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Groups of permanent formation visit Marist places

20/05/2017: General House

From May 2 to 12, the two permanent formation groups of Manziana (Midlife) and El Escorial (Senderos) made a pilgrimage to Marist places in France.

The two programmes began in March and will end on May 26. English-speaking brothers are having their programme in Manziana, while Portuguese and Spanish speaking brothers in El Escorial.

Fourteen brothers are taking part in the programme in Manziana, as well as Brothers Dennis Cooper and Teófilo Minga, in charge of the formation. The 10 Brothers in El Escorial, accompanied by Brothers António Leal and Antonio Peralta, travelled from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Paraguay and Puerto Rico.

Below are some testimonies from the participants, in their own languages, about what they experienced during those 10 days in France.

Br. Celestine Okoye - Nigeria

We thank God who made the Midlife Programme possible through our Provincials, and especially the Directors of the Programme. Surely, our pilgrimage to the Marists historical origins in France was full of excitement to all of us. Our faith in God and commitment to our religious life were challenged by the faith, simple life style, hard work, humility and commitment of the foundation Brothers. They were audacious, and we praised their efforts. Despite limitations of language among Brothers, and how we lived our brotherhood and friendships in a great spirit without cultural barriers was amazing. Brothers communities in France were welcoming and caring. Our idiosyncrasies they accommodated. St. Marcellin Champagnat and our first Brothers suffered and left treasures of "FAITH" and "FAITHFULNESS" for us. Whatever remains is in our hands. 


Br. Washington Tekay - West Africa

My experience of the pilgrimage to France, beginning with the Hermitage, then Rosey in Marhles, La Louvesc, Le Puy, Maisonettes, La Valla, Fourvière and other holy places, was one of awe, wonder and challenge, but left me reconnected, rejuvenated, replenished, and ready for mission, wherever the Spirit wills.
It was awesome and at the same time wonderful because of the strong feelings it stirred in me, after seeing the works done by the early brothers and some of the roads trod by them.
Challenging for the fact that the early brothers lived an austere and sometimes endured hardship, which was manifested by our elderly contemporary brothers who, though being 60 years and above, scampered well ahead of us when trekking!
However challenging it was, I am left more connected to our institute than before, having seen by my own eyes like doubting Thomas, the holy places of our origin, prayed the prayers of St. Marcellin and reread our history.
Rejuvenated and replenished spiritually, being surrounded and encouraged by humble and holy brothers of Mary, the Mary-ists!
Rejuvenated, or renewed and replenished, as if my little lamp was running out of oil.
Finally, we are ready for Mission, wherever the Spirit wills, with Mary, Joseph and the Trinity by our side.
It is like being connected to Wi-Fi, although of course in our own case, we are already spiritually connected! 


Ir. João Batista Pereira - Brasil Centro-Sul

"Todas as dioceses do mundo estão em nossos planos" já dizia o Pe. Champagnat. E foi com este espírito que os irmãos participantes do Curso Senderos (El Escorial e Manziana) participaram da peregrinação a L'Hermitage. Irmãos advindos de várias partes do mundo se uniram para por em prática um dos últimos desejos do Pe. Champagnat, manifestado em seu Testamento Espiritual: "Que se possa dizer dos Pequenos Irmãozinhos de Maria como se dizia dos primeiros cristãos: vede como se amam”. E não foi outro sentimento nesta peregrinação do que este desejo de Champagnat manifestado em nossas andanças pelos lugares maristas, em nossos momentos intensos de oração e em nossa convivência mútua dia pós dia. A peregrinação fortaleceu nosso amor ao Fundador e o vínculo à Instituição Marista. Que possamos voltar mais dispostos a tornar Jesus Cristo conhecido e amado, assim como sempre foi o desejo de nosso pai fundador. 


H. Carlos Perales - México Occidental

Caminar tras las huellas de nuestro fundador, San Marcelino Champagnat, y pisar los lugares por donde él y los primeros Hermanos dejaron su presencia, siempre es una bendición. Lo es más cuando se trata de un año jubiliar, como lo es el 2017, pues celebramos 200 años de vida marista.
Las palabras del Hno. Emili retumban en nuestros corazones: ¡GRACIAS! Por todas las bendiciones que hemos sido objeto, a lo largo de nuestra vida cristiana y marista. ¡PERDÓN! Porque hemos fallado en el seguimiento de Jesús y su evangelio. No hemos sido fieles a su llamada de amor. ¡COMPROMISO!  Sólo la pasión nos hace capaces de ser arrojados, para llevar al mundo la Buena Nueva. Hasta la muerte, si fuese necesario.
Regresamos a casa, pero no iguales. La compañía de Marcelino nos revela que este mundo es para los que se atreven a soñar, para aquellos que son capaces de traspasar el tiempo porque la gracia de Dios es siempre actual. ¡Gracias: JESÚS, MARÍA Y CHAMPAGNAT!  

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