Feast of the Annunciation

annunciation3Luke’s gospel account is overflowing in richness. There are so many words to pray with, and so many aspects within the story to meditate on. At the center of the story is a woman. She is a woman of deep faith. But, her faith is not a blind one. When she is presented with a situation that is difficult to understand, she is perplexed. In her perplexity she doesn’t immediately reject the impossible. She ponders, trying to connect mind and heart to make sense of what is going on. Her fears are assuaged by the words of the angel, yet she is still perplexed. So she questions. How can this be? For most of us, the answer that Gabriel gives wouldn’t make belief any easier. Yet, because Mary’s mind and heart are already attuned to God’s will, she is able to recognize the voice of the Divine inviting her into the unfathomable mystery of the Incarnation. Because she was “open to the action of the Holy Spirit” she was able to say YES.

When I read the annunciation gospel, I am heartened to know that Mary was a woman who was perplexed and questioned what she did not understand. We have much to be perplexed about. We have much to question, both in our world and in our Church. In recent weeks we have shared the sorrow and suffering of our sisters and brothers in Haiti and then in Chile. How can this be? Within our Church, a seemingly unending stream of sexual abuse cases around the world is making head-line news each day. The credibility of some Bishops, Priests, and the Vatican is questioned. How can anyone harm a child in such a horrific manner? How could leaders in the Church cover-up the evil, allowing it to spread? How can this be?

As Marianists, we join Mary in her “Yes” to God’s will, whatever it may be for each of us. But, the “Yes” takes hard work and perseverance. We pray so that our hearts will be open to the Holy Spirit. We share our fears, so we may gain courage and support from each other. We face the many perplexities and questions, without being overwhelmed by them. Together we study and ponder them so we may discern right and just action.

And, with Mary, we offer ourselves…….

“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”

Faustino and Vocations

FaustinoThe second Challenge presented to us at our International Meeting of MLC in Nairobi in 2009 was to increase the number of youth Marianist Lay Communities. Many young persons around the world are introduced to the Marianist family through the life and witness of Faustino Pérez Manglano (1946-1963). Fr. André Fétis, SM has devoted the March, 2010 edition of Voc SM to Faustino. Faustino is an inspiring, spiritual hero and model for Marianist youth groups around the world. His promise to pray for vocations in heaven has been fulfilled and witnessed in many lives. Voc SM includes a personal story by José María Salaverri, SM, friend and long-time promoter of the cause for Faustino’s beatification. There are also reports from various Friends of Faustino groups around the world: Zambia, France, Brazil, Chile, Haiti, Québec, and the Ivory Coast.

Voc SM is available at www.marianist.org in ENGLISH, ESPAÑOL, and FRANÇAIS.

Community of Talca, Chile

mchileSr. Patricia Acuña, FMI, shares a first-hand account and photos of the earthquake in Chile from the community of Talca. Talca is situated 250 km south of Santiago, near the epicentre of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake of February 27th. The roof over the Sister’s kitchen and laundry room collapsed, and the second floor wall of their neighbour’s house fell on theirs. Thankfully everyone was safe. Sr. Patricia describes the days after the earthquake, and the deep faith and hope of the Chilean people….

Four historical churches were demolished, but the living temples are those which are more important at this moment and will be those who with work, strength and love will raise other churches where our faith can continue to be celebrated. Just today, a group of lay Marianists, accompanied by Sisters Adelia Villar and Marcela Espinoza, went with aid of food, shelter and water to one of the summer mission sectors, which is in lamentable condition…

Nature showed us her power, the earth shook us up, the sea devastated us, and we say like Habakkuk: “Lord, in the earthquake grant us your mercy,” and thus it has been. In the ruins the people are bewailing the fallen, and it is here that the essential is the interior life, which is what will rebuild a people en marche, so that the future generations may enjoy the beauty of a coastline with beautiful and crowded beaches and a beautiful city called Talca.

We remain united in prayer and solidarity with all our sisters and brothers in Chile.

Sr. Patricia’s newsletter is available in ENGLISH, FRANÇAIS, and ESPAÑOL.

