OLRT Meets!

OLRT_2010

(clockwise from top) Joanne, Julie, Lorna, Isabella, Susan, Chris, Marceta and Mary

What do you call the first ” in person” gathering of a community that has been meeting daily online for five years? Is it a reunion? But, technically, don’t we have to meet first to have a reunion? We  already know each other face’s from photos, voices from phone calls, and spirits from the daily sharing of our prayers and life. But this was our first ‘in the flesh’ visit….an incarnational moment. And what a moment it was! Maybe one day I’ll be able to put this moment into words, but all I can do right now is savor it

We were given an incredible welcome by the the Marianist Brothers of Ballybrack. They have wined us, and dined us, and even provided us with some local Irish talent, Sean Frayne,  for an evening of song and laughter. Sean is an alumnus of St. Laurence school. And, thanks to Susan, our days are packed with sight-seeing and fun.

Last night, we gathered for prayer and shared gifts and items brought from home.  We joined Pati in Philadelphia via a Skype call, wishing she could have been with us. Joanne and Chris suprised us with a new OLRT logo. The ceramic version is in the group picture above. Joanne also gave us each a carved, wooden symbol to take home. This morning, we finally had a community lectio prayer in person. It was amazing to hear the voices and see the faces.

Mary shared her excitement at finally being together for Eucharist. We gathered with the Brothers to celebrate the feast of St. Catherine of Siena – lovely timing! During our shared homily, the immensity of the moment was felt by all. We were touched to hear the brothers speak of their happiness to be part of our retreat, as much as we were happy to be with them. Yet another great moment of Marianist family spirit.

As usual, I’m writing this blog late in the evening and we’re getting up early tomorrow for a trip to Dublin. Hopefully I can post more tomorrow. I need to get a good group shot of all our hosts….with another dear friend who’s visiting from the other side of the pond!

Thank you to all who are sending best wishes and prayers!

Ireland Retreat!

(Top left) Isabella Moyer (Canada), Marceta Reilly (USA), Pati Krasensky (USA), Christine Suriano (USA), Joanne McCracken (USA), Lorna Mueni Kilonzo (Kenya), Julie Aherne (Australia), Mary Harven Gorgette (France), Susan Buckley (Ireland)

I belong to a ‘cyber’ Marianist Lay Community called Our Lady of the Round Table. The original members met online in May 2005, during the North American Center for Marianist Studies (NACMS) online course on Marianist Community, facilitated by Carol Ramey. We felt a strong bond of community through our online discussions and wanted to build on the experience. I had been sharing my daily lectio prayer and reflection by email with a dear Benedictine friend, Sr. Grace Kowolski, OSB. We used the daily liturgical readings. The format was simple. We posted a line from the readings that would be our inspiration for the day. We shared briefly why these words spoke to us – what was God trying to say to ME? And we shared the prayer that was the result of our meditation. This worked very well for Grace and me. We wondered if this format would work for our new community. Well, almost five years later, we can say that it’s working rather well! J

Our community became more global over the years. We remained faithful to our daily practice, although we all share times of being a ‘lectio cheat’! These are the days when we are unable to post a prayer, yet are nourished, supported and inspired by the prayers of others. Our global membership and diverse time zones also means that prayers pop in to the computer throughout the day. We have had a window into different parts of the world as we have shared our local reality and culture. We have embraced the prayer needs of family and friends around the world, and have been blessed with many prayers answered. Although we meet online, we are truly a community.

Tomorrow I’m travelling to Ireland for our first OLRT retreat! Some of us have met before, but this will be the first time we will all be together. (Pati is unable to be with us, but we’re planning to have a Skype call on Wednesday.) It’s going to be a grand reunion!

Two very special people will be with us in spirit. Bro. Walter Oberster, SM was a founding member of OLRT. He died January 11, 2006. We were blessed to share his last days through his prayers. We felt his spirit with us when we decided to be an intentional Marianist Lay Community on February 2, 2006. And my dear friend and mentor, Sr. Grace, died on July 4, 2009. I still miss her daily, expecting her lectios to pop up in my email box. How I wish I could share this experience with her. She would be tickled by it! I know that the love and prayers of Walter and Grace will be with us. They will surely be smiling in that great communion of saints!

If I can, I’ll try to send some wee updates from Ireland.

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

vocationsMarianist Family resources for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (April 25, 2010) are now available in English, Spanish,  French and Portuguese (on Spanish site) at  www.marianist.org.

We pray as one family, in union with the Church, for an increase in numbers of faith-filled and committed priests, religious sisters and brothers, and lay women and men throughout the world and within our own Marianist Family. And may our own vocations be blessed with renewed energy and hope-filled joy!

Visit to Neepawa!

David, Fr. George, Michael, Isabella

David, Fr. George, Michael, Isabella

David and I are enjoying a lovely spring weekend, made all the more enjoyable with a visit from Fr. George Cerniglia and Michael Chiuri. Fr. George (US Provincial Council – Religious Life) came to Winnipeg to visit Michael, an SM Aspirant, and our Marianist Brothers: Archbishop Raymond Roussin, Fr. Luis Melo, Fr. John Kratcher and Bro. Joe Andre. We were thrilled that a trip to Neepawa was on their itinerary. (Neepawa is 200 km away from Winnipeg – a two hour drive.) I’ve known George for many years both on the North American scene and from his years on the General Administration in Rome. We’ve stayed in touch through email, but our paths haven’t crossed in almost four years. As the four of us shared stories, news and life, we bounced back and forth from deep conversations to rib-busting laughter…..in true Marianist style!

As I sit here relishing our time together, I’m also thinking about the meaning of visits. Mary models a deep sign of love and friendship through her visitation to Elizabeth. Visiting requires taking time out of your routine. It requires effort, cost, and sacrifice – especially when traveling many miles. Today, we are blessed with many means of communication that keep us connected and help us to form bonds of friendship across the miles. These are valuable gifts, and we try to use them to the best of our ability. But, you can’t beat an actual face to face visit. I’m not sure who was happier in our Nairobi meeting, the hosts or the visitors. We all experienced the joy of giving and receiving hospitality. The joy of sharing lives, cultures, stories…..and laughter!

I hope that I can somehow translate this reflection into concrete action. As the MLC International Team, we don’t have the resources or the ability to do the visitations that our Sisters and Brothers of the FMI and SM do. I marvel at the miles they travel, and the experiences they share with us. We are unable to do the same, but we should perhaps explore ways to do more than we do.

News and updates April 2010

Dear friends,

Happy Easter to all! I have a new Marianist friend here in Canada. Michael Chiuri is an SM Aspirant and has just spent his first winter in Winnipeg while waiting for a visa to the USA. He will join other aspirants in Dayton to begin his novitiate. Michael is originally from Kenya, and has studied and worked in California. He has just spent his first winter in Winnipeg. We have all teased him about his true exile experience! But, surviving a long, cold winter makes you appreciate the warmth and new life of spring – our traditional Easter symbols. We are still waiting for the buds to appear, but the snow is gone and we are rejoicing in the promise of warm days ahead and the bursts of color to come!

The work of the International Organisation of Marianist Lay Communities continues to keep our leadership team busy. We are finalizing our financial reports for 2009. It has been a bit more difficult during the transition time between the old and new leadership teams. But we hope to have it completed soon. In Nairobi, the assembly agreed to work together to encourage all countries to give annual dues for the work of the IO-MLC. And we, as a team, are committed to producing a regular annual report. Once we have this first report completed, the following reports should be much easier. Thank you to Iñaki Barrio (past European Responsible) for his continued help with our finances!

Our Regional Responsibles -Félix, Isabel, Ernest and Susan – continue to work hard within their regions sharing news, making connections, and forming strong relationships with national responsibles and others in our Marianist family. There is much work to do, and much to learn in the first year of their term….and they are all doing a super job. :-)

Progress is being made slowly but steadily on our web site at www.clm-mlc.org. We want to first post the basic information on each of our countries. We also want to post more national news, resources, and links to projects. We need your help! Information can be sent to webmaster@clm-mlc.org. We have just posted the information for the CLM Columbia at http://www.clm-mlc.org/Columbia.html . Gracias Diana!

The World Council of the Marianist Family (WCMF) has started a new initiative this year for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Responsibility for producing a reflection and prayer resource will rotate annually among our branches. The Society of Mary graciously agreed to produce the resources for this first year. Fr. Manuel Cortez was the author, and what a wonderful resource it is! The letter from the World Council explaining the initiative and the prayer resource can be found at www.clm-mlc.org on the home page for each language.

Work is also being done by the WCMF to produce resources for the Chaminade Year (beginning January 2011) to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Chaminade. Fr. André Fétis has been the moving force behind this work. A calendar of themes and resources for each month of the year is being finalized. We will soon be asking communities from each of our branches to produce the reflections and prayers for a specific month. Stay tuned!

There is lots of work, but the tasks are made lighter and more manageable by the prayerful support of our Marianist family. Thank you to all who sent warm and inspiring Easter greetings during this holy season. Your faith in our work gives us much energy. May the joy of the risen Jesus help us all to face our tasks with a radiant heart!

Easter Greetings

resurrection

Happy Easter

Joyeuses Pâques

FelizPascua


Deep within
death’s darkest despair
lies a simple promise…

I AM THE RESURRECTION !

I AM THE LIFE !

I pray that Easter hope will inspire and guide our Marianist family. United in our mission with Mary, may we always reflect the joy and peace of our risen Lord.

Happy Easter to you, your families, and your communities.

Affectionately,

Isabella Moyer
President
Marianist Lay Communities