Prophets with Mary for a New World

The Chaminade Year Resources for December provide us with a wonderful reflection, Like Chaminade, Prophets with Mary for a New World. Roger Bichelberger, CLM, offers an inspiring description of the prophetic role of our founder, of Mary, and of all of us who bear her name. Here are some excerpts,

Prophets are those who keep their eyes and ears wide open to the surprising and new invitations/incitements that the Lord never ceases to address to them. “Nova bella elegit Dominus”, Chaminade repeated. The Lord is constantly choosing new ways of doing battle…

Prophets are those who refuse to let themselves be hemmed in by the past, by routine or by timidity…

Prophets are those who will have the courage to experiment, to live provisionally. They will certainly need to relearn how to live in a tent like our ancestors in the faith, to be a people always on the march toward new horizons…

In short, Chaminade proposes to us to be prophets with Mary, the first “modern” woman, a woman for our times…

The prophet is mandated for the establishment, in the heart of the old world, of a new world: the world, according to the word of the Apostle, of the “Joy which is to come.” Joy which is Christ, this Christ to receive whose coming we prepare during this time of Advent…

It was on December 8th, 1800, that Blessed William Joseph Chaminade gathered the members of the Congregation of the Immaculate. Today is the Patronal Feast Day for our Marianist Lay Communities and the Daughters of Mary Immaculate. May Mary, who was graced so generously by our loving God, continue to guide our Marianist Family. And with her at our side, may we be courageous and faith-filled prophets in our Church and in our world. A happy and blessed feast day to all!

Latin American CLM Meet in Quito, Ecuador

The National Responsibles of our Marianist Lay Communities in Latin America are presently meeting in Quito, Ecuador. The goal of the meeting is to discern future actions based on present realities, in light of our Marianist charism. The meeting began with the highlights and challenges of the CLM in each country. Cecilio de Lora, SM gave a presentation on Marianist Charism Today . Monsignor Fausto Trávez, Archbishop Primate of Ecuador, gave a talk on the Challenges of the Latin American Laity.

Isabel Duarte Quapper, our Regional Responsible for Latin America, sends the following report. It is always a great and important event when the Marianist Family gathers to meet. May we unite in prayer with our sisters and brothers in Latin America for a blessed and fruitful meeting!

Queridas y queridos:

El día de ayer comenzamos nuestro encuentro de Responsables Nacionales de CLM de Latinoamérica, pidiendo al Espíritu Santo que nos iluminara, para alcanzar nuestro objetivo de construir líneas de acción en base a nuestra realidad y a nuestro carisma, enmarcados en los desafíos de la Misión Continental.

Compartimos las luces y sombras de las CLM en cada uno de los países y descubrimos grandes coincidencias, también algunas distinciones que compartir.

Luego iluminamos nuestra realidad con el aporte Cecilio de Lora sm y Monseñor Fausto Trávez, Arzobispo Primado del Ecuador, quienes nos presentaron el “Carisma Marianista hoy” y “Desafíos para los laicos latinoamericanos”, respectivamente. terminamos el día con una Eucar´sitía presidida por Monseñor Trávez.

Hoy estamos analizando nuestra realidad para identificar los desafíos que son comunes a todos nosotros.

Les agradecemos los saludos que nos han enviado y por sobre todo, sus oraciones, que la hemos sentido en la alegría, la esperanza y el espíritu de Familia que vivimos quienes nos hemos conocido acá.

Les ruego sigan pidiendo al Padre, para que nos envíe su Espíritu y seamos audaces para construir espacios y oportunidades de encuentro con Jesucristo, al interior de la Familia Marianista.

Un abrazo grande y fraterno,


Columbia – National CLM Meeting

Eighty lay Marianists gathered in Ibagué-Tolima from November 13 to 15 for a National CLM Meeting. All areas with a Marianist Lay Community presence were represented, including Bogotá, Guatica, Girardot, and Medellin. The theme of the meeting was ¨Chaminade, YESTERDAY, TODAY AND ALWAYS, 250 years¨. Participants shared how the Marianist charism of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade is lived out by lay men and women in society. Energy and joy was shown in song, billboards, mini-plays and other creative means. Eucharistic liturgies were celebrated. A rosary was prayed for the needs of each continent around the world -that love, faith, and hope in Jesus will allow all to achieve personal happiness and community and that the respect for life, solidarity and justice will prevail. On Sunday, a day of retreat reflected on the virtue of faith: `Be men and women of faith`.

We congratulate the CLM in Columbia for a faith-filled national gathering. May Mary continue to guide you in your deep commitment to her mission!

