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Francophone Third Age Group at Notre-Dame de lHermitage

08/10/2007: General House

Its become traditional--happy tradition!--to offer the groups returning to Marist sources a stage of a few days at Notre-Dame de lHermitage, to live intensely in the different places of our origins.
Marlhes - Le Rozet - La Valla - Maisonnette - the Hermitage: so many names that ring in the ears and hearts of every Marist. But to see once again Marcellins room, to walk in the paths he took and in which he sweated, to touch the rock he split, to gather around the table of the first Brothers, to stop in front of the valley which stretches out under the hamlet of La Chaperie (the Memorare in the snow) or in front of the plaque which recalls the Montagne episode: a thousand and one intense moments which make us relive this past always present to us, which evoke a host of feelings and call us to actualize and perpetuate this charism which is ours.

These places of our origins stretch out over a few dozen square kilometers. But Marist history goes beyond these geographical limits. Thus, we were able, at Notre-Dame du Puy, to relive Jean-Claude Courveilles inspiration--which we cannot blot out from the project of the Society of Mary. At Fourvière, even if the restoration of the old chapel prevented us from getting close to the altar of The Pledge, we were able to spend a good bit of time in communion with this foundational event of our religious family. The house at St-Genis-Laval has even been restored in our history, thanks to a deeply appreciated visit, thanks to our very well informed guide, Bro. Lucien Bosse, and to a Eucharistic celebration deeply felt with our Brothers retired in that house - be it said in passing - tastefully restored.

Talking just now of this guided visit to Saint-Genis and Fourvière, we have to highlight the contribution and availability of the welcoming community at Notre-Dame de lHermitage, especially Brothers Alain Delorme, Jean-Pierre Destombes and Maurice Goutagny, all of whom accompanied us the entire length of this pilgrimage to our Marist origins. And in spite of his many tasks, Brother André Lanfrey gave us two full days to help us reread certain episodes of Marist history in a new light, based on more recent research. Even the Vice-Provincial of the Province of the Hermitage, Brother André Déculty, took a fair bit of time out to describe the project--impressive--of renovation of this reliquary of Father Champagnat: no doubt that the new Hermitage will foster an in-depth renewal in the Brothers and deepen the Champagnat charism in lay people and youth in contact with these places.

To finish, all the confrères in the Francophone Third Age group of 2007 want to thank the community of Notre-Dame de lHermitage for having, by their fraternal welcome and constant presence, facilitated our stay and fostered a climate of intimacy favorable to reflection and prayer. Our thanks equally to Brothers Gaston Robert and Maurice Goutagny, responsible for this session, who knew how to organize this intense time which we are not about to forget.

Gilles Hogue, fms


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