

4.  Mission. This aspect is not separate from the whole, nor are the other priority areas. Everything is integrated. Developing our mission implies concrete objectives encompassing a variety of aspects: formation, opening up to new forms of poverty, a provincial policy to promote the rights of children, the viability of our works (educational and social), and their mutual collaboration.

Saturday began with a community outing. All the participants walked to the Mother of God of Puig shrine on a small mountain near the monastery, entrusting the future of the Province to Mary: Marists on the road!

The assembly then proceeded to elect the councilors in accordance with the Chapter rules. In alphabetical order, the new councilors are André Déculty, Pere Ferré, Xavier Giné, J. Manuel Martín, Michel Morel, Jaume Parés, Jean Ronzon, and Gabriel Villa-Real.


After an evening of celebration on Saturday, we had the last work session on Sunday morning. The Letter from the capitulants and lay Marists was approved. The participants completed an evaluation form, and then listened to the last two interventions.

Brother Antonio Ramalho, General Councilor, congratulated the Chapter on the work accomplished. He stated that the Province of the Hermitage is the mother of all the Provinces in the Institute. Antonio acknowledged the rich contributions of the communities, the Forum, the laity, and the Provincial Council through its report. He invited the group to live a non-conformist and realistic attitude, and to pay attention to the minorities within the Province.

Brother Maurice Berquet made the closing speech. He began with a word of thanks to a number of people. He mentioned the questions he had in mind at the beginning of the Chapter, which marks the 10th anniversary of the restructured Province. One by one, he briefly revisited the four priority areas approved by the Chapter, stating that they are very promising for the coming years. He emphasized the sense of belonging to the Province which characterized this meeting.

The closing Eucharist gathered the group around Jesus and ended, as always, with the missioning ceremony: “Wasn’t our heart burning inside us while he spoke to us in the road?” (Lk 24:32).

Final Message

Chers frères et laïcs maristes,

À Les Avellanes, maison de Marie, lieu du témoignage de beaucoup de nos Frères martyrs, en ce 10ème anniversaire de notre Province L’Hermitage, nous venons de participer au 4ème Chapitre provincial, et nous sommes heureux de vous envoyer ce message.

Les cinquante-deux Frères capitulants ; avec six Laïcs ; le F. Antonio Ramalho, Conseiller général ; le Père Emmanuel de Marsac, notre aumônier ; et cinq confrères qui nous ont aidés pour la traduction et le secrétariat, nous avons vécu une expérience de vie fraternelle intense tout au long de ces jours pour réfléchir à l’avenir de notre Province.

Nous tenons à vous remercier pour les lettres et les apports que vous avez envoyés – en particulier ceux des Frères et des communautés – et nous avons apprécié et pris en compte les conclusions du Forum « Vie Mariste en Communion » qui s’est tenu à Notre-Dame de l’Hermitage. Nous remercions également le F. Emili Turú, Supérieur général, pour sa lettre du mois d’avril dernier et les frères Antonio Ramalho et Ernesto Sánchez pour leur rapport de visite de la Province. Ils nous ont aidés à faire une bonne analyse de notre situation et à préciser les défis pour l’avenir.

Durant les cinq jours et dans une ambiance de prière, de réflexion et de convivialité, nous avons élaboré et approuvé quatre orientations pour le prochain triennat :

* Une orientation pour les Frères et les communautés, avec des suggestions pour une vie personnelle renouvelée.

* Une pour la pastorale des vocations qui, insérée dans la pastorale des jeunes, implique frères, communautés et laïcs.

* Une sur la vie de communion frères-laïcs pour continuer le chemin et créer des espaces nouveaux de vie mariste.

* Une pour la mission d’évangélisation dans nos oeuvres éducatives et la solidarité avec les enfants et les jeunes plus pauvres.

Pour nous, ces orientations sont des appels du Seigneur pour vivre une nouvelle dynamique dans notre Province.

Qu’en Église, avec le pape François, et au service du monde, nous soyons de plus en plus témoins dans nos lieux de vie et parmi les jeunes.

Nous avons élu huit Conseillers provinciaux qui partageront le travail du F. Maurice Berquet, provincial. Ce sont les frères André Déculty, Pere Ferré, Xavier Giné, Manel Martín, Michel Morel, Jaume Parés, Jean Ronzon et Gabriel Villa-Real.

Une information plus détaillée de ce Chapitre et des orientations décidées vous seront envoyées prochainement. Vous pouvez trouver le déroulement et les conclusions sur le site web www.maristes.com.

La présence de Marie a été vécue comme une invitation à nous sentir envoyés par le Seigneur pour rayonner le visage marial de l’Église dans notre vie.

Maristes en chemin, nous rendons grâce au Seigneur pour ce Chapitre et nous nous sentons proches de vous en ces moments de démarrage d’un nouveau triennat qui nous prépare au bicentenaire de l’Institut.

Que le Seigneur nous aide à poursuivre la construction de « la maison commune » comme l’a demandé Champagnat.

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