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III Chapter of the Province of the Hermitage

20/04/2010: France

The house of Notre-Dame de l’Hermitage (France) hosted the 56 participants in the III Provincial ChapterChapter, 49 Brothers and 7 lay people. It was this provincial gesture that was desired for the inauguration of the renovated house after the work done during these last months. One of the purposes of the Provincial Chapter is to mark the entry into office of a new provincial, in this case Brother Maurice Berquet, who was part of the General Council for eight years. Brother Maurice replaced Brother Xavier Barceló, first Provincial of the Hermitage Province since 2003.

Brother Emili Turú, Superior General, thanked Brother Xavier for his dedication, underlining his availability and simplicity, and also Brother André Déculty for his excellent team work with Brother Xavier in the animation of the Province. Of the new Provincial, Brother Maurice Berquet, he laid stress on his experience from having previously been Provincial and, moreover, General Councillor. He also emphasized the availability of Brother Maurice to lead the Province towards « a new land with joy and a spirit of service ».

Among the participants at the meeting there were the outgoing Brother Provincial, the incoming Brother Provincial, the outgoing Provincial Council and 40 Brothers elected by the Province. Seven lay people were also invited to take part in the Chapter: Yannis Costas, from our establishments in Greece ; Maryvonne Donnart, involved in the Fraternity of Lagny, Michèle Ragni, directress of the school of Chazelles, and Mari-France Stefanelli, a lay woman from the combined community La Valla-Mulhouse ; Joan Dalmau, president of the Marist Scouts Centre; Cecilia Beltrán, of the Co-ordinating Committee of Marist Laity and teacher in the « Maristas Valldemia » school, and Rogelio González, director of the « Maristas Champagnat » school of Badalona.

The Chapter programme was carefully prepared by a commission. The communities made contributions through two methods of dialogue. The participants in the chapter meeting, Brothers and laity, had received different documents, among them the evaluation of the term, drawn up by the outgoing Council, and the report of the Provincial Commissions.

The Chapter consecrated a large part of the meeting to reaching common agreement on the future directions and the priorities of the Province. It drew up a series of guidelines concerning the consecrated life, Brothers and lay people and the mission, for the attention of the Provincial Council, so that they could apply them during the coming term. The axis of consecrated life is aimed at forming a community of consecrated men inspired by a woman, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to offer to our world a Marial face of the Church. Certain elements insist on the developing of personal formation, personal and community accompaniment, and fraternal dialogue in community. The Brothers and laity axis wishes to take up the challenge of the XXI General Chapter – to advance together, Brothers and laity – and set in motion a procedure of joint formation based on the document « Around the same table », where Notre-Dame de l’Hermitage or Les Avellanes could be the points of reference. The axis of mission is centred on an evangelising presence among children and young people, especially the poorest, to develop together, Brothers and laity, according to the spirit of the Mission Assembly and the General Chapter, by means of the strategic plan and the echo in the community projects.

At the end of the work programmed, the Chapter elected the eight Brothers who form the governing Council around Brother Maurice Berquet : Miquel Cubeles, André Déculty, Jean-Pierre Destombes, Pere Ferré, Xavi Giné, Jaume Parés, Jean Ronzon and Gabriel Villa-Real.

One particular highlight was the Eucharist of 7 April, when the new international community of the Hermitage, formed of Brothers and lay people from different parts of the world, was entrusted with its special mission.

The refashioning of the Hermitage overlaps the tradition of a house built by the founder himself in the XIX century and the stake in the future in harmony with the XXI century. Tradition and modernity in a constructive balance, there is a challenge for this new three year term: roots of the charism and future horizons.

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