MLC Malawi News

Mrs. Evangelista Kishombe

Mrs. Evangelista Kishombe

We received the sad news today of the passing of Mrs. Evangelista Kishombe of Karonga, Malawi on February 28th. Evangelista was one of our East Africa observers at the Nairobi meeting this summer. In sharing the news with me, Lorna Mueni described Evangelista as a “beautiful person both in her soul and physically.” We join our sisters and brothers of Malawi in prayer. May our loving God and all the saints welcome Evangelista into her eternal home. And may Mother Mary wrap her veil of comfort around all the family and friends who mourn her loss.

Isabel Duarte – News from Chile

Isabel Duarte, CLM Regional Responsible Latin America

Isabel Duarte, CLM Regional Responsible Latin America

We have just received the following message from Isabel Duarte in Chile. Isabel and her husband Freddy are past National Responsibles for the CLM Chile. Isabel is now a member of the International Team as the Regional Responsible for Latin America.

Queridos hermanos:

El terremoto y el tsunami ha desvastado cientos de kilómetros en nuestras costas y también en el interior. Las reacciones de algunos grupos de vándalos organizados ha sido un terremoto moral que nos ha desvastado por dentro.

Agradecemos infinitamente la preocupación y el cariño de todos.

De la familia marianista en Chile los más afectados son los que viven en Linares (laicos y religiosos) y Talca (laicos y religiosas), dos ciudades fuertemente afectadas. La comunicación aún es difícil y no tenemos datos completos, sabemos que ha muerto Ilse del Campo, alumna de 8º Básico del Colegio de Linares; Vania Yánez, exalumna del Instituto y que terminó en el 2006 y la Sra. Lily de Abrahán, mamá de muchos exalumnos.

Necesitamos fuertemente de vuestras oraciones, para reconstruir nuestras casas y carreteras, y reconstruir también nuestra alma nacional.

Permanecemos unidos en la oración al Padre, de la mano de María.

Un abrazo a cada uno,

Isabel

(Google Translation)

Dear Brothers:

The earthquake and tsunami has devastated hundreds of miles along our coasts and inland. The reactions of some organized groups of vandals has been a moral earthquake that has devastated inside.We endlessly thank the concern and affection of all.

Of the Marianist family in Chile the most affected are those living in Linares (secular and religious) and Talca (secular and religious), two cities hard hit. The communication is still difficult and we have no complete data, we know who has died Ilse del Campo, a student at the College Basic 8th Linares; Vania Yañez, alumnus of the Institute and graduated in 2006 and Ms. Lily Abraham, mother of many alumni.

We strongly need your prayers, to rebuild our homes and roads, and also rebuild our national soul.

We remain united in prayer to the Father, from the hand of Mary.
A hug to everyone,
Isabel

Earthquake in Chile

ChileEarthquake.php

Fr. José María Arnaiz, SM, Regional Superior of Chile, has written a report and reflection on the recent earthquake. It can be read online in VIA LATINA in ENGLISH, FRANÇAIS, and ESPAÑOL.

Sergio and Marta, our National Responsibles in Chile, wrote the following update:

Te cuento que ha sido una tremenda tragedia, sobretodo para la gente del sur de nuestro país donde fue el epicentro. son ciento cuarenta y siete las víctimas fatales hasta este momento, al interior del Movimiento a la fecha no se ha tenido información de alguna víctima fatal perteneciente a las comunidades. Daños en las viviendas y rotura de enseres ha sido lo más generalizado en las pérdidas materiales, hay sectores sin servicios básicos aún, muchos países han ofrecido su ayuda solidaria. Para los chilenos este tipo de desastres no nos es desconocidos y la solidadidad entre vecinos y familiares se hace presente con mucha fuerza.

Te agradecemos tus sentimientos y las oraciones que las Fraternidades puedan elevar a Dios Padre por la intercesión de María Santísima por nuestro pueblo.

Un abrazo fraterno y muchos cariños a las Fraternidades de España.

Unidos en espíritu a través de nuestros Fundadores.

Sergio y Marta

We remain united in prayer, support and family spirit with all our Marianist Family in Chile. May our loving God grant the people of Chile safety in the after-math, and courage in the difficult days ahead.

We will share any news and updates as they come.