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Fraternity Champagnat

 

Irapuato - Mexico
Prov. México Central
Created on 1994 - 26

Fraternity Champagnat - Irapuato

Our fraternity arose out of the dialogue of a group of lay people who expressed to Br. Basilio Rueda their desire to live the spirituality of Champagnat. The “Jornadas Champagnat” which used to be organized at the beginning of the academic year with the teachers, and that allowed them to grow closer to the figure of Marcellin with his rich spirituality and mission, were the basis for the beginning of the fraternity, which adopted the name Champagnat, in response to the name of the school where some of the teachers worked.

It was on November 16, 1994 when a group of 16 teachers consecrated ourselves to God as lay Marists, at a Mass celebrated by our pastor and accompanied by the Brother Provincial, Joaquín Flores Segura. The promises we made on that occasion, constituted a formal commitment to living the message of Marcellin Champagnat, seeking in that way a form of apostolate and of personal sanctification.

At first our meetings were every two weeks, at which we dedicated about three hours to prayer, fellowship and reflection. The reflection on Marcellin and his spirituality resulted in two booklets that strengthened our unity, nourished everyone’s prayer life, and above all prepared us for the great event of his canonization A group of 12 of us made a pilgrimage to Rome for the event.

Our fraternity has twice had the responsibility of organizing the gatherings of the Marist Fraternities of Mexico, the most remembered one being the one held at the “summit of Christ the King” or “hill of Cubilete”, also called the “altar of the Nation” where the remains of many Mexican martyrs rest and for its Perpetual Adoration devotion. Present at this meeting were Brothers Luis Sobrado, Arturo Chávez de la Mora and Aureliano Brambila.

At the present time the fraternity is made up of 26 members: 12 men and 14 women. Seventeen of us work in the school. Five of us were part of the original group; for 17 years we have persevered in prayer, ministry and fraternal union. We are a very diverse fraternity, which gives great liveliness and a varied and rich inventiveness.

Beginning year 2010 the meetings have been held monthly and we have kept tightly to a calendar set up beforehand with definite themes, together with prayer life and fellowship. All the members participate in preparing the topics, setting up the dynamics, the prayers and the fellowship. The average attendance at the meetings is approximately 20 persons.

So that routine or custom doesn't overcome us, since seven years ago we have organized Retreats twice a year, where we have deeper experiences of prayer and we concentrate on topics of Christian formation. We are usually accompanied by a priest.

For us, to be part of the Champagnat Movement has always been understood as a means of sanctification, animated by the spirit of Champagnat and of our holy brothers who were distinguished by their love for Jesus and Mary.

Our ministries have also been very varied: from missions in poor communities, to attending to children with deficiencies or handicaps, teaching catechism, visiting the sick, youth movements... Marcellin continues his presence among us, widening his heart and multiplying his hands in those who love and follow him, knowing that is Jesus whom we serve in the way Champagnat did, following Mary as our model.

From the beginning, participating in the Champagnat Movement has been to have the conviction of a call from God to which we try to respond with the strength of the Spirit.

The experience has made us realize that the leader (lay person or Brother) needs to be totally convinced of the value of the Movement, to remain firm in the Faith and persevering in prayer, in order to sustain the generous and enthusiastic spirit of all the members. It is a very important element to maintain the spirit that animates the fraternity.

We have also come to understand that the Movement is not for everyone. A certain disposition of spirit is required and an ability to live together and to enjoy prayer and the things of God. We definitely see it as an authentic “vocation”.

What has also helped us to continue in the Movement is the communication that we have with Rome: Circulars, Noticias Maristas and other communiqués, in such a way that we feel we are a branch grafted to the old Marist trunk.

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