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195th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute of the Marist Brothers

10/01/2012: General House - Photo gallery

The celebration of the 195th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute in the general house involved the Brothers of the General Council, the community, some visiting Brothers, a Sister of the Sacred Heart, a Chilean layman and the chaplains of the house. As Br Emili reminded us, « we are all here », as representing the whole range of the Marist charism and mission. The Mass was concelebrated by the four priests.
At the time for the homily, Br Superior General addressed us. First of all, he referred to our origins. It was Thursday, 2 January 1817. Not easy beginnings, commencing with the ages: Jean-Marie Granjon 23, Jean-Baptiste Audras 15, and Marcellin himself only 28. The house in La Valla, called « Bonnaire », sheltered the first brothers who dedicated themselves to prayer, manual work (making nails) and study: they learned to read and write. Their ignorance of religious life was equally great. Obviously, the perseverance rate was not high: only 50% of the first brothers persevered. And Br Emili reminded us that the very first, Jean-Marie Granjon, did not leave the Institute, but was sent away.
« We never know the consequences of a yes », he continued. And he cited the Virgin Mary, Fr Champagnat, Br Nestor Quiceno, founder of Remar… No one imagines the consequences of a yes. He recalled to us the significance of the table of La Valla, expressing the gift God has given us through Saint Marcellin. He also referred to the Gospel of the Mass (Mt 18:1-6), an invitation to become like children and to welcome them as Jesus did.
Finally, Br Emili spoke to us of his first circular, the 412th in the tradition coming from Saint Marcellin. The term « circular » also refers to the round table, to communication between those who « belong to the same group ». This was a very strong symbol at the last General Chapter, and it is still so today, a symbol of listening, of dialogue. He hopes that the circular will help us continue to build up a family, to maintain an open and constructive dialogue.
The Superior General gave a brief explanation of the circular, He gave us the name of  Mary, and its principal parts: « What is happening to us? »; « Called to construct the Marial face of the Church »; « Three icons for a Church with a Maternal face »: the Visitation, the Virgin in the apron, in attitude of service; Pentecost: fountain of the people of God; the Annunciation: beauty will save the world. The final part, « Mary, dawn of the new times »,  invites us to build a Church with a Marial face. We have examples of brothers, like Émile François, who died in Beijing in 2005, and brothers who have lived like him, in difficult  situations, their vocation as a little brother of Mary. It was in memory of them that Br Emili gave us an image of Our Lady of China, the original of which is in the General House, a gift of one of the current leaders of the church in that great country. « May Mary remind us of those who have gone before us in the faith and encourage our commitment. »
In conclusion, Br Emily symbolically signed his first circular. After the festive supper, the Brazilian couple Zoltan et Iracema Paulinyi, friends of Br Téofilo Minga, put on a concert for us with some pieces of classical and concert music (violin, viola and bassoon).

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