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30 November

Saint Andrew
1857:foundation of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary (SMSM)
1871: the first Marist Brothers set out for Australia
1911: the first Marist Brothers set out for Madagascar

Marist Calendar - November

Brothers Formators for a New World



Chronicle of San Lorenzo de El Escorial

20/10/2014: Spain

It is interesting to watch a blacksmith heat up the cold iron in the fire of the forge until it is red hot, converting it into a soft, malleable metal, ready and available to be changed, by the blacksmith’s skill, into a work of art or a useful tool, strong and noble. In the same way, are our lives, step by step, being molded with the tools of each day in the experience “Brothers Formators for a New World.”

We have two more months to share our experiences. In this fourth chronicle, we can share our last activities.

From 4 to 24 June, we lived the Hermitage experience. There we met our Brothers from   Manziana who are doing the same course. The Hermitage, Rosey, Marlhes, Palais, Le Bessat, La Valla, La Pitiè, Maisonnettes, Le Puy, the Champagnat Trail, Taizè, Geneva, Fourvières and many other places captivated our hearts, while Jean-Baptiste and Marie-Thérèse, Louis and Laurent, Antoine and François, Jean-Pierre and Stanislaus, Jean-Baptiste and Dorothée, Hippolyte and Jean-Marie, Jerome and Bonaventure, Silvestre and Louis-Marie, Avit and many others molded our spirit as formators. Thank you, Brothers and Lay of the Hermitage Community for the Marist experience you helped us to live.

On our return to the Escorial, Br Afonso Murad presented us with his Marian knowledge, broadening our minds with the history of Mariology, Mary in Luke’s Gospel, and in John’s at   Cana and the foot of the Cross, the Marian dogmas, devotion and liturgy, Mary in ecumenism, appearances and visions. Finally, we had time for reflection on the person of Mary in Marist Initial Formation. She helped us enrich our spirituality “Marian and apostolic”.

Then we had a week’s workshop on “the school of listening” with Br Joarès Pinheiro. We learned to differentiate between the important and the significant in our lives, we discussed who needs help and who can help, we prepared ourselves internally and externally for listening, we learned to accept, we practiced acceptance, observed, listened, were listened to, discussed the content, the feelings, the behavior of persons. In sum, we became a little more skilled in the use of a tool very suitable for fomators: acceptance and listening.

Br Iñigo Blanco was the man chosen for reflection on Solidarity. We first looked at the 4 distinctive characteristics of the Marists: education, Evangelization, solidarity and children’s rights. Above all, we learned that solidarity is a personal attitude, a concrete style of life that commences with personal change, leads me to relate with others in a special way and become involved in social transformation. Finally, we learned about accompaniment of   voluntary work and free education. We prepared in this way for the solidarity experience.

The second fortnight of July, we had an excellent solidarity experience, properly and well prepared in accordance with the wishes and projections of each individual and taking account of the various personal qualities. One left for the Marist community of Rubí, in the service of children. Others went to the Community of Saint John of God in Valladolid to serve the sick. Others opted to be good samaritans of the Marist Community of Romania. Four Brothers chose to live solidarity in the daily life of the Pilgrim Way of Santiago, while one travelled to Lima to take part in the Provincial Chapter and three exercised their generosity among the needy children of Ermesinde, Portugal. Communion and prayer served to unite us. Different services and experiences, to experience the open heart, the kindly hand of Jesus himself and the love of God for each of us.

Taking advantage of the heat and the summer season, we took some days of relaxation and vacation. Firstly, some personal days, when the majority of the Brothers chose to travel to Italy, to visit the General House, the Vatican and other places. Others opted for some place closer to home or for meeting family and friends. And then we had 10 days of community holidays. We went together in community to Portugal, where we were able to appreciate the fraternal and apostolic life of the Brothers as well as get to know some enchanting places of Portugal. Vouzela, Ermesinde, Porto, Fatima and Lisbon were where we spent most time and enjoyed relaxation, brotherhood, hospitality and leisure. Heartfelt thanks to the Brothers of Portugal.

After the holiday, we resumed our period of formation. Br Manel Mendoza presented us with all his experience and knowledge of FMSI, the United Nations, Human Rights, and the Defense of the Rights of the Child. We reflected once more on these options of the Congregation around the focus of rights and how they featured in the stages of Initial Formation. The question is: What do we need to do, as formators, to educate our young brothers in the promotion and defence of the rights of children and human rights?

Finally, with Br Lluis Serra, we dedicated 4 intense days to becoming familiar with and studying in depth the Eneagram. We valued his wide knowledge of the psychological anatomy of the dominant passions and identified each Brother by some category or eneatype. We had discussions in groups, in pairs, shared in the workshops, asked questions and went on learning a little more each day.

So in the simplicity of daily life and encounter we go on growing and being molded, seeing that our mission as formators involves being at perfect peace with ourselves, owners and knowers of our persons. The care for our spirituality, the practice of brotherly life, sharing, manual work, personal accompaniment, the little details and many other aspects of our life situate us in the forge, that special place where the blacksmith-God is molding us to his taste, with his creative hands, according to his artist’s eye, and in agreement to his project for our lives. Our time of formation progresses and we continue allowing God into our lives and into our hearts in our eagerness to be good Brothers Formators for a New World.

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