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Towards a new land

14/09/2017 / 7464 |

22nd General Chapter: Towards a new land

On Wednesday, September 13th, the General Chapter participants journeyed to Medellín to visit social centers and projects administered by various organizations on the peripheries of the city. The goal of the immersion visit was to meet people engaged in that Centre, and to observe and listen to their realities, needs and opportunities. The visit was also an opportunity for Chapter participants to try and put themselves in the lives of the people in these places and to listen to what the Spirit was saying to them in the experience.


Departure to Medellin

For the visits, the Chapter participants were divided into several smaller groups. Each group was accompanied by a local Colombian Marist. The groups departed Rionegro at 8.30 am for the one-hour drive into the city of Medellin. The groups visited places such as: Don Bosco City, Hogar la Liberad, Hogar Claret, Hogar Miraflores, Hogar Elena y Juan, La Honda, Fundación Huella, Vallejuellos, barrio el Salado, Centro C.D.B and Santa Joana de Lestonnac.

Each place was an opportunity to meet people associated with the mission of the Centre and to listen, observe and discern what the Spirit is saying at this time, so as to be able to respond to two questions

  • What does God want us to be in this emerging world?
  • What does God want us to do in this emerging world?


Fundación Huelas

One group visited Fundación Huellas (Footsteps Foundation). This Foundation is located within the barrio of Santo Domingo high up on one of the hills overlooking Medellin. Fundación Huellas receives support from the Norandia Province of the Marist Brothers. There are two social centers: a library and a community center in Manantiales and another educational center at La Torre Community Center, each staffed by volunteers. There is also a Marist Brothers community of insertion located in this neighborhood. Presently there are two Brothers and an aspirant who live in this community.

One of the leaders of the centers shared a very moving story of how started with a sewing project for mothers in the neighbourhood. After completing the course, one of the mothers shared with one of the volunteers, "Here I have learned to sew back together my life, and my children's life. Because a week ago, I wanted to commit suicide". This mother, who is very poor and has three children, found in the life and activity of that center both meaning and a reason for continuing to live.


Meeting at the Medellin Novitiate

After visiting the social centers in various parts of Medellín, the Chapter participants and guides gathered together again in the center of the city and visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria. Everyone then went to the La Valla Inter-Provincial Novitiate where the community and local lay Marists hosted a very enjoyable and fraternal afternoon refreshment. The novitiate community consists of three Brother formators and 12 novices: 7 from Norandina Province, 4 from Central Mexico and 1 from Central America.

Before leaving the novitiate, Chapter participants gathered in their fraternity group to share their personal experiences of the immersion visits. The general feeling among participants was deep gratitude and respect for the positive witness and prophetic sign shown by the people associated with the centers and projects institutions visited. The Chapter participants were also very grateful to all the Marist novices and young adults who accompanied them as guides throughout the visit.


Facilitation Commission

The 8 members of the new Chapter Facilitation Commission have begun their work. Br Ben Consigli has been appointed as the Coordinator. Br Juan Carlos Fuertes is Vice-Coordinator. Br João Carlos do Prado is the secretary.