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Marist Centenary in Germany 1914 – 2014

09/10/2014: Germany

The year 1914 is the foundation of the Marists in Germany. The jubilee that we celebrate this year brings together many friends: Marist Brothers, Lay Marists, co-workers and young people with whom they have been connected over the century both at home and abroad are united in this celebration. It is a jubilee which not only is a day of remembrance for the Brothers and their friends but one which offers the opportunity to take a glimpse into the history of the Marists in Germany. It also invites us to renew our awareness of the mission of the Marists both today and in the future.

So there are a variety of ways and occasions in which this jubilee is celebrated and remembered.

On 3rd February 2014 the school community of Recklinghausen celebrated the opening of the first Marist foundation in Germany. A formation centre with boarding school and the commercial production of, for example, Arquebuse, Hermite and various medicinal teas using the recipes of Frère François, successor of Champagnat, gave some security to the foundation in difficult times.

On 13th and 14th September 2014 there was the first ever assembly of German Brothers within the Province of West-Central Europe to discuss questions and issues of today. Sunday 14th gave us the opportunity to thank God for the fidelity and perseverance of four Brothers celebrating and able to look back on 60 years as Marists. 

On 11th October the Marist Family in Furth bei Landshut will celebrate the previous 100 years, commemorating the many foundations and apostolates of the Brothers and their co-workers in Germany and 33 others countries in which German Marists had settled in the spirit of Champagnat.

The Marist Family honour this jubilee in their own particular fashion with a variety of symbols and gestures:

- On the suggestion of a teacher from the Marist Realschule in Mindelheim, master baker Michael Hölzle, a former student of the college at Mindelheim, created and produced a special bread. This bread has since been commercially sold as “Marcellin Bread” at the bakery in Mindelheim. This producing of the bread recalls the herbs and medicinal plants at the time of Champagnat in the raw environment of the Mount Pilat region of the South of France.

- On the occasion of the jubilee six stamps with the image of the founder, Marcellin Champagnat, were produced and distributed as 60 cent postage stamps by German Post. The stamps show Marcellin and point towards the possibilities of his mission in our own time. These stamps are recognised in Germany for sending letters throughout the world. It is a small sign of the world-wide and international outreach of the Brothers.

- The jubilee has also been the occasion for the publication of two new books on the history of the Marists in Germany. They clearly demonstrate in words and pictures the development of the German Province in these one hundred years. One of them bears the title, 100 Years of Marist Brothers in Germany, 1914 – 2014 and enriched with many photographs, gives a glimpse into the development of the Marists in Germany.

The second book was published in two volumes with the title 140 Years of German Marist Brothers, 1874 – 2014. Volume one deals with those forty years in which there were several hundred German Brothers and yet no community in Germany itself. It was this situation that made possible very early on the widespread missionary activity on the part of German Marist Brothers. They fulfilled this missionary vocation from the end of the 19th century in over 33 countries. The book extrapolates from a variety of statistics and overviews the difficult development occasioned by three wars.

The second volume brings together the details of over 1240 Brothers of German origin since the entry of the first of those Brothers into the Institute in 1874. Due to data protection this volume is for the most part reserved for internal use.

- In one particular exhibition for the jubilee, twenty two metre length posters were displayed depicting the history, spirituality and mission of the Brothers and laity throughout the Institute; they were originally made for the World Youth Day in Madrid.

- In Germany the Brothers have produced and sold their own Arquebuse and Hermite since the 1920s. On the occasion of the centenary the distillery at Furth has created a new drink, a mixture of the two under the old name of “Maristiner”. This is likewise a small recognition of our “spiritual” inheritance from our early days.

- As a fine gesture of remembering the tradition of the Marist College at Mindelheim it was decided to light a candle with the image of the founder Saint Marcellin at each meeting of the staff to bear in mind that his spirit and attitudes remain today as their guide and duty. “He who wishes to educate a child must love the child.” (Marcellin Champagnat)


Brother Heinrich Schamberger

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