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Formation Program in Hermitage Province - Second Time Around

05/03/2010: Spain

From February 12 to 14, a weekend of Marist formation took place at Les Avellanes-based hub of the Hermitage Province. The purpose of the weekend was to deepen the sense of Marist vocation. This year’s session was the second such program, the previous one having been held in February 2009. Like the first, the 2010 session turned out to be quite inspirational, supportive, important. It helped the participants become more aware of a reality that, yes, already exists but remains hidden to some degree.

In an easy-going, family atmosphere, eleven Brothers and ten Lay People were able to enter into the program very naturally, frankly, hearts on the sleeve. Over the course of each day, they were being formed into a community through the multiple activities in which they took part. They were experiencing the Marist charism as a gift: gift received, gift lived out in daily life. The experiences of the weekend put them in contact with the deeper wellsprings of their own lives.

One might think of the Visitation. At a certain time, the lives of Mary and Elizabeth intertwined and the two women shared a special joy. So too the experience at Las Avellanes may become a new reference point in the journey in which Brothers and Laity are sharing.

What the participants had to say

The Lay People who took part in the weekend were: Marta Portas, Mercè Caminal, Jesús Pujol, Mar, Carles Plana, Bea Fernández, Teo Plana, Lluís Arumí, Maite Pauls, Dolors Comes and Joan Puig-Pey. The Brothers involved were: Jaume Parés, Toni Torrelles, Isidoro García, Marcelo Montori, José Luis Melgosa, Inocencio Martínez, Enric Carreras, Eladio Gallego and Manel Castillo. A special feature of the weekend was the presence of Brothers Fernando Hinojal (Mediterranea Province) and George Palandre, who are members of the new Brother-Laity community of the Hermitage.

A few of the participants asked whether they might share some of their thoughts and heart-felt sentiments. We gladly accept the offer and say thanks so much for offering us your testimony about the experience.

• I had a really pleasant weekend. On the personal level, I was able to take a significant break from my day-to-day life. The personal time provided on Saturday morning was terrific. Same is true for the times when we spoke to one another about our personal experiences. I was pleased to see that Brothers and Laity are not so different after all. Perhaps the differences are more on the surface than deep down . . . who knows . . . I’ll be thinking about that. My recommendation is that the program be repeated.

• I appreciated the weekend very much. I am convinced that the Spirit was present, that the breath of the Spirit was being strongly felt by the group. There is a momentum towards new life: the Marist charismatic life, something reflected in the way in which the Lay People and Brothers shared this weekend together. We are being invited to live out the same reality and to live it out in shared fashion.

• A pleasant surprise, inspiring. It helped me focus once again upon some important aspects of my life. It allowed me to hear words that jibed with what I feel, what I experience; the time was right and the persons too. Very pleasant. A clear, Marist dimension prevailed and it was a privilege to get to know Brothers and Lay People from other climes (France) with similar points of view and sensitivities. A gift, really!

• This was my second “Vocational Weekend.” On this occasion, however, the weekend turned out to be a “new” experience. I felt as if I had come home again. I could observe the way the group (young and old, Laity and Brothers, men and women) spent their time together and I’ve been able to reflect on what I saw. Throughout the experience I sensed lively interest and wholehearted involvement. I hit it off well with the other participants. I am no longer so preoccupied about the structures, about the future development of the Laity. I leave the weekend with TRUST: TO PRAY and TO TRUST.

• The weekend renewed my commitment to follow Jesus according to a specific charism, that of Marcellin Champagnat. The commitment is made through a life shared with others: COMMUNITY. I do not know how or in what manner, but Jesus is inviting me to such a life. To me as to the deaf man in the Gospel, Jesus is saying,”Ephphatha, Be opened.”

• I felt very much at home with the other participants during the experience, because I was able to enter into a faith-experience with them. I found the weekend very inspirational, seeing how others are following along the same pathway, hoping to remain on it to the end. I do not find it very satisfactory, however, to have to live without the day to day support of people who are as committed as those present on the weekend. I will go forward, nonetheless, making friends, working with others, trusting that the Lord will help us to meet people who share the same convictions.

• I met some really outstanding people. Outstanding too the weekend’s dynamics. Ditto for those who directed the meeting. As a result of such a weekend, Lay People are given strength to follow their call to the Marist charism.

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