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Héctor Gerardo Flores Mancera - México, Celaya

 

Prov. México CentralPersonal experiences

My name is Hector Gerardo Flores Mancera and I have worked at the Marist college of Celaya since 1982. I am currently the co-ordinator of the secondary in the establishment.

After having got to know the movement of EJE (Encuentro Juvenil de Espiritualidad), encouraged by Brother Alejandro Torres, he invited me to be part of the educational community of the school with the stringed instruments group (Rondalla); without any doubts and with a great deal of enthusiasm I accepted, firstly as a teacher of Rondalla and of musical groups; then as a teacher of Music, Geography, Spanish and Religion, and finally as the Co-ordinator of the secondary since 1991 until the present.

At the start it was a job that gave me great pleasure to fulfil. The work atmosphere, the family spirit, the closeness of people, the love of work, the unconditional support and the testimony of the brothers at this time, was without doubt what captivated my heart; I did not know yet that I had been touched by the person of Marcellin whom I discovered little by little and who captivated my life progressively in the work with young people, without haste, so that the Marist vocation could be born in me.

After some years of the discovery and examination of the Marist charism, during 1988 we formed the group “Remar” at Celaya and in Mexico. Until 1998, I actively took part in the movement, where I had the opportunity to accompany several generations. This stage of my life left me with an accumulation of very gratifying experiences, especially in the personal and spiritual domain, since with my wife we consecrated ourselves to this full time and “without limits”. We came to consider the movement as a way of life, a special call that the “Great Helmsman” (Jesus) made to us as a couple, since for ten years we did not have any children and that helped us to discover and find the pathway that the Lord Jesus was showing us at this time in our lives, as individuals and as a couple; we consecrated ourselves to young people. We served the young people with all our heart and with all our soul in the movement at the college and that also helped us to form ourselves as a couple who had not been given the gift of children until then.

During these years all the conditions had been favourable to the movement, which was considered by the Province of México Central as the breeding-ground of formators in youth ministry; the Brother Provincial, Joaquin Flores, greatly supported the movement; Brother Juan Ortiz launched it and encouraged it with all his devotion and as a consequence, being Director of the establishment, he made it the centre of the ministry of the college.

The experiences that I had the privilege of having were so numerous that I find it difficult to summarise them; however, what I can share as a testimony of my participation in the movement is that it was an effective means of renewing myself in faith and in my marriage, to serve, to share, to grow, to “love”. I feel it as a gift, a special gift that “the Great leader and Helmsman” put in my hands and I allowed myself to be seduced by Him.

Starting in 1997, I experienced some times of trials, of difficulty, of the cross faced with new realities of people with a vision that was different and foreign to the process that the College had built with so much effort. The lack of support for the movement and the youth ministry with the departure of Brother Juan Ortiz and other irritating situations which caused great disappointment concerning the principles and values that had been present throughout all these years, were factors that led me to make the decision to invest myself in other sectors. During this time, I learnt to understand the human fragility of religious, of people; the changes in criteria and the lack of vision or of continuity in the projects with the transfer of brothers in the schools.

The grandeur of God always manifests itself, even more so in times of sorrow which are united to love; He showed us a new pathway in our lives, a new call: to become parents and we thus received our two daughters in adoption. I understand today, as a special gift, that the spirit of Father Marcellin was present in this experience of adoption; to receive these children to whom love had been refused, and to transform ourselves into parents, in their house, in their home, as Champagnat had done as a true father for all.

In the evolution of the history of Marist College, Celaya, the brothers succeeded one another, in their majority, of an exceptional nobility through their human and morale quality and their witness, which enriched and left a legacy without precedent in the Community. My relationships with all, with their lights and their shadows, was positive and for me fundamental because they taught me their spirituality, the mission that we share, they as religious, I as a lay Marist, the same gift received and assumed in a different but complementary way; and still more, because they represent the living witness of Marcellin Champagnat among us, who animates, leads and encourages us to move forward.

There are many ways of serving and of working for the Kingdom. Today I continue to do this by my work, the education and formation of young people, by raising my daughters, my greatest treasure, as a spouse, as a Christian and in every place or in every person whom I can serve, doing good and always with the guide of the “Great Helmsmen” and the “Star of the Sea”.

This state of life (which is translated by a vocation of service to others, with young people, presence, work, learning with them, from them, attentiveness, advice, being with them, in class, in games, in meetings, camps, walks, recreation times, in their celebrations, in their life) makes the richness of the closeness of others gratifying and that is why it is worth giving your life for young people.

The pillars of this experience cannot not be anything else other than the same call of faith received from the Lord Jesus; the Good Mother; Marcellin and young people, the reason of my care and of my work, and the heart full of hope to do the will from which every good comes; in walking, struggling, in discernment, examining the signs of the times closely, praying and trying to welcome the mystery of God in my life.

This journey has consisted in delivering a good part of my youth, of my life with God, with this Marist stamp, leaving sweat and tiredness; gathering many memories, persons, seed sown and some fruit harvested; with a heart that is profoundly grateful and convinced that teaching, education and formation are some of the most noble missions to which someone can aspire; finally, in dreaming and being ready to follow the pathways along which the Spirit leads us.

____________________
In Him and in Her.
Héctor Gerardo Flores Mancera, Celaya, México
Marist Province of México Central