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Restructuring seen from the point of view of other institutions

 

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VIII General Conference

23/05/2007: General House

Today has been a special day regarding the reflection about the processes of restructuring and regionalisation. Brother Seán Sammon began his talk by remembering different positive events that are taking place in the Institute and by describing some of his concerns. He wondered, “Do we really believe that the same spirit of God who was so active in Marcellin Champagnat is longing to live in us and breathe life into us?” He himself gave the answer developing it in three areas: the spirituality of restructuring, our identity as evangelisers and clarifications about identity.
These were his final words: “Our place as religious in the Church is among those on the periphery, reminding the Church of its true identity. Let us pray to the Lord that he will give us his grace to be able to continue to go on developing that mission, and let us pray also that our hearts will be transformed so that we may find the courage, hope and faith necessary to travel the pathway of renewal that lies ahead of us.”

In the afternoon there was a panel of presenters. These included David Hawke, FSC, New Zealander, ex-Provincial of the Brothers of the Christian Schools of the Province of Australia and currently the Regional Superior of Asia; Séamus Finn, OMI, North American, delegate for justice and peace in his congregation and Carlos Azpiroz, OP, Argentinean, Master of the Order of Preachers. Brother Seán opened the forum for questions as the first part of the panel. The subjects that arose referred to the new changes introduced by restructuring and regionalisation, the processes that have been developed, the role of the superiors in these processes, the different types of restructuring and regionalisation that have been implemented, etc.

Subsequently, the Conference members took their turn to ask questions. These were some of the contributions heard in the answers:

Any juridical organisation needs the pre-juridical and the meta-juridical, but the answer is theological: the mission. Restructuring must be in the service of mission. But we have no right to claim the mission as ours alone. What do we have that has not been given to us? So, any process of restructuring and regionalisation must be organised as a service to the charism and the mission. To be faithful to the charism and the mission. No one can claim the mission as theirs alone and use restructuring as an obstacle to prevent further progress for the one who wants to go ahead.

The processes of corporations usually have many logistics and they are slow. On the contrary, their leaders are pragmatics and they seek efficiency and satisfaction in the accomplishment of their objectives. We can learn from them to apply it to our institutions. But historical moments are not a copy or a cloning but a gestation.

In a reflection about the position of the older brothers in the restructuring of a Province of the Dominicans, this idea surfaced: Many brothers long for the years when they will be pensioners because laws force them to retire from educational work. But their religious profession was made forever. The brothers are the heart, the memory and the guarantee of the charism. The fidelity of a religious to the charism of his Institute does not allow for the situation of a pensioner. Mission continues to be a challenge.

The Regional Superior of Asia of the Brothers of the Christian Schools talked about the consultation and information carried out among the brothers of a complete region in the process that they have implemented. It was a very specific contribution that can be useful as a reference for the reflection of these days.

At the time when solutions were being suggested they talked about co-responsibility, flexibility, going to the heart of the questions that arise and fostering mutual confidence.

The session finished with some beautiful words of gratitude by Father Carlos Azpiroz, a former student of the Champagnat College in Buenos Aires: “Thank you brothers, because in the nine years that I was at school you gave me spirit, the value of words and the love of Mary.”

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