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Regenerative Dialogue on the Institute

22/09/2017 / 7313 |

22nd General Chapter: Regenerative Dialogue on the Institute

The process for the first stage of General Chapter, which is building up an awareness of the world and the Institute as a global body, is about to conclude. Today, the Chapter the participants reflected on some of the issues that were still missing in the "awareness of reality" in the Institute.


Starting the word

Today’s morning prayer was animated by Brother Rajakumar Soosai. Raj led the group in a moment of silent meditation drawing on some simple Indian yoga gestures that focused on stillness, energy and connected with God. The prayer also reminded us we are but one body and one spirit.

The birthdays of Alicia Alexandra Morales and John Hazelman acknowledged with joy.

It was also announced that the Chapter delegates of the Province of México Central, José Sánchez Bravo and Luis Felipe will be absent from the Chapter until next Monday, because they are making a brief to Mexico City and environs to be in solidarity with Marists associated with the earthquake that has caused so much devastation.

Deepening Body Consciousness

The remainder of the day was led by the facilitator, Matthieu Daum. He began the session by recalling the process that has been used so far. He encouraged participants to further open their hearts so as to perceive more clearly the global body, the Institute and then in all of this to try and hear what God wants from the Institute.

Before wrapping up this first stage where the task was to perceive reality be prepared to "let go", participants had an opportunity to identify any important aspect that may have been missed or is lacking in the perception of the body. Maybe there are things the capitulants have not yet spoken. The objective is to build a complete sense of the Institute. Today, therefore, was spent identifying and discussing the missing or underdeveloped themes.


Methodology of the dialogue

Before entering into the process of further discovery of the body, Matthieu presented to the participants 4 conversationnel or dialogical styles:

1.Talking Nice: the goal here is to ensure the well-being of the group. That's why you avoid topics that cause conflict. There is a group feeling, but no step is taken

2.Talking tough: people speak the truth without concern for the integrity of the group. What matters is to be listened to. Those who listen, do so only to see their opinion confirmed or rejected by others.

3. Generative dialogue: each expresses his own experience of reality and there is no intention to convince the other and not to debate.

4. Reflective dialogue: things said are very personal, specific to reality.

Most of the time dialogue is characterized by "Talking Nice". It is necessary, instead, to jump to the "generative dialogue"; because this is the only way to find out what the body is like, otherwise you run the risk of failing in the mission.

Currently the Chapter is not in the phase of solving questions, but of seeing where they are. It is very dangerous in this process to enter into a dialogue debate 'talking tough'. It is necessary to talk about experiences so you do not fall into this mistake. It is important for the listener to say what he/she has understood and what needs to be clarified about the narrated experience.  Whoever listens must also emphasize what is important to him but has not been said in the narration.

It is possible to avoid engaging in the first two types of dialogs by practicing generative dialogue. Reflective dialogue cannot be achieved simply by an act of the will. It has to be a spontaneous process.


Naming the knots

After teaching the group about effective dialogue practices, Matthieu listed topics the Facilitation Commission thought still need to be treated, and be better known, so as know how the Institute as a global body intends to deal with them:

  1. Governance: organization, authority, etc.
  2. Finances
  3. Relationships between Lays and Brothers
  4. Brothers: vocations, identity, roles, community life, accompaniment, new ways of being brothers, etc.
  5. Living our spirituality; mysticism
  6. Global availability
  7. Mission: education, new peripheries, children rights…
  8. Ecology, and implications on changes of lifestyle

Groups were formed according to each of the themes. Each group talked about their topic and brought the summary of the conversation to the plenary.


Afternoon session

The Marian moment opened the work of the afternoon. The Facilitator invited the participants to allow the things that were said in the morning to “sink in”. Dealing with them now would mean judging them with the categories of the past. Instead it is the future that can tell us how to act.

At this point, it appears the Chapter participants have a clear and comprehensive view of the state of the body we call, the Institute. Personal time was then given for each participant to contemplate where he or she is within that body that has been described over these last days. Each participant was asked to leave his own individual perception of the Institute and to try to embrace what has been revealed during the Chapter. This body, after all, is the way through which the Marist charism can be lived in the world.

The questions that guided the contemplation were:

1. What do I feel about the situation of our body? (joy, fear, excitement, despair, enthusiasm, frustration ...)
2. What inner movement am I experiencing? (consolation, desolation)

Finally, at the tables, in silence, each participant wrote on a piece of paper a word that summed up his or her reflection. These words were read and echoed in the assembly.


To forgive and to be forgiven

The last activity of the day was the Mass of Forgiveness. Gathered before the chapel, the participants listened to the request for forgiveness from the message of the Bicentenary, read by Brother Emili. Entering the chapel, each one washed his/her hands, in a gesture that signified pardon for infidelity to the breath of the Spirit and also a commitment to a consistent life living the evangelical ideal.