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New models of government and management in restructured Provinces



VIII General Conference

24/05/2007: General House

The work rhythm of this VIII General Conference is very different to that of Negombo. The partici-pants have more time to dialogue and share experiences and review the structures of government and administration that have been developed after restructuring. Today they consecrated the whole morning to making a synthesis that collected all the ideas that had appeared during these first few days.
Three workshops were organised in the afternoon: one on Superiors as leaders in the communities, another on the evangelical use of goods as a basis for the use of resources in restructured Provinces and a third on innovative structures of government in restructured Provinces.
The first, that of direction, animated by Brothers Antonio Ramalho and Théoneste Kalisa, started by an analysis of the reception of the calls of the Chapter in the Provinces. Then some theological re-flections were shared on the direction of the spiritual animator of the Community. There was also reflection on the courses for Community animators organised at El Escorial and at Nemi. The par-ticipants in this workshop declared that in the Provinces there has been a good harmony with the propositions of the General Chapter.
In the second workshop, on evangelical use of goods, animated by Brothers Maurice Berquet and Pedro Ost, the group reflected on the consequences of decisions taken at a high level on the goods of the Institute. Starting with the idea that goods, money and resources must be placed at the service of the mission, restructuring strengthened the need to share everything that can encourage this.
The third workshop, with the most participants and treating structures of government as an element of renewal of communities and of educational works, was led by Brothers Pedro Herreros and Peter Rodney. There was a report on the new structures of management and of government implemented in the Provinces of Santa María de los Andes, Cruz del Sur and L’Hermitage.
The system of government that the Council of the Province of Cruz del Sur uses is based on two great axes: the Provincial Management Board and the Provincial Animation Teams. Linked with the first are management bodies that supervise formal educational works, ministries, solidarity works, non-formal educational works and administrative accounting. The Animation Teams are those of initial formation, of the brothers and communities, of the Marist vocation and that of fraternities. The two axes are encouraged by the Marist Apostolic Spirituality team.
Santa María de los Andes, covering three different countries, has taken the initiative of appointing three Sector Councils, formed by brothers and laypeople, co-ordinated by their respective Vicars. The historical process undertaken to arrive at this concrete form of government was highlighted, as well as the advantages and disadvantages experienced and the strategies used to achieve Provincial unity through retreats and Commissions.
The Province of L’Hermitage presented its initiative of appointing a Vicar Provincial as a major Superior, who is at the same time the Vice-Provincial. He resides in the same community as the Provincial whom he represents before the official organisms of France. The Provincial and the Vicar prepare the two-monthly combined calendar together and communicate it to the brothers. Both meet between Council sessions to anticipate their actions: community visits, interviews with the brothers, meetings, preparation of the agenda of the Council sessions, etc. Also discussed was the system created to run the educational works both in Catalonia and in France, always in accord with the decisions of the Provincial Council.
Many questions arose about the fact of making decisions about the life of the brothers, the difficulty in moving brothers from one country to another, the way of organising the participation of lay-people, the delegation of the activities of the Provincial to other responsible persons in the new structures, the presence of brothers in the new organs of government, management or administra-tion, the jurisdiction and process for appointing Vicars, etc. Also discussed were the costs compared to the previous ones. Numbers were not given as there was no detailed information but the idea is that it is a good investment in the service of the mission.

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