Photos and the full report are online at ENCUENTRO NACIONAL COMUNIDADES LAICAS DE COLOMBIA (CLM) IBAGUE 2010 .

Online Small Christian Communities

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Fr. Joseph Healey, a Maryknoll priest presently working in Nairobi. Fr. Healey is an avid promoter of Small Christian Communities in Africa and around the world. He has collaborated with Bernard Lee, SM and Bob Moriarty, SM. He recently visited Tony and Beth Garascia and the Shekan MLC in South Bend, IN and shared his present research into online SCCs. Tony told him of the Our Lady of the Round Table community, and he wanted to know more. We had a lovely email conversation that sparked a lively dialogue among the OLRT members.

Fr. Healey`s energy and passion for the gift of Small Christian Communities is inspiring. And, our international connections are awesome. Chris, a member of OLRT, found out that her dear Maryknoll Sister friend is a good friend of his. Lorna, our member in Nairobi, went to visit him within days and began sharing the MLC experience in Nairobi with youth from the Our Lady of the Visitation parish. This was all shared on the web-site and the SCC Facebook page. An interesting aspect of this initiative is it`s  invitation to be part of an online SCC, using a closed Facebook page. New methods for new times, indeed!

A surprising off-shoot from the energy of these past weeks is a new Blog from the Our Lady of the Round Table MLC. We have been sharing our daily lectio prayers for over five years. We discussed collecting some of our prayers into a book. But, the task seemed too onerous….there was too many prayers, and they kept piling up each day! The idea came to share our online prayer experience with others through a daily blog. The format is simple – one member`s prayer will be posted daily. No personal sharing or prayer intentions will be posted, to respect the confidentiality of the community. Our hope is that it will encourage others to pray the daily readings with us, and perhaps share their prayers, also. We also hope that it will provide a wee window into our online SCC as we learn more about this growing phenomenon around the world.

I invite you to visit us at .

Marianist Connections

David and Isabella Moyer, Pati Krasensky, Anne-Catherine Beaudoin, Michael Chiuri

David and Isabella Moyer, Pati Krasensky, Anne-Catherine Beaudoin, Michael Chiuri

Working with the Marianist Lay Network of North America (MLNNA) and the International Organization of MLC-CLM, we often discuss ways to connect with other Marianists around the continent and around the world. How can we improve our presence on the internet? How can we publish better newsletters and increase their distribution? How can we use new social media tools to form friendships and expand our networks? We need, and use, all these tools. And, we need personal initiatives to make intentional connections – one person at a time.

A couple of months ago, I received a lovely email from a woman in Paris. Anne-Catherine Beaudoin is a friend of Charles-Henri Moulin, SM. I work closely with Charli on the World Council, and he is a dear friend. Anne-Catherine was traveling to Winnipeg for an academic conference at a local university. Would I be willing to host her for a few days before her conference? The timing was great. Pati Krasensky (Associate Director of NACMS-Philadelphia Office) was coming to present a retreat to our local Marianist Family. Michael Chiuri (SM Novice) is staying with us while awaiting a visa to the USA. It was a golden opportunity for a mini-International Marianist meeting! Our time together was full of laughter and fun. We had many enriching conversations, sharing our multi-cultural experiences of our Marianist charism.

What can we do to help promote these wonderful connections? The first step is a simple but very important one. We need to have basic directories available. We need to know where Marianists live, and whom to contact. Making connections between two or more persons can quickly lead to larger connections. (We already have plans for using Anne-Catherine`s talents within our International Organization!) We are slowly building an International MLC Directory. The national pages on are being updated regularly as we receive the necessary information.

I encourage you all to be intentional in making connections with Marianist sisters and brothers around your country and around the world. Send an email. Post a comment on a Facebook page. Make a Skype call. And, if you`re traveling, be intentional in visiting any local Marianists. It will be a gift shared by all!

Ecclesial Movements in the Church

Isabel2-98x125Isabel Duarte Quapper, our Regional Responsible for Latin America, is attending the III Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities in Paraguay , September 2-5, 2010. This Congress is sponsored by CELAM, the Episcopal Congress of Latin America. Also attending are Fredy, her husband, and Kini Becerra from  CLM Peru. A questionnaire was sent to all delegates and participants prior to the Congress. These questions followed up on goals and issues discussed at the previous Congress. Each lay association was asked to identify the strengths and gifts as well as the challenges and weaknesses that they face as lay women and men in the Church and in the world. A summary of the responses was distributed. The answers are honest, direct, and reflect a serious pondering on the present situation of the laity in Latin America. You will see that our CLM have a strong and visible voice in Latin America! Thank you to Isabel and all the CLM leaders for their collaboration on this document. It promises to be a rich and vibrant dialogue at the Congress. We will be united in prayer with Isabel, Fredy, Kini, and all the participants in Paraguay.

