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Marist presence in Lucena

10/04/2006: Spain

On the 23rd April 1906 the first Marist school started in Andalusia at Lucena (Córdoba, Spain). To commemorate this centenary, the local area organised some activities for the 1st and 2nd April.
On Saturday 1st April, the traditional “Maristiada” took place, a sports day celebrated each year in a school of the region. The place chosen this year was Lucena. Nearly one thousand students from all the Marist centres of Andalusia came together for this day which is always held in a Marist family ambiance.

The following day, people gathered at the municipal cemetery where the remains of five brothers rest; one of these brothers is Brother Helión, one of the first four brothers to arrive in Spain in 1886. Each brother was remembered and then there was a Mass celebrated in the church of San Mateo by a former student.

After the Eucharist, more then three hundred participants gathered at Palacio Erisana, where the activities continued, co-ordinated by Brother Juan Ignacio Poyatos. Brother José Delgado, author of the book “Marist presence in Lucena” which was written for the occasion, spoke first. Then came Mr Juan González Palma, dean of the Abogados school at Lucena, who related some events and memories as a former Marist student of “Nuestra Señora de Araceli College”. Mr José Luis Bergillos, mayor and former student, spoke of the influence that the Marists had had at Lucena. Brother Lucinio Pérez recalled the education system that was in place at the time when he was a teacher. Mr Antonio Clavero, National President of the Federation of Marist Ex-students spoke about the function and the relationship of the former students with the Congregation. At the end, Brother Manuel Jorques, Provincial of the Province of Mediterránea, addressed the audience to present the Marist charism. After a powerpoint presentation, decorations were presented to the former students who were present. The closing ceremony was the responsibility of the Brother Provincial.

Afterwards, everyone went to where the college used to be (occupied today by several houses). There was the unveiling of a plaque that shows Father Champagnat and a text that recalls the commemoration.

These two days came to an end with a convivial meal during which the events and souvenirs of another time surfaced, giving way to nostalgia.

Since its creation, the college belonged to a foundation started by Don Raphaël Jiménez Cuenca, priest of Luceta, who had bought the building in 1906. In 1964, the building was declared dangerous and had to be closed.

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