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The VIII General Conference brings its works to a close



VIII General Conference

02/06/2007: General House

On Saturday, 2nd June, the VIII General Conference came to a close with an address by Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General, and the celebration of a thanksgiving and missioning Eucharist.

In his speech, Brother Seán referred to the responsibility of Marist leaders who have received the order to guide two different generations in the desert, the experience of the Second Vatican Council and the years following it as a time of adventure and creativity, and a second born at the end of the twentieth century marked by change. This second generation could be identified by the religious who said to his Superior: “You have been like Moses for me who led me into the desert. But I am not Moses, but a pilgrim who goes into the desert, walking towards the Promised Land which is more beautiful than the one you have shown me.” The process of restructuring, which has accompanied us since our origins, disturbs us because it obliges us to give new responses. The Marists had to send more than nine hundred brothers to foreign countries at the start of the twentieth century. Instability is part of the spirituality of a change of heart. We know that the changing of hearts will be what renews the Institute. And for that the leaders have a decisive role.

Brother Seán chose two images to illustrate this spiritual pathway. That of a grain of wheat that, if it dies, gives a great deal of fruit and that of a tapestry that needs many hands to place each thread in its place until the final effect of the picture is created.

At the end of his speech, he encouraged the participants to promote vocations ministry in each region, and to invite more brothers for the Mission ad gentes. Seán finished by calling on the superiors to carry out two tasks enthusiastically: to always say the truth and to be sowers of hope.

After the celebration of the Mass, in the same chapel, a gift was distributed as a souvenir and symbol of the Hermitage that we must build throughout the entire world. All those present, the members of the Conference and the brothers of the community of the General Administration received from Seán’s hands a box that contained a reproduction of a picture of the Hermitage under construction. It is an image fashioned in glass, similar to the one distributed at Negombo at the end of the VII General Conference, which contains the message of “reclaiming the spirit of the Hermitage” throughout the entire Marist world, and to do so “with fire and passion”. This is the attitude that presided throughout the works of the Conference and with which we must continue to advance in restructuring and regionalisation.

The VIII General Conference finished with a prudent look at the 21st General Chapter. The development of these processes will need to be evaluated once more during the next Chapter meeting.

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