Another important congress is taking place in Seoul, Korea from August 31 to September 5. The Pontifical Council for the Laity is holding a Congress for Asian Catholic Laity on the theme “Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia Today”. Sadly, we will not be participating directly in this Congress. But, we can join all our Marianist sisters and brothers in Korea, Japan, India and the Philippines in following its progress on the PCL web-site.

National, Continental, and International congresses for the laity are important opportunities for us. Our participation allows us to gather with other faith-filled men and women to dialogue, to pray, and to discern how we can work together as one Body of Christ in mission for the world. It gives us a voice at the ecclesial table and allows us to share our Marianist gifts more concretely in the Church. Our team continues to work on our continental and international relationships with the Church. And we can all work to form and nurture them on the local and national levels.

(Monsignor Miguel Delgado Galindo, of the Pontifical Council for the Laity has a Blog on Ecclesial Movements and their importance in the Church. It is in Spanish, but translates well with the Google instant translation tools.)

Gift in the Gathering

Assembly2010_logoThere is “gift in the gathering”! This term was used by my friend, Brian Reavey, at the SM gathering in Louisville last month. Today’s first reading tells us that “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in them.” (1 John 4). It’s easy to feel God’s love when surrounded by the love of family and friends. There is truly ‘gift in the gathering’.

David and I attended the 8th MLNNA Continental Assembly in Hawai’i last week. God’s presence was felt in the gathering, in the music, in the witnessing, in the dancing, in the sharing, and in the praying. And, of course, we gloried in God’s presence in the midst of such spectacular natural beauty.

We were blessed with the presence of our Korean Marianist family. Brother John Ko came with two younger SM brothers, Andrew and Joseph, and 12 lay Marianists. I happily reunited with our friend and Korean delegate from Nairobi, Sebastian. The challenges of language were overcome by the enthusiasm and joy of our sisters and brothers, especially in the richness of their singing. Thank you to Brother Dennis Schmitz who skilfully integrated Korean songs, prayers, and dance into our liturgies.

Thank you to Pi’ikea Hardy-Kahaleo’uni, Jeannie Pinpin and Sr. Yoo Soo Kim, MM for sharing their gift of culture and dance with us in the liturgies. Pi’ikea also introduced us to many aspects of Hawai’ian culture through talks and activities. We learned about the Hawai’ian language and the sacredness of chants. We made leis. We were cleansed in the early morning waves of the ocean. We visited a taro farm. We learned about Hawai’ian flowers. These were not the typical ‘tourist’ shows. Pi’ikea shared deeply and intimately from her heart to ours.


There was a rich variety of workshops to attend. On Friday we studied the diversity of lay Marianists, and resources and tools for our Marianist Lay Communities. On Saturday, the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative offered a wide range of workshops on social justice issues and action.

Of course, a huge Mahalo or thank-you goes out to Kay Stone, Jeannie, AJ Wagner (President) and the MLNNA leadership team, and all who worked so hard to organize the Assembly and ensure that all the details were looked after each day. It’s always difficult to explain the richness of the gift received in the gathering, but here’s a small attempt…

MLNNA Assembly Photos on Youtube

MLC Malawi Mourns

Prisca Chiwowa

Prisca Chiwowa

We join our brothers and sisters in Malawi in mourning the loss of Mrs. Prisca Chiwowa, wife of Mr. Israel Chiwowa.  Prisca was a member of the newly elected Council for East Africa (Education). Those who attended our Kenya meeting will remember Israel as one of our delegates from Malawi. May we unite in prayer and love across the many miles for the Chiwowa family and all who mourn the loss of our sister.

Josephine Njeri, MLC Kenya President, shares the following memories:

Greetings and peace of Christ to you all.

It’s so painful to accept the death of Prisca. I spent a considerable amount of time with her in our Regional council meeting. She kept us (Ladies) awake up to the late hours of the night, all laughing our hearts out even when we were already so exhausted. I sat with her and came up with a wonderful document on Spirituality. I walked with her in the Faustino garden sharing uncountable number of things.

Dear friends, I am urging you to remember Mr.Chiwowa. Not so long ago he lost his mother, and now his wife- the two most close women in his life. He needs your prayers and company. To my sisters and brothers in Malawi, may you find it in yourselves some moments to be with Mr.Israel Chiwowa. And the Marianist family at large, let us join our brother in mourning this beautiful and wonderful gift God had given us. Let us also have some moment of silence in honor of Prisca.

I cannot explain how I feel right now. All I have to say is that I thank God that I had a chance to share moments with Prisca. I will miss her.

She had a responsibility in the education office to make sure that we have a regional members’ register.  I knew she would do a perfect job, but look at what God has done, He chose her at this moment in time. It is painful my friends, painful.

May God rest her soul in eternal peace.

Together with Jesus and Mary.

Josephine Njeri

MLC- Kenya President

MLC-CLM Circular

International Organization LogoDear friends,

I have just completed a circular for our Marianist Lay Communities around the world. It’s called “Being Marianist, Being Family“. Our family spirit is an important aspect of our charism. It is also one of our greatest challenges. We are an ecclesial movement that spans the globe with a diversity of languages, cultures, gifts and needs. We are also part of a larger spiritual family that includes the Society of Mary, the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, and the Alliance Mariale. How do we take the inspiration of our family spirit and live it in practical ways? The circular, of course, does not provide all the answers. But, I hope that it will be useful for our present conversation and efforts to live more deeply our family spirit. I firmly believe that our Marianist Family is a model to be shared with our Church and our world!

Thank you to Carol Ramey, the Director of the North American Center for Marianist Studies (NACMS), for her guidance, advice, support, and help with the references. Carol is a long time friend and mentor whose deep knowledge and wisdom of Marianist things have helped to form and nurture me over the years.

Muchas gracias to Izaskun Arias. Izaskun has been a translator for the international team, the World Council, and our international meetings for many years. Her wisdom and insights come from observing first-hand our journey as a global Marianist Family. Her friendship and support are a real gift to me, and to all of us.

And mérci beaucoup to Mary Harvan Gorgette, my friend and OLRT community member. Mary provided the French translation and helped me to edit and polish the final draft with her scholarly mind and Marianist heart. Both Izaskun and Mary showed such care and commitment to ensure that the message remained true in the translations. For this I’m so grateful!

Ser Marianista, Ser Familia

Être Marianiste, Être Famille

CLM México

Our CLM in México have just completed their 7th National Meeting in Puebla de los Ángeles. Juan García Jiménez, the out-going National Responsible, shares the following report. We thank Juan García for his leadership service to the Marianist Family and welcome Sra. Mireya as the new National Responsible. Click here for photos from the meeting.

CLM Mexico

Nuestro VII encuentro nacional de la CLM fue realizado los días 1,2 y 3 de mayo de 2010,en la ciudad de Puebla, en la Casa de Retiros Villa Estela, los animadores de los sectores: Juan García Jiménez, Paloma Aylin Bañuelos Estrada y Ausencio Flores Carreón, fueron los responsables de organizar el encuentro. En dicho encuentro nos acompañaron como ponentes de los temas los religiosos marianistas: P. Quentin Hakenewereth, José Nicolás Castilla, Gobi Torres Nazario, José de Jesús Ruiz Santillán.

Debido a la situación actual que vive nuestro país al celebrar el bicentenario de su independencia y centenario de la Revolución Mexicana, compartimos un tema sobre las características de nuestra cultura mexicana y a través de esta cómo es possible encarnar el carisma de la cultura marianista.

El número de laicos marianistas ha ido creciendo, actualmente somos alrededor de 200 personas aproximadamente en el país, de ahí nace el interés de saber cómo organizarnos y de cómo llevar a la práctica la forma de gobierno en la familia marianista mediante los 3 oficios, por ello, el Hno. Jesús Ruiz nos dio una conferencia sobre la importancia de llevarlos a la práctica desde las pequeñas cosas que como familia vivimos cada día.

Otra aportación de suma importancia al encuentro fue el hablar sobre la espiritualidad de la oración de las tres que es parte de nuestra vida marianista en el mundo, el P. Quentin, nos habló sobre la importancia del dialogo que se da en el calvario en el evangelio según San Juan de donde nace nuestra oración de las 3 al pie de la cruz.

Nos reunimos con mucha alegría, fue un placer volvernos a ver después de dos años, nos dimos a la tarea de convivir, de orar y de celebrar con alegría el encuentro con Cristo a través de la Eucaristía. Compartimos nuestro folklor, nuestras canciones, fue un encuentro hermoso y esperamos que cada encuentro sea lleno del amor de María y de su Hijo Jesucristo, que nuestro trabajo durante estos próximos dos años nos lleve a compartir con más personas

el don de nuestro carisma.

Fraternalmente :

Juan García Jiménez