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Saint John Damascene and John Calabria
1889, opening of the first Marist school in Colombia

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Living Champagnat’s Vision at Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte) 2006

 

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Lay Partnership Update

05/06/2006: Australia

Slowing down and taking in the people and the land was the experience for us as we gathered for the first “Living Champagnat’s Vision” programme in Ltyenge Apurte, an Aboriginal community about 80 kilometers outside of Alice Springs. Marist Brothers have been present in this community for many years and it is through their relationship with the community that we are privileged to visit such a special place today. We were welcomed onto the land by one of the women elders, Agnes. She performed a smoking ceremony for us and we were all invited to step forward and be cleansed – an experience of purification and reclaiming of our boundaries. This was a very tangible experience of reconciliation.

The Church has painted on its walls the story of Creation and the New Testament through the eyes of Arrente women. We were invited to reflect on this story and the Marist story along with our own stories over the next two days. It is hard to capture the highlight of this time together as there were numerous ‘moments’. The morning prayer greeting the sun, the quiet time reflecting, the interaction with the community, particularly the children as they visited us during our sessions, the bush dinner with a roaring fire and songs to sing! This led us all to a deeper appreciation of being Marist today.

A poem we used on our last day captures the experience of transformation that occurs when you spend time in a place like Ltyentye Apurte:
They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase: you’re a credit to their teaching –
But can’t you hear the Wild? – it’s calling you.
Let us probe, the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us.
And the Wild is calling, calling…let us go. (Robert Service).

Forbes Marist Partnership Group
This group gathered for the launch of the local phase of the Mission Assembly and it seems that the numbers grow each year. Thanks to the warm hospitality of the Brothers’ community and the ongoing commitment of Steve Dwyer, who facilitates the group.

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