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25 Years of the Champagnat Movement at Notre Dame de l’Hermitage

12/10/2010: France - Photo gallery

«With Mary, we go in haste towards a new land». The fraternities of the province of theHermitage and some friends responded to this invitation of the last General Chapter by assembling at Notre Dame de l’Hermitage on 25/26 September.With Mary, just as Marcellin teaches us(1), we were, like the Apostles at the cenacle and the first Christians, invited to have but one heart and one soul in this place of peace.Going was not the same as coming to this house, for what we discovered there drove us to move ahead, to displace ourselves, in haste.On Saturday morning, the annual assembly of animators and brother accompaniers was exceptionally opened to everyone from the 12 fraternities present. There we perceived the signs of the Spirit through the different activities of the fraternities that year and shared in an exchange that was simple and full of reasons for giving thanks to God. Multiple well targeted actions in solidarity, passing through very Marist meetings between the different fraternities and going as far as opening to the local church which, in one case, brought eight new candidates to their fraternity. Persevering action paid off. The fruits of the European meeting at Guardamar were perceptible, when it came to replacing a member of the secretariate, by a new motivation for the animation of the Champagnat Movement in France. In celebrating the 25 years of the Movement, the proof of its vitality was certainly there.Going was also to move beyond the boundaries of our fraternities to welcome other lay Marist realities: the enlarged community of La Valla Mulhouse, the lay person responsible for the Marist Trusteeship in France and a head of an establishment, the lay Marists of Catalonia, to which Joan, the architect, belongs, the laity associated with the Marist spirituality of Jean-Claude Colin (Marist Fathers and Sisters).The new land could well be represented by the renovated Hermitage, which each was able to visit with a guide and get to learn more about more specifically in one of the 10 workshops on Sunday morning. Joan, leaving aside the architect’s technical presentation, transmitted to us a message full of spirituality and generosity of his heart about his experience on the work site, with the community and the contractors, forming an amazing symbiosis. Did not the workers make a painting with a proverb and inscribe their names? Champagnat lay Marists, we were very much at home here in the renovated house. Thanks to Joan and to all today’s community.At various times, Brothers Antonio Ramalho, delegate of the Superior General, Javier Espinosa of the Bureau of Laity, both coming from Rome, and Maurice Berquet, provincial of the Hermitage, recalled to us a little of the history of the creation of the Champagnat Movement, of its accompaniment, and of its place today, following the XXI General Chapter. The Sunday celebration and the final meal, with the anniversary cake, were inspiring times of communion for the participants.For each one to discover the new lands where the Lord is waiting for them. May Mary and Champagnat guide them in their discernment._____________1. Letter of 24 August 1835 calling the Brothers to gather at l’Hermitage de Notre Dame, quoted in the invitation.

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