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The process of joint formation of lay people and brothers

26/06/2009: General House

This small document, signed by all the participants of the two experiences of joint formation at Quito (1-30 July 2008) and St. Paul Trois-Châteaux (24 April – 17 May 2009), finishes with some petitions and recommendations to the XXI General Chapter. We believe that they can help to discern the calls that the Spirit is making at this historical time to the Institute.


Dear Brothers and Lay participants,

The 20th General Chapter stated: We are convinced that the life-giving Spirit is leading us along a common path… we commit ourselves to work and spend time together, to reflect on what constitutes our Marist identity, and to clarify the different forms of belonging to the Institute. This will require programs of common formation for Brothers and Lay people (Choose Life, 29).

Since then, the General Administration has arranged for various experiences of joint formation: Les Avellanes (2007), the International Assembly of Mendes (2007), Quito (2008), St. Paul Trois-Châteaux (2009) and Chosica (2009). Many Brothers and laity have already experienced the richness of this new type of formation and are initiating similar programs in their provinces and districts.

Aware that the vitality of our religious family and its fidelity to its mission depend, to a great extent, on the formation of its members (C. 95), we are convinced that formation is the best investment which the Institute of the Marist Brothers can make, with this new development, that today we are involving in it also those lay men and women who feel called to be Marists.

The future of the Marist charism is related to this shared way of Brothers and laity. Therefore, we want to share with them a summary of what we have lived and reflected on together in the experiences mentioned.

Conclusions from the lived experiences:

 The Marist vocation
is a gift God offers to persons committed to various forms of life who wish to live the Gospel according to the Marist charism. There is no Marist vocation without mission, spirituality and sense of community.

 The joint formation process seeks to express that we, Laity and Brothers, feel we need each other in order to develop our common Marist identity as well as our specific identities.

 This implies a process: itinerary, pace, steps, systematization… more than convenient actions or programs without vision.

Community process, since the Marist identity which we desire to recreate is to be lived in community, whether by Brothers, Lay people, or Brothers and Lay people. But real community processes can only come from personal processes. It starts with the person and is completed in the community.

 It is, mainly, living experience, and must be prepared by sharing life, faith, mission, charism, community experiences, discernment in common…

 The aim of all joint formation is to promote the vitality of the Marist charism: mission, spirituality, shared life…

Every Marist community will have to be formative and feel called to share this same formation with other people.

We have, then, to become aware of the necessity of a new type of Marist formation which, without denying the need for the specific formation of Brothers and Lay people, takes account of the richness of the complementarity of joint formation. Thus, as mission and spirituality ought to be shared, so also with Marist formation.

The lived experiences allow us to affirm that joint formation does not lead to a confusion of the specific identities, but to their enrichment. The Spirit appears to be telling us that we do not find the true identities of Marist religious life and Marist lay life separately: they have need of each other. The signs of the Spirit common to all these meetings have been joy, deep prayer, and commitment to the Marist vocation. They are the guarantee of the whole way of revitalizing the charism.

For this reason, we request the General Chapter to recommend and make decisions in support of:

1. Developing processes of joint formation for Laity and Brothers in all the administrative units (AU).

2. Promoting the creation of new models of shared life and mission, Brothers and Laity, which can be community nuclei of reference for the vitality of the charism and the co responsibility in the mission, as much on the AU level as on the Institute one.

3. Continuing to animate reflection on a new Marist formation, joint and specific, which takes into consideration the richness of the specific identities as much as their complementarity. To progress towards a new Marist Formation Guide, which includes the different ways of living the Marist charism.

4. Enabling the new General Administration to continue taking an active role in the formation of Marist formators, Brothers and Lay people, by this joint and specific formation.

5. Promoting, in different places in the Institute, among the laity interested, the living (ad experimentum) of distinct forms of commitment to the Marist charism, so that in the next years a good number of AUs initiate significant experiences, which allow greater co-responsibility and joint decision making by Brothers and Laity on Marist life and mission.

6. Continuing to develop, through the General Administration and its interaction with the AUs, “new ways” of communicating the “new life” which is already coming to birth in the Marist world. This is not merely a matter of technique but involves, above all, a better articulation of a more committed Laity and its vital connection with the communities of Brothers, in order to achieve an international vision of greater communion with the Marist charism.

7. Developing formation programs for accompanying young adults in the discernment of and engagement in their vocation.

Signed by:

The participants in the joint formation experiences of Quito and Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux

General Administration
Br. Javier Espinosa
Br. Pau Fornells
Br. Teófilo Minga

Br. Valdir Gobatt

America Central
Br. Luis Carlos Gutiérrez
Mr. Sergio Pérez

Brasil Centro Norte
Miss. Rita Rocha
Br. Wagner Cruz

Brasil Centro Sul
Br. Anacleto Peruzzo
Miss. Lúcia Coelho

Br. Réal Sauvageau
Mr. Robert Giguère
Miss. Véronique Dumais

Br. Carlos Hernández

Cruz del Sur
Mr. Marcos Denevi

East Asia
Br. Chinthana Nonis
Mrs. Kamala Xavier

Europa Centro-Oeste
Miss. Marie Paul Stevens
Br. Michael Schmalzl

Miss. Ana Sarrate
Br. Ernesto Tendero

Br. Bernard Régis
Br. Jaume Parés
Br. Jean Pierre Destombes

Mr. Juan García

México Occidental
Miss. Cecilia Cortez

Br. Donovan Tami

Miss. Claudia Rojas
Mrs. Cristina Ángel

Francisco Romero

Rio Grande do Sul
Sérgio Schons

Santa María de los Andes
Miss. Mónica Aguirre

Mrs. Carole Wark
Br. Michael Callinan
Mr. Tony Clarke

Br. Hank Hammer
Mr. Vincent Andiorio

Note: If you wish to access the final documents of Les Avellanes, Quito and Saint-Paul- Trois-Châteaux

Rome, May 21, 2009

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