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A retreat centred on missionary spirituality

 

7th Ad gentes group

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04/10/2010: Philippines

The retreat for the members of the 7th AD GENTES group was held from 30 August to 4 September 2010 in the house of spirituality of the Franciscan Sisters in Davao (Philippines). It has become almost a tradition that this retreat is animated by the former Superior General of the Combonians, Fr. David Glendan, currently secretary of the Conference of Superiors General in Rome. This testifies to the spiritual and missionary quality with which Fr. David directs these retreats. In effect, these special days were centred on what we might call a « missionary spirituality ». In a simple but profound manner, Fr. David touched on important aspects of missionary life, for the brothers as well as for the lay people: they are « GRACES » in the biblical and theological sense of the term. Graces to ask for, since without them, the missionary is not in the spirit of the Church of God. Seven « graces » were mentioned, day by day, following the retreat themes. Moreover, Fr. David proved himself familiar with the Marist « literature » since he frequently referred to it. The retreat thus became a time strong in « Marist tradition ».The first day’s theme was prayer, with the following « grace »: the missionary is daily called to contemplate the world with the eyes and heart of God (cf. WfR 90).The second day’s theme was presence, with the « grace »: the missionary is called to develop a relationship with God, that becomes a daily source of spiritual renewal and apostolic dynamism, such as was the case with Marcellin (cf. WfR 18).Call was the theme of the third day, with the corresponding « grace »: that our missionary work be founded on the experience of feeling deeply loved by Jesus (cf. WfR 154). Mercy was the theme of the fourth day, with the « grace »:the missionary is one who feels at peace with him/herself, a person created by God (cf. WfR 36).The theme of the fifth day was the cross, with the « grace »: the missionary is one who is called to stay with Jesus in the hour of his passion and death (cf. WfR 22).The theme of the sixth day was centred on Mary, with the « grace »: the missionary is someone who follows Jesus in the manner of Mary, the woman with her feet on the ground (cf. WfR 28-29).Being sent: such was the theme of the seventh day, with the following « grace »: the Marist missionary is one who, after Marcellin’s example, is ready to take education and the Marist presence into places and situations which require one abandon his securities and risk his life (cf. WfR 155).Several days after this retreat, 4 brothers and 5 lay people were sent into different countries of Asia. Accompanied by these « graces » of the Lord, we hope that these 9 new Marist missionaries will be people of great apostolic and spiritual quality. This is another very important grace we ask of God at the time of sending. They will be presenting themselves on our web page in the coming days. When I read their testimonies, I am impressed by the spiritual strength they bring. And the certainty grows in me that we are in the presence of Marist missionaries according to the heart of God.______________Br. Teófilo MingaCo-ordinator of the Project Ad gentes

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