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Sensing, making presence, realising

16/09/2017 / 6938 |

22nd General Chapter: Sensing, making presence, realising

On Friday, 15th September, the General Chapter participants dedicated themselves especially to the exploration of today’s reality, an essential step required before attempting to find any solutions.


Beginning with prayer

As happens every day, both the beginning of the morning and the afternoon work, there is always a prayer that is creatively prepared by the Liturgy and Animation support team: Alicia Alexandra Morales Culqui and Brothers Tony Leon, Anselmo Kim and Fabrício Alves da Cruz. The prayer time is usually fifteen minutes. These moments of prayer help the group to pray and to contemplate the mystery of God in their own lives, laying the groundwork so that the reflection is a contemplation of the will of God in relation to the charism of Marcellin Champagnat.


A little silence

In the past two days, the participants have lived two intense experiences: the visit to the social centers in Medellín and yesterday the encounter with young people. This morning, an hour of silence and meditation was offered as a way of connecting these two experiences with the Chapter process, reflecting mainly on how such encounters touched one’s heart.




The facilitator, Matthieu Daum, today led participants through the U-Process dynamic process that is being used in the Chapter. For an organization that is changing, there are always issues needing to be resolved. There is a tendency among many to want to arrive at solutions, almost always the outcome of personal interpretations and individual responses. Instead, for decisions to be sound, this process requires a change in our way of thinking and seeing. There is a methodology that helps achieve the desired change.

How do we apply this to the Chapter? When faced with the question "What does God wants us to do?", the tendency is to respond immediately, with individual impressions, that can lead to hasty decisions, with little foundation.

The dynamics of the U-Process consists of three moments, making a path suggested by the letter "U": Sensing; Making Presence; Realising.

· Firstly, it is necessary to feel the reality (sensing), to see what surrounds us and, how it is that which exists around us.

· Then making presence in the ecosystem, that is, to perceive what happens around us; how people are affected by what happens; opening the heart to the essential and thus not losing touch with reality. It is also necessary to analyze what we have been doing; What is our identity as a group? What needs to be eliminated?

·  Finally, it is necessary to realize, taking into account the needs, the existing resources and from then on adopt a procedure that creates a new model for the emerging reality.


Methodological proposal of the Chapter

It has been proposed to the Chapter that during the first two weeks the participants focus on discovering the reality. Now they are discovering the reality in general:” What is new? What is around us?” Next week they will look at our institutional body, to see what is happening within the Institute. From the consciousness that comes from this process, it will be easier to set the directions for the future. It will then be possible to work on concrete themes of Marist daily life, such as the Constitutions and the Rule of Life; the New Models Project; the Laity; what kind of government to adopt, etc. Having a clear vision, hearing the emerging calls.


Thinking 10 years ahead

To help raise awareness of the reality, some questions were posed to the group, laying the foundations for the Institute's ability to adapt to a changing world:

  • What will exist in 10 years that does not exist now?
  • What exists now and will exist in 10 years?
  • What exists today that will not exist in 10 years?
  • What do we need to find out more about?

To create this vision, the facilitator invited the participants to explore eight trends: Economic, Political, Health, Educational, Environmental, Religious (and spiritual), Sociological (population) and Communication Technologies.


Synthesizing trends

Each participant could choose one of the above trends to deepen the reflection. All afternoon participants worked in these newly created interest groups. They were given the task of presenting the vision of these tendencies with a symbolic element and a reflection in a PowerPoint presentation. While some of the group worked on their presentation, others were given disposable materials to create a symbol that would describe their view of the trend. The symbols created were placed in the back of the room, together with the orange trees planted a few days ago and will remain there as an element of continuous reflection. Groups will deliver their presentations in tomorrow's plenary session.


Meeting in fraternities ends the day

The last activity of the day was the individual fraternity meeting. The objective of the 16 fraternities is not to do business, but to create a space for each person to share with the others in the fraternity their personal experiences, feelings and thoughts.


Br Marcelo De Brito

Br. Marcelo was the person responsible for organising the technical aspects of the Chapter, such as translation, sound and video systems in the Chapter Hall. He has been present during this first critical week of the Chapter when problems technical issues were most likely to occur. Brother Marcelo needs now to return to his Province, Cruz del Sur. Brother Emili thanked Marcelo, on behalf of all the Chapter participants, for his commitment and dedication.