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Capturing our imagination



Secretariat of Collaboration for Mission, International

09/01/2014: General House

On the day of the death of Nelson Mandela, the five Marist schools in South Africa published a tribute to a man they revered. He had figuratively walked alongside the sons and daughters of Champagnat during the time of apartheid as Marists in South Africa challenged the separation of students in schools by integrating Marist schools for children of all backgrounds. The courageous action of our confreres at that time was in direct contravention of the laws existing in South Africa at that time. The Marist engagement in the educational struggles in South Africa captured our imagination just as the spirit Nelson Mandela continues to capture our imagination. 

We seek always to have our imagination ‘captured’. To be inspired! It is a work of the Spirit through the charism which we inherit as Marists. A visit to the newly refurbished house at La Valla will do this for us. It is accessible and welcoming; very Marist! We enter community, the place of the table around which the first little brothers gathered at street level. We are then drawn in two directions. Possibly to Marcellin’s personal space, a simple basement room; a place of interiority. Or upwards to a vast room overlooking the valley of the Rive de Gier which flow the sea on the way to Oceania and all the world; the place of mission. The building captures our imagination afresh. An iconic Marist lighthouse for the world! 

At the recent General Conference at L’Hermitage the Marist imagination was captured, yet again, by the idea of internationality. This is not new. We remember the word of Marcellin, “….tout le monde…” But there is a re-imagination taking place in Marist life; one that is built on the foundations of the good work that we continue to do.

All Marists are inspired by the ministry of the Blue Marists in Aleppo in Syria. We rejoice in the lay and brother Marist communities committed to the seven countries of the new Marist District of Asia. We are interested and involved as international projects evolve: Pan-Amazonia traversing the border areas of the Amazon, focusing on the indigenous and riverine peoples who know nothing of borders; a new mission in Harlem for Spanish migrants planned by the six American provinces of the Arco Norte region; the Marist re-entry into Cuba; our international response to the disaster in Haiti; the ministry of advocacy for the rights of the child at the United Nations; new vocational realities in Africa, East Timor and Vietnam.

All, such as these, capture our imagination. They are characterised by international and interprovincial involvement of those who call themselves Marist.

The General Council secretariat, Collaboration for Mission, International continues to facilitate the creation of international and interprovincial communities, support the needs of missio ad gentes, and develop structures for an volunteer program. Our mind-set is being continually revitalised. There are nearly 300 Marists presently engaged in mission outside the borders of their province of origin. They are younger and older; brothers and lay; long term and short term. All of them contribute to a Marist narrative that captures our imagination.

Enquiries about involvement in international Marist ministry should be directed to your Provincial or the province CPV – (Coordinator of Province Volunteers) or directly to the Superior General.


Chris Wills, Director of the Secretariat of Collaboration for Mission, International


Picture: Marist District of Asia: Br Francis (Ghana), Br Andrés (Spain), Rodrigo, Josué, Estela (Mexico), Br Ismael (Spain)

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