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Rufine Lalatiana - Madagascar, Fianarantsoa


Marist Province of MadagascarPersonal experiences

The life of the Brothers

I started working in a Marist Brothers’ school as a language teacher. I was familiar with other religious communities, but the Brothers’ was more recent, and among these is the School of San Pedro Chanel. My appreciation for the Brothers derives mainly from the simple and generous lifestyle that they follow in all their activities with regard to children and youth. This generosity and love for youth are both a stimulus and a help in the efforts that young people should put into their studies; the Brothers also make every effort to instil in them the principles to live an honest life and to know how to live in society; they begin with prayer, because in these days many young people abandon the church and frequent dangerous places, in spite of having received a good education when they were in the primary classes with the nuns.

Mary and the Father Champagnat

For me, the Brothers are a model and they have influenced a great deal of my life, the children and the people that surround us. After two years absence, I returned to the school of Fianarantsoa where they had transferred my husband, and there I re-discovered the atmosphere and the way of life of the Brothers. It is for me a sign of Mary’s love that fills my heart and I pray that I never abandon her nor do anything that I shouldn’t. It is in the Marist fraternity that I feel happiest and comforted in spite of the loss of my husband in the city that I have just mentioned.

The life of Father Champagnat is for me a light and above all a dream that becomes a reality for me and for those who follow in his footsteps: Jesus Christ and his gospel. As I suggested at the beginning of my testimony, the love of Mary is like an obsession for me, as it was it for F. Champagnat. The motto Everything to Jesus for Mary, Everything to Mary for Jesus is something very important to keep in mind, because it is a very useful motto for us seculars who are in permanent contact with the Marist Brothers. With them and from them I have learned much of what it is to be Christian and I have understood the love that Mary has towards me. For that reason, I dare say that Mary truly loves me and that I love her with all my heart.

Marist Camp

The International Year of Marist Vocations closed at the same time as a Marist camp which we held in 2005 in Antsirabé. The fact that I was elected as coordinator was not a surprise! It was Mary who sent me! It was yet another grace that I received from her!.. The purpose of the camp was to encourage vocations, secular as well as religious. It was also a good opportunity to make known the life of the Brothers in Madagascar and above all the life of the Founder.

The Marist mission

The Marist mission in the world has greatly helped to open my eyes. The motto ONE HEART, ONE MISSION still beats in my heart, and in a special way I was happy to have participated in the work of synthesis carried out in the Marist centre of Antsirabé, the culmination of all the meetings organized with that objective.

I do not have any problem, and I never will have, in following the life of the Brothers in the congregation of the Marist Brothers; this life is a true area for intellectual, moral and spiritual life. I would encourage all those who want to follow the Marist lifestyle to forge ahead and not look back towards other situations, because the temptations are great in this day and age.

Rufine Lalatiana, Collège Saint Pierre Chanel, Fianarantsoa, Madagascar
Marist Province of Madagascar