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St. Elizabeth of Schoenau
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Marist Bulletin - Number 302


Allowing experiences of Marist life - Br. Pau Fornells

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We learn throughout life according to our experiences in the family, school, with friends or at work, etc. … What we truly interiorise as values or anti-values is of an empirical, relational and affective origin, beyond concepts assimilated by reason. Different life experiences mark us positively or negatively, without denying the liberty and the capacity of the human spirit to modify them.

It is the same with the experience of charism, of spirituality and of the Marist mission. We are, we feel “Marist” because in our life there have been situations and people who have prepared a surrounding milieu for us, who have “touched” us with their Marist life, who have “contaminated” us with Marcellin’s spirit. If we want to propagate and deepen this spirituality, we must offer experiences that are meaningful, contagious, striking… that penetrate us, question us, urge us… so as to help what we perceive to be the voice of the Lord in our life. And that is worth a great deal for both brothers and lay Marists.

I believe that this is a duty of each Marist Province to offer to “those who are seeking and want more” a total range of possibilities of Marist experiences totally in line with this “newness” that the Spirit is working amongst us. And at the level of the Institute, in institutional solidarity, we should weave links that facilitate contact with this audacity of the Spirit that arises in many places, thanks to the generosity, openness and creativity of so many brothers and laypeople.

That is why it is with great joy that I want to announce that the Bureau of the Laity feels incited to offer, through our website, a service to all those who want it.

If you enter here, you will be already able to see the first of the experiences offered: the mixed Marist community of La Valla-Mulhouse, Alsace-France, which will soon have been in existence for eleven years and offers the possibility to laypeople and brothers to spend time sharing their Marist life: spirituality, mission, formation… as the XX General Chapter indicated in its third call. An experience lived in a community of adults (a couple and two brothers) or in the community of young people (two French, man and woman and a Madagascan). You can read the details and the conditions in the gift they make themselves.

I am sure that many other communities of brothers, fraternities of laypeople, mixed communities and other Marist realities can offer this same possibility to many people wanting to live them. We want to be bridges so that these offers can be concretised and made known.

We are only asking for certain conditions to be able to be published on our website:

1. That the experiences offered be legitimised by the Provincial Council of each Administrative Unit, as valid experiences of Marist life.
2. That the one who asks has a good vision of the Provincial structures of animation and government of his Province of origin: Brother Provincial, Provincial Councillor, Youth Ministry, Educational Ministry, MChFM, Solidarity, etc. …
3. Specify in detail what the experience consists of, what it offers and what it asks, without hiding details, difficulties, conditions… helping to concretise a clear profile of the candidate concerned. Clarify certain aspects such as: duration, finances, work, experience of faith, of fraternal life, of mission, etc. …

We really want an attractive presentation, with full information, illustrated by photographs, testimonies of experiences already realised, etc. …

The offers can present a great range of possibilities of duration: for one day, a weekend or a longer time (weeks, months, a school year, a year…) This can be solidarity experiences, but we believe that the greatest richness always comes from sharing life, faith, community or fraternity, insertion in the surrounding milieu and in the local Church.

Do not doubt that this service that we are starting and which can be linked to other Marist institutions of the Voluntary Movement and of Solidarity, will help a great deal with a better knowledge, development and creativity of the Marist charism, carrying us towards this new horizon on which the Spirit already has his sights set.

I wish everyone courage and creativity! Let us not stay closed in our local vision of Marist life. Let’s open our personal, local, Provincial barriers …! Let’s try to continue to construct “a heart that knows no bounds!”

Do you feel encouraged to offer these experiences? Do you dare to take risks to change the things that need to be changed in order to live out these experiences?

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