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18 September

Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Marist Calendar - September

International communities for a new beginning


Formation of the candidates according to the Program Lavalla200>

La Valla 200>

31/05/2017: Italy

The second group of Brothers and Laity destined to the International Communities for a New Beginning of the Program Lavalla200> began its formation at the end of April.  They will reside in San Martino a Monte, Italy until the end of June.  Then they will go to the Marist places, in France, where they will end this stage.   Brother Mario Meuti, one of the participants, describes for us the experience lived during these last weeks.   


After some days in Rome, from Friday, May 5, we are in San Martino a Monte, Municipality of Poppi, in Tuscany… We live in “Case Nuove”   a group of houses the property of the ancient Monastery of Camaldoli, which has been recently restructured, is well furnished and equipped, apt to lodge families during the holidays.  The view, the scenery around is most beautiful, with the typical Tuscany hills, and a few minutes away by auto is the city of Bibbiena, with a Shopping Center and all the necessary services, including a hospital.      

We are divided into four Fraternities, all with Brothers and Laity and in each one there is a woman.  Also the interpreters and the guests invited to animate the reflection and guide our experience as a group are integrated in one of them.  Each group has organizational and financial initiative:  from the kitchen to the prayer, to the expenses, to the organization of the house and of free time.  Officially we use two languages: Spanish and English, but in reality we have many other differences: at least 5 languages, very different habits and mentalities and it is a beautiful challenge to live together with 10 nationalities from all the 5 continents and also with great generational differences, because we go from Juliana, an Australian young girl 24 years old up to 72.   Someone at the beginning was worried because he was over 60 years old, but then he was aware that he was in good company….    

Every day we live together fundamental formative moments: two working sessions in the morning (from 9.00 to 12.30) and one in the afternoon (15.30-17.00), guided by persons of great depth and very well chosen.   We began our formation by three days of self-knowledge through the use of the Enneagram proposed by Br. Luis Serra;  we continued with three other days dedicated to deepen personal and community discernment, under the guidance (obviously ) of a Jesuit, specialist like Father Michael Pavulraj, Indian, professor in the Gregorian.  And then came Louise Evans, a lady from Gales who lives in Florence and for over twenty years she gives courses and formative sessions for top managers and entrepreneurs of multi-national companies, on relationships in intercultural environments.  She is a great expert of the so called non-violent communication and she is consultant in very important companies.     

In this third week we are living new relational and stimulating dynamics that involve not only the intellectual sphere, but above all the emotional and we are exercising ourselves in the discovery of what type of leadership we want to use in the new communities.  Here we will find ourselves living not only Brothers accustomed to having a Superior and a series of common Rules, but also young lay women and men, of other generations and different cultures and who ask us to live fully the Marist charism…  In this dynamics we are helped by Father Tim Norton, Australian, missionary of the Divine Word and at present Director of the Center of Nemi and Sister Salomé Labra Madariaga, Chilean Missionary Servant of the Holy Spirit. 

The objective of this formative work is to live already in conditions similar to that of the communities to which we will be called to form within a few months: Brothers and Laity in equal conditions, with the common desire of living a significant Marist life.   Everything up until now is centered on learning to live together and to enrich ourselves with our (notable) diversities.  In the next days, most certainly, more attention will be given to the mission: we know that it is to live for the “new beginning”, that is why many of us will go to create a Marist presence in places completely unexplored or to strengthen communities which have just been formed… In both cases it is a question of working in environments far away from our culture of origin and of constructing a project with marginalized boys and young people, without recognized rights, considered exclusively as a social “problem”.   

But at the present moment we concentrate on the present and we enjoy these days, in which free time and week-ends of rest are not missing, mostly lived with one’s own Fraternity.  Everything here seems beautiful to us, but…the adventure is only in its beginning!    

Br. Mario Meuti 

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La Valla 200>