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24 October

Saint Anthony Mary Claret
1959, the Brothers of Saint Francis Regis joined the Marist Institute
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Marist Calendar - October

Profession in the City of Dame-Marie



Haiti – Canada - Mexico

08/02/2009: Haiti

On January 8, 2009 the Haiti Sector of the Marist Brothers reached a milestone, when Brother Renault Sindor, a seventh, young Haitian Brother, made his religious profession in the Marist family. Five of his Haitian confreres from the Guadalajara Scholasticate offered their support to Brother Renault in his first commitment as they renewed their vows. The names of the Brothers, in the order seen in the photo above, are Brothers: MaristasJean Mance Louis-Jeune and Wilguins François (vow renewal for second year of profession), Jourdin Méronville and Frantzley Exama (third year) and Toussaint Forestal (second year).

MaristasThe professions were solemnly celebrated in the city of Dame-Marie, the site of the first Marist Brothers’ apostolate in Haiti, and hometown to five of the six young professed. Carefully prepared in advance, the profession ceremony was presided by a priest friend of the Sindor family. He was assisted by the local parish priest and another concelebrant. The tone of the Mass was set by the REMAR choir, a vocational group of the local area. The profes-sion ceremony did not go un-noticed in a milieu where people live in close proximity and where almost every person is known by all the others. Then, after the religious ceremony, more than one hundred and fifty guests - relatives, friends, former teachers – gathered in the school courtyard to continue the celebration and enjoy a traditional Haitian meal.

At this profession a new feature was to be noted. Whereas previously the Brother Provincial of Canada received the vows, this time the honor and responsibility fell to the Brother Provincial of Mexico Occidental. The two Provinces had decided to take advantage of the occasion offered by the profession ceremony to conduct another official act: the trans-fer of the FMS Haiti Sector from the Canada Province to that of Mexico Occidental. The of-ficial transfer of responsibility was part of the reason for the presence of a large number of Brothers from both of the countries involved in the Sector transfer.

From Mexico the representatives were Brothers: Ernesto Sanchez, Provincial; Victor Preciado, former Provincial with whom the necessary measures had originally been under-taken in view of the Sector transfer; Luis Enrique Rodriguez, director of the Guadalajara Scholasticate where the Haitian Brothers are doing their studies. MaristasFrom Canada were present Brothers: Bernard Beaudin, Provincial, accompanied by four of the five Canadian Brothers who inaugurated the FMS work in Haiti. In the order seen in the relevant photo: Brothers Daniel Cournoyer, Gilles Hogue, Gérald Gatien – still working in Haiti - and Gilles Lacasse who guides and supports the Haitian novices at the Morelia Novitiate.

Regrettably Brother Marcel Labarre was not present, having passed away at a rela-tively young age a few years after he returned to Canada. The Canada Province was pleased to have been able to add Mr. Jean-Louis Cardin to the group of Canadian Brothers. Mr. Car-din represented the “Comité Haïti-Mariste,” a group of lay people who have supported the Haiti Sector since l985, the year when the Sector began. One must not overlook either the presence of all the non-native Brothers now working in Haiti with the first perpetually pro-fessed Haitian, Brother Frisnel Walter, who now directs the Jérémie postulancy: four Canadi-ans, two Mexicans, a Malawian and an Argentinean. The international character of the Insti-tute can indeed be seen clearly in Haiti!

MaristasAnd then, after the profession, in a very simple, emotional ceremony all the Brothers gathered for the official transfer - signatures affixed to the official papers - of the FMS Haiti Sector to the Province of Mexico Occidental.

There followed an exchange of very concrete memorabilia of the occasion. Brother Bernard presented three copies of a beautiful our «Good Mother,» statue, one for each of the three communities. For his part, Brother Ernesto offered a framed picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe to each Brother of the Sector.

MaristasPermit me to conclude the present report on a personal note, one which – I think – will resonate with the Canadian Brothers who are still working or who, over the years, have worked in Haiti. My comment may even be of interest to all the Brothers of the Canada Prov-ince who have been conscious of the FMS Haiti project as it has grown and developed. Cer-tainly, January 8, 2009 marks a historic turning point for Marist Brothers’ life and work in Haiti. Those closest to Haiti in heart and mind may even feel a certain melancholy in the Sec-tor’s being transferred at a time when, after almost twenty-four years, it is beginning to bear promising fruits after all the years of labor, sometimes stressful, in which, nonetheless, real enthusiasm was not for a moment absent.

In addition, we can find joy in seeing how the seeds sown earlier are now setting ever deeper roots and may eventually become a very healthy Marist branch called to spread out in its turn. “Today, January 8, the Marist torch in Haiti has been passed from one torchbearer to another. What is important, however, is not the hand that holds the torch, but the flame itself which continues to give light and warmth.”

Thank you, Canada » - Thank you, Mexico - Thank you, Haiti!

Gilles Hogue, f.m.s.
Photos : Yvon Deschamps, f.m.s.

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