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The Hermitage community on the way

11/02/2010: France

As you know, the new community at the Hermitage got underway on 8 December with a special celebration, in which each received a staff symbolizing their walking together but each in his/her own rythm.

That makes two months we have been living community life, at la Neylière in the house of the Marist Fathers. At the beginning of January, we welcomed the Argentinian couple, Norma and Ernesto. The activities of the two months have essentially involved learning to know one another better. We are doing this in different ways, either among ourselves or with the help of people from outside.

Thus, from 14 to 18 December, two lay people from the ESDAC group (Spiritual Exercises for Apostolic Community Discernment), working according to Ignatian pedagogy, helped us begin our community building in a spirit of faith and a process of prayer.
« If the Lord does not build the house, the builders labour in vain… ». At the end of this process, we were able to establish our first community life chart.

The same way, in order to get to know one another better, we decided to share about different topics, relating to our personal life, country, family, vocation story. We are en route; this takes time but it is important.

This knowledge is also gained at times of prayer, animated in small groups, in turn and according to the sensibilities of each, through leisure time, outings in common, and personal encounters.

To prepare us more directly for the work of animation to be done at the Hermitage, with the different groups hosted, we have already profited twice from two days work with Brother André Lanfrey, on the historic context of Marcellin’s life at Marlhes and La Valla, and on the spirituality.

At the beginning of January, we spent a week with a facilitator from Canada, a lay person trained at IFHIM (the Institute of Integral Human Formation of Montréal). This is a programme inviting each one to make life choices for him/herself starting from free and responsible decisions and also from the forces each has within him/herself and which need to be learned and put to use. We followed this very personal process all together according to an interactive method; it thus allowed us to come to know one another better.

For our personal journey, we are being helped by two Brothers: Albert André, from Belgium, in the name of the general council, and Maurice Goutagny, in the name of the Province of l’Hermitage. They join us for two days a month and are at our service.
For community accompaniment, such as it is, there are two persons from ESDAC who come for two days each month up to next April.

At the end of January, we welcomed Br. Joe McKee, Vicar General. He helped us see more clearly the mission which the Institute has entrusted to the community in its multicultural dimension.

For personal commitments for animation, Father John Craddock returned to New Zealand at the end of January and will come back at the end of April. For his part, Brother Benito is recovering well from his knee operation; we will be seeing him again at Las Avellanas.
From 8 to 20 February, we are fortunate to be at this house of hospitality and spirituality of the Province to discover its life style and animation activities. We will also benefit during the stay from the input of Brother Alain Delorme on the first Brothers and that of Brother Fernando Hinojal on the Letters of M. Champagnat.
We are counting on the prayers of each of you for the progress of our community, so that it may respond to the wish of God for ourselves and the Institute.
The community.

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