Roma Day 4

(photo by Brother Michael McAward, SM)

We have completed our first day of meetings for the World Council of the Marianist Family. Reports were shared from all four branches: Marianist Lay Communities (MLC) Alliance Mariale (AM), the Society of Mary (SM) and the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (FMI). Catching up on family news is one of the greatest gifts of a Family Council.

General Chapters for both the SM and FMI took place this past summer. A common experience and motivation for both was the desire to deepen the collaboration within our Marianist Family. The Alliance Mariale will have an assembly in 2013. The Marianist Lay Communities will have their International Assembly in January, 2014.

The Society of Mary and the Daughters of Mary have begun visioning together for a mutual celebration of their upcoming bicenntenials. Like the Chaminade Year, it will be an opportunity for the entire Marianist Family to be united in thanksgiving for their common history.

We continue to prepare materials for two moments of common prayer during the year; the Marianist World Day of Prayer, and the World Day for Vocations. A discussion was begun on possible motivations for the current Year of Faith.


As always, we are grateful for the Brothers at Via Latina for their gracious and generous hospitality. The noon day Pranzo is always a pleasant break in the work. Good food. Good wine. Good friends, and good conversation….a touch of heaven!


Roma, Day 3


Manitoba, Canada had a major snow storm this weekend. Meanwhile, we’re enjoying sunny days in Rome, with 20C temperatures and flowers still in bloom. (Sorry, David!) But, there isn’t too much time to enjoy the scenery with the full agenda before us….

Today was devoted to preparing the agenda for our 6th International Meeting in Lima, Peru in January, 2014. Isabel Duarte skillfully guided us through a process to discern our goals and visions for the meeting. The theme of the meeting is “Faith of the Heart, in the Heart of the World”. We are all in agreement that the primary objective will be the sharing and witnessing of Marianist life and prayer as it is lived in the lay experience around the world. In this Year of Faith, we are called to deepen and re-energize our own faith in order to share it more joyfully and effectively with others. So, document and reports will not be the focus of our meeting.


The motivations for the meeting and the official invitations will be sent to all national responsibles in the coming weeks. We thank Isabel and our organizing team in Peru for all the work that has been done already. A location has been chosen, and task lists have been drafted. The preparations are well under way!

Tomorrow we will begin our World Council of the Marianist Family meetings. We are looking forward to welcoming the new members of the FMI and SM general administrations.



Roma Day 2


This line from today’s gospel was my inspiration for today….

“If you had faith the size of a mustard seed…”…you will look at this agenda, and look at the people around this table, and look at Mary seated here with us, and you will know that I, your God am with you too. And all will be well.

We had a full agenda, and with the grace of God we were able to complete it! As always, the regional reports were the highlight of the meeting. It is always good to hear of the many gifts in each region, and to share our challenges.

We also had the opportunity to share our personal struggles as we try to balance our Marianist tasks with our professional careers and family life. It was a graced moment of sharing, and strengthened even more our sense of comuunity. We thank Brother Domingo, our assessor, who nudges us to look beyond the tasks at hand to share from our hearts!

This afternoon, Brother Maximin Magnan, the new SM Assistant for Education, shared the history of the Marianist Family in Togo with us. We were inspired by the model of collaboration among the religious and lay communities in Togo.


This evening, we met with our seminarian brothers….a much loved tradition during our time in Rome. The discussion was lively, with many thoughtful questions and reflections on the role of our Marianist Family in the Church and world today.

Tomorrow, our meeting will focus on preparations for our 6th International Meeting in Lima, Péru.



Roma – Day 1


Our team began our week in Rome with a day’s pilgrimage and retreat. Our theme was The Year of Faith. Brother Domingo planned the day and prayers for us. We began with Mass at Via Latina, and then took the bus to the Vatican to participate in the Sunday Angelus. Standing in St. Peter’s Square is truly an experience of the universal Church.

As the noon bells rang out, all eyes turned to the famous papal window as Pope Benedict appeared. Roars of approval erupted from the crowd each time he spoke in a different language.


After pranzo, we returned to St. Peter’s for a prayer and meditation before the tomb of Blessed John XXIII. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, it was very special to spend time in thanksgiving for this good Pope’s inspiration and courage in throwing open the windows of our Church to allow the Holy Spirit to flow freely; through the Church and into the world. We read and pondered quotations on faith from Blessed Chaminade, and concluded by praying the Creed – our act of faith.


We ended our day at Via Latina, celebrating the joy and beauty of our faith by praying and pondering Mary’s own words…..MAGNIFICAT!

International Team Prepares for Rome Meeting

Front, Isabella R. Moyer, Susan Vogt, Ernest Kasongo

Back, Brother Domingo Fuentes, SM, Isabel Duarte Quapper, Félix Arqueros Pérez

The International Team of Marianist Lay Communities are preparing for our annual meetings in Rome next week. As usual, our time will be divided between team meetings and the meeting of the World Council of the Marianist Family. It is always a joy to gather as a Marianist Family with our sisters and brothers of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, the Society of Mary and the Alliance Mariale. We are excited to welcome the new members to the World Council: Sister Franca Zonta, FMI (new Superior General), Sister Ana Lúcia Góes, FMI (Assistant for Religious Life), Sister Gretchen Trautman, FMI (Assistant for Temporalities) and Brother Maximin Magnan, SM, (Assistant for Education).

The focus of our team meeting is two-fold. The first is the sharing of regional and national reports, which is always a source of energy for us. We are inspired by the good works that are being done by our Marianist Lay Communities, and heartened by growth around the world. It is good to hear all of your voices! We are also challenged to offer support and assistance as needed. These reports are very important, for they always decide the agenda for the coming year.

The second focus this year is the ongoing preparation for our 6th International Meeting of MLC in Lima, Péru in 2014. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Thanks to Isabel Duarte Quapper and our organizing team in Péru, the ground-work is being done on schedule. We now need to finalize agendas, delegate processes, funding, and ensure that all necessary communications are scheduled.

We have sad news. Our Regional Responsible for Africa, Ernest, is unable to attend our meetings this year. Due to a recent change in the visa process, we were unable to attain the necessary documentation in time for his travel. Travel restrictions for some countries are an ongoing challenge. We are a team that represents our international reality as an ecclesial movement in the church. When one of our regions is not present at the table, we are not whole. We hope to have regular contact with Ernest via telephone and Skype during the week. And, we pray that next year he will be present with us again.

We ask for your prayers, and assure you of our prayers in return. May our loving God continue to look kindly on our Marianist Lay Communities and our Marianist Family. And, may Mary be our constant guide and model as we continue to unite our efforts in her mission of bringing Jesus into the world.