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18 June

St. Elizabeth of Schoenau
1900: the first Brothers leave for Bom Principio, Brazil

Marist Calendar - June

Marist Bulletin - Number 35



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Nairobi, Kenya

Here at the MIC you will find the largest Marist community in the world right now: 66 Brothers enrolled in the post-novitiate program, accompanied by 12 Brothers on the faculty. A single family, as was Champagnat’s, enthusiastically testifying to unity and diversity with brothers coming together from 19 countries: Rwanda, Cameroon, Malawi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana, Madagascar, Central African Republic, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Chad, Canada, South Africa, Mexico, and Scotland. What a vibrant, youthful place!

This formation site was established in 1986, when the Conference of Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar decided to develop a centralized post-novitiate program in Nairobi. Brothers Luis García Sobrado from Spain and Eugene Kabanguka from Rwanda each served six-year terms as Rector. The present Rector, Brother Joe McKee from Scotland, has begun his second three-year term.

The Centre’s main purpose is to train our student brothers for their mission. It seeks to deepen and integrate their commitment as Marist brothers by means of religious and professional studies, all of this in an atmosphere that encompasses the requirements of university life as well as those of community life. From the very beginning, the curriculum has been formally recognized by the Urbaniana Pontifical University in Rome, and since last year, by the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

The Centre’s common language is English. French is also fostered, in various classes and in community prayers for two weeks every month. Kiswahili and other local languages are also used, mainly in liturgies, especially during the joyful celebration of Eucharist on Sundays, with the presence of families and friends from the surrounding area.

Our young Brothers undertake apostolic activities on a weekly basis, serving as catechists, working with youth groups, teaching in schools, and visiting hospital patients. Sports occupy an important place, with frequent participation in tournaments. Our brothers play soccer with a passion. Other schools are in awe of Team Marist because in recent years we have advanced to the quarterfinals and finals of the Inter-University Tournament.

Our brothers are organized into seven fraternities with names referring to our origins (La Valla, Maisonettes, etc.). One of the most notable features of these groups is “family spirit.” It is shown in the care given to brothers who are ill or having a hard time, and in being ready to help out with manual work, housekeeping, and preparing supper on Sundays, surely a privileged occasion in the fraternal life. This visitor can attest to the fraternal welcome that is always extended. Thank you, brothers of the MIC, for saying YES to your vocation and preparing the ground for an ever-brighter future for Marist life in Africa and Madagascar!

Visits concluded

Having met with all the brothers in Africa and Madagascar, six teams of visitors assembled with Brother Séan in Nairobi from the 21st to 25th of October to share their experiences. Then from the 25th to the 28th, the entire General Council met with Provincials and their Councils as well as with District Superiors accompanied by a member of their Councils. It was a time for pulling together ideas from this first extensive visit to the entire continent. Participants drafted a message spelling out the strengths and challenges that they found, and addressed it to all our brothers in Africa and Madagascar

Brother Seán attends funeral

Late on November 7th, 63 year-old Canadian Brother Réginald Racine died at the Hermitage in France from a powerful strain of malaria. He had just finished visiting our brothers in Africa, assisting the General Council in Madagascar, Congo, Rwanda and Kenya. Earlier in his life, Réginald spent two years at the Novitiate in Zimbabwe, and served as Provincial of Iberville. He is survived by his 98 year-old mother and numerous brothers and sisters. Together with them, our Canadian Marists have been in mourning. The body was returned to Canada for a funeral on November 18th at Marcellin Champagnat High School in Iberville. Brother Seán attended the service and has written a letter to Provincials explaining this sad turn of events.

Ivory Coast - Ghana

Our brothers from Ivory Coast have received an especially warm welcome from those in Ghana. They have been made to feel at home and given work in schools. You can see a serenity, joy, hopefulness, and concern in them, and a longing for peace to be established soon so that they can return to their mission at home. Their families are safe and each brother has been able to contact them.
Brother Paul, the Principal of our secondary school in Bouake, has returned to Ivory Coast. He is staying in a religious community in Yamoussoukro, and helping refugees as a Red Cross volunteer.
There is a shortage of food and medicine in the country. News from our two schools has been encouraging. They are not experiencing any unfortunate incidents these days.

Working group for upcoming retreats

Brothers Claudino Falchetto from Rio de Janeiro, Carlos Wielganczuk from Brazil Centro Sul, Antonio Peralta from Santa María de los Andes, and Eduardo Navarro from Western Mexico met in Rome from November 7th to the 9th with members of the General Council. They formulated plans for upcoming retreats in Brazil and the Cono Sur region of South America.

- The Congregation for Catholic Education has just published the document “Consecrated persons and their mission in schools. Reflections and guidelines.” In our next UPDATE, we will include more on this.
- On October 26th and 27th more than 60 brothers attended a conference on “Globalization and our practice of poverty” at the Hermitage in France.
- BIS has just published its booklet of prayers and reflections for Advent entitled “Voices of the Americas.”
- The latest data from UNICEF shows that up to 250 million children under the age of 14 are enduring forced labor throughout the world, mostly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The rule is virtually absolute: the greater the degree of poverty, the more the existence of child labor.

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