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26 November

Saint Conrad
1947: Birth of Brother Seán Sammon, 12th Superior General

Marist Calendar - November

Assembly of the Brothers of Venezuela



Los Teques, 15 to 17 May 2014

27/05/2014: Venezuela - Photo gallery

31 brothers assembled in Los Teques, from 15 to 17 May 2014, with the objective of sharing life as brothers, reflecting on our situation (past – present – future), broadening our horizons, motivating us to move and to find ways to help us be mystics and prophets for today of Marist life in Venezuela.

Josep María Soteras and Eugene Kabanguka, C.G., Libardo Garzón, Provincial, and the six Brother Councillors of the Province of Norandina accompanied the 22 brothers from the communities of Venezuela present at the Assembly.

We were proposed an experience of openness, listening, brotherhood, encounter with others and with God; of calm and considered planning, among other things, of the future we desire for Marist Venezuela; and of practice in new forms of dialogue which will help us to journey to in a shared vision.

Dialogue in the midst of conflict was illustrated using the presentation of 10 rules formulated by Adam Kahane, author of Solving tough problems, who has taken part in international experiences in which he proposed them. Here are the three first by way of appetizers: Pay attention to your state of mind and how you are speaking and listening. Speak openly. Remember that you do not possess the truth about anything.

The central methodology proposed for accompanying this FRATERNAL DIALOGUE consists of a triple look: at the past, at the present and at the future. 

Looking at the past: we personally recall a joyful experience of our being brothers, we share it in pairs and, at the work tables, we discover some sources of energy; there we mention the brotherly life, the mission among youth and the poor, the presence of God, church, the wealth of diversity…

Looking at the present: we attempt to put ourselves into a contrary position in respect to our political vision, our perspectives of the mission and our culture of origin, arriving at the discovery of truth or of the positive, in the other different from me; this is shared with simplicity and serenity at the work tables, allowing us to listen to and surprise ourselves with these truths constructed in dialogue.

Looking at the future: the presentation of some models or experiences of Provinces in the Institute (France, Canada and Australia) which are trying to respond institutionally to their situation provoques us to reflection; and makes us aim at the future of the Province of Norandina in the key of reconciliation. We recognize the difficulty of the challenge which demands of us creativity and openness. It is time to start dreaming of ways.

The being placed at work tables and the search for consensus, through listening and dialogue, rather than through formal debate, allows progress in positive attitudes with the hope that they will bear fruit in due course. The metaphor of fertilization is used to represent this process of change that we can continue living in Marist Venezuela.

A time of prayer beginning each morning motivated our living as brothers on the basis of the community of Bethany in the Gospel of John. On the three successive days, we meditated with Lectio Divina directed by Br Josep María, starting from the figures of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They can inspire our spiritual strength and our way of being followers of Jesus in community today.

In the evening Eucharists, presided over by Fr Alfredo Oliverios, SDB, a close friend of our communities in Los Teques, we gathered what we had lived each day from the Word proclaimed and the Bread divided. John’s Gospel forcefully indicated to us: I am the way.

The last day, Saturday, was devoted to communicating information about the Institute, the Province and Venezuela, on the part of our animators. We finished with a brief time of evaluation.

In the afternoon, each began preparations for the return journey to his community.

We valued the accompaniment during the Assembly of the General Councillors, who had previously visited the communities, speaking with most of the Brothers of Venezuela. We hope to see their efforts, and the positive will of all, rewarded with the fruits of better fraternal relationships and new creative proposals for our beloved Marist future.

We are grateful to the community of Los Teques which welcomed us with joy and brotherly affection, as well as to the staff of this Conference Centre.

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