Our brothers of the Society of Mary are presently meeting in their General Chapter in Rome, from July 3 to 22, 2012. Presentations were made to the Chapter on Saturday, July 7th by Sr. Marie Joëlle Bec, FMI, Christiane Barbeaux, AM, and myself. We represented the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, the Alliance Mariale, and Marianist Lay Communities. We were asked to answer the following questions,
- What is the current presence and situation of the MLC in the world
- What are, for the MLC, directions of renewal and what are your missionary priorities?
- What do you expect of us as religious? How do you think we might better collaborate?
The MLC presentation was a compilation of responses from our MLC International Team. The regional reports were brief, but included slides with demographical information. Of course, numbers are only one dimension of a story. A Power Point Presentation showed the faces behind the numbers.
Brother Michael McAward kindly distributed the recent MLC Circular, Marianist Lay Communities: An International Community of Communities, to the capitulants before the presentation. Several brothers commented that the circular gave a good back-ground to the history and purpose of the International Organization. The theme of the SM Chapter is “Deepening our Marianist Life for a Globalized Marianist Mission.” It is good to be reflecting on the reality of our global Marianist Family.
Presentations are a valuable source of sharing and dialogue. But, I was reminded of a phrase used by a dear Marianist friend….the gift is in the gathering. It was a real gift to spend time with brothers from around the world, both old friends and new. It was good to reunite with brothers who had attended our International Meetings of MLC. Several were present in Santiago, Chile in 1993 when our International Organization was born. Our stories and histories are intertwined, reflecting the spirit of our Marianist Family.
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Fr. André Fétis and the Preparatory Commission for their kind invitation to attend this Chapter and for all the brothers who welcomed me so warmly. Gracias also to Brother Daniel Pajuelo Vázquez, the communications genius who saved my Power Point presentation at the last minute!
As always, a big thank you is sent to Brother Michael McAward, who has become a dear friend in these many trips to Via Latina. He always ensures that every detail of hospitality is taken care of, and does so with amazing organizational and creative skills. The Marianist Rome Facebook Page has many photos and updates from the Chapter. Please note the wall hangings, stained glass windows, and altar in the meeting room turned chapel. They are all Michael’s work, as is the design of the Chapter room in the main chapel.
To all our Marianist brothers…..be assured of our love and prayers as you continue to meet, to work, to discern and to celebrate the gift that is the Society of Mary!