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El Escorial, end of a virtuous cycle



Permanent Formation in the Marist Institute

26/11/2018: General House

Always the Marist Institute has tried, made an effort, for the formation of the Brothers, especially of those who were to lead processes.  This is one of the strategies, which aims at the quality of the services rendered to children and young people and to the continuity of the Institution throughout time.  

Who does not remember his “Second Novitiate”?  To it went the Brothers who needed a time of formation and who had the possibility to be leaders in their Provinces.  Then other names appeared Jesus Magister, Champagnat Center, ‘Senderos’ (Paths) Horizons and others.

The places where these courses were given also changed throughout time: Hermitage, Saint Genis Laval, Grugliasco, Rome, Cochabamba, Nemi, Campinas and others.

At the end of the decade of the 60’s, the Institute began to organize these experiences of permanent formation for the Brothers in the Center of Spirituality of El Escorial, Spain.  We do not have concrete reliable or trustworthy information of how many courses were taught in that house, nor the number of Brothers who participated.  However, they were many.  According to Brother Floro, veteran of the Iberian Province, over one thousand Brothers benefited from this formation.

The program corresponded to the Brothers according to their age, to the function exercised in their Provinces, or by interest themes.  For the large majority of the participants these were times of grace and of human and religious growth.  

New times, new needs, new orientations arose, that have to be taken care of.   In September 2018, The General Council opted to takes the majority of these courses of permanent formation to the house of Manziana, Italy.  A community of five Brothers is assigned to administer that house and to organize those programs.   In this way, the Spirituality Center of El Escorial, at least for now, will no longer have those courses of permanent formation organized by the General Administration of the Institute.  The house will be a center of formation of the Iberian Province. 


Gratitude, Nostalgia and Hope

Brothers Antonio Peralta and I had to close the activities in El Escorial at the level of the Institute.  In a conversation held while packing the materials to send to Manziana, we mentioned three words that express our sentiments, gratitude, nostalgia and hope.

Gratitude to God for the wonders carried out in so many Brothers who passed through El Escorial.  Gratitude to the Iberian Province for having made available that excellent building to hold the courses.  Gratitude to the Brothers Juanjo, Floro, Marino Hilario, Elias, Ebélio and many others who formed the local community throughout these years.  God alone knows the good they did.   Gratitude to the Directing Teams and to the advisers of the courses in all their editions.   

Nostalgia because the word “El Escorial” reminds one of permanent formation, pleasant time of rest and of learning, experience of internationality lived with other Marist Brothers.  Now the cycle is closed.   At this moment of farewell, we can sing with the poet: “The one who leaves carries with him the nostalgia of the one who remains, weeps with sorrow”.

Hope in the future, which most certainly will be one of a good service to so many Marists of Champagnat, since beginning in 2019; the Laity, men and women, will also, be invited to participate to some of the future experiences.  In the same way as God blessed those who passed through El Escorial, he will bless those who will pass through Manziana. 


New cycle in permanent formation of the Marists of Champagnat

As the young of today say: “It was good as long as it lasted”.  We end the virtuous cycle in El Escorial and begin a new one in Manziana.

Grateful, with nostalgia and with much hope, the Brothers of the Community named by the General Council to begin this new time already met from November 4 to 10 to plan the future.

I must confess that I felt the presence of God among us.  He, the Good Mother and Saint Marcelin will be with us in Manziana and with those who will be there enjoying a time of permanent formation.  As it is said in Brazil, “The people are met around there!”


Br. Joaquim Sperandio

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