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Leaders for a global family

05/03/2018: General House

During the Chapter in Rionegro, the brothers elected the superior general and his council. It is the leaders of the Institute who, during the next eight years, will put into practice the Institute's appeal: “Journeying together as a Global Family.”

We invite members of the government to introduce themselves and tell us how the challenge of this new mission has been so far. Today we present the text written by Brother Ken McDonald of the province of Australia, elected as general councillor.

 

Br Ken McDonald

I grew up in Queensland, a state of Australia that has a reputation for warm weather and great beaches. I have three married sisters who have families of their own. I didn’t leave Queensland until I joined the Brothers. I had a desire to work with young people on the peripheries and my time in the district of Melanesia and particularly Papua New Guinea gave me the opportunity to fulfil this dream. Three years ago, I returned to Australia and was appointed vice provincial.

 

How was your experience of your election?

Being elected to the general council was an unexpected privilege. I appreciate very much the confidence the Brothers have in my ability to contribute to the Institute at an international level. The expressions of support from many Brothers were quite overwhelming. I also experienced a sense of excitement and anticipation at the task facing the general council as we look to contribute to the future direction of Marist life and mission. Any change which means moving to the other side of the world for eight years and starting a significant new role brings many emotions. Mixed with the excