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Br. Basilio and Br. François - January 21st and January 22nd

20/01/2006: General House

François and Basilio, two Superior Generals on the pathway to canonisation: François, direct inheritor of Marcellin, and Basilio, he who, in the years that followed the II Vatican Council, had to tackle a great work or renovation of the religious life, the style of life that is ours today.
In 2006, we enter the 125th anniversary of the death of Brother François and the 10th anniversary of the death of Brother Basilio. Basilio died on the 21st January 1996 and François on the 22nd January 1881. It is good to celebrate them both together; they lived the same Marist ideal and are for us models of fraternity.
Many testimonies tell us how Brother Basilio was a great worker. Night, for him, was made for work; sometimes it would be four o’clock in the morning and believing it useless to go to bed for one hour, he would go to the chapel and there, in adoration, wait for the community. Sister Maria de la Eucharistia, Provincial of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Ecuador accommodated the team for the Better World Movement of which Basilio was in charge; in a letter she wrote to him in Rome, she implored him to ensure that the light of his lamp not be confused with that of the dawn. Basilio, himself, recognised that he was “burning the candle at both ends” and that the price would be a shorter life. He would leave no letter without a response, or a brother in his problems: he would do all he possibly could to meet him and comfort him. He preached hundreds of retreats on prayer and wrote circulars, long or short but always profound and able to nourish the apostolic and spiritual life of the brothers. He was always ready for service and love. He would say “Love gives, it does not ask for anything!” He also gave himself without counting the cost. (Time of silence)
Brother François was Superior General for 20 years, He received from Marcellin a Congregation of 280 brothers and 48 schools; he placed in the hands of Brother Louis Marie a Congregation of 2086 brothers and 379 schools. With these numbers, we must consider the new houses of formation that had to be opened, the formators to be prepared, the young brothers to follow, a dense correspondence and formalities for the foundation of each new school and with what prudence he would have to advance. Under Brother François our Congregation covered all of France and overlapped into Belgium and England with the missions in Oceania continuing. He submitted his resignation in 1860 because he had exhausted all his strength in this astonishing growth of the Congregation. He would often end his letters with words of affection such as, “You know well brothers that I have always loved you tenderly!” He also burned the candle at both ends.

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