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Open Letter to Marist Brothers and Marist Lay People



Chosica, Peru: January 13, 2009

31/01/2009: Peru

Dear Brothers and Lay People of our Marist Provinces,

This letter is coming to you from a group of thirty-six people, comprising Brothers and lay people. We were invited by the Provincials of Santa Maria de los Andes and Cruz del Sur and by the District Superior of Paraguay to come together for an experience of joint formation.

To put into but a few words all that the Lord has willed to give to us, to reveal O to us during our time together is not an easy task. On the other hand, we cannot sim-ply keep to ourselves such a rich experience. In our hearts, we feel a consuming fire such as to preclude our being silent, keeping to ourselves alone the treasure which we have found.

We know that cultural differences are found amongst us, national traits of each country, or each Province and of the District. Yet beyond such differences, we perceive that there also exists among us a searching for, and an opening to something new that is coming into existence. The Spirit is the One who is goading us forward, impelling us and giving us heart, Brothers and lay people, to journey together.
This letter is addressed to all who feel in their hearts the Lord’s invitation to re-create the Marist charism in a communal way as a way of responding to the signs of the times.

The Lord knows us (Psalm 139:1) and profoundly loves us. We understand ourselves as his “well beloved children” (Mark 1:11). We give him thanks for having invited us to live out this experience and to share it. Thanks to our time together, we can see now that we are companions on the journey, brothers and sisters who walk together. The Lord invites us to serve him in apostolic works which may take on new forms and and new directions.

We feel richer for the family atmosphere in which the experience unfolded, an atmosphere manifested in various ways : how we were welcomed, the unhindered expression of views, a sincere and open manner of sharing each one’s « holy ground » (Ex 3:5), with its good points and its limitations. We believe that it is possible, even urgent for the vitality of the charism, to extend this experience beyond the encounter we have had.

For some time now, some of us have strongly felt that the Holy Spirit is urging us Brothers and lay people to search for new ways of sharing life and apostolic works. In different ways, for differing reasons, we have found our way into a relationship with the Congregation. Once we made our way inside the Congregation, the Marist charism has fascinated us, not in a way external to our lives but as an invitation which gradually alters the way we understand ourselves.

Like Mary, we have been troubled by the invitation (Luke 1:29). Every important initiative of the Spirit disturbs our lives and impels us towards a response which is free, uncomplicated, joyous (Luke 1:38). Such a response prepares us to confront new challenges, to attend carefully to God’s voice which echoes within us, to discern the signs.

We have started with an experience lived in the presence of the God of Mercy, an experience lived as a community. We feel the need to create shared methods of discernment which will help us to perceive future horizons with courage and hope.

We are aware that not everyone believes in the existence of a Marist lay vocation, nor in the need to set up joint formation processes involving Brothers and lay people, male and female. For our part, we feel that such programs are necessary for revitalizing the charism and for assuring the Congregation’s future.

That is the reason why we are accepting the challenge of allowing ourselves to be directed by the Spirit and to begin working together at a common undertaking, “a new way to be Marists.”

We believe that Marcellin’s dream for us is an ever fresh inheritance which we are obliged to re-interpret and revitalize in light of the signs of the times.

We believe that it is possible for us to construct a pathway together, while entirely respecting the distinct identity of the Brother and that of the lay person. The pathway will help of the kind that helps us to grow, helps us “to be” our specific vocation and to live it out more dynamically.

May Mary assist and accompany us as we work through the process of “widening the space of our tent,” re-creating together the Marist charism and providing fresh hope for the future of our Congregation.
We entrust ourselves to the hearts of Jesus and Mary and to the intercession of Marcellin.

From the Province of Santa María de los Andes :
Ana Iris Rodríguez (laywoman), Dolly Melendres (laywoman), Marisol Cárdenas (laywoman), Patricia Peña (laywoman), Sandra Toledo (laywoman), Alberto Salguero (layman), Mariano Varona (Brother), Mitzuaki Hatanaka (Brother) and Pablo González (Brother), from Bolivia ; Carolina Vargas (laywoman), María Inés Iturbe (laywoman), Sylvia Ponce (laywoman), Raúl Amaya (layman), Rodrigo Marchant (layman), Hernán Cabrera (Brother), Jesús Castañeda (Brother) and Luis Cornejo (Brother), from Chile ; Eliana Rojas (laywoman), Jenny Lara (laywoman), Mari Rodríguez (laywoman), Mónica Aguirre (laywoman), Sara Sánchez (laywoman), Arturo Cajaleón (layman), Alfonso García (Brother), Óscar Montenegro (Brother) and Rafael Kongfook (Brother), from Peru.

From Cruz del Sur Province:
Laura Milei (laywoman), Patricia Garbarino (laywoman), Arturo Buet (Brother) and Enrique Martínez (Brother), from Argentina ; and María Eugenia Nogueira (laywoman), from Uruguay.

From the District of Paraguay :
Ignacio Villar (laymman), Francisco Romero (Brother) and Francisco Vera (Brother).

From Mediterránea Province:
Juan García (layman)

From the Institute’s Laity Bureau :
Pau Fornells (Brother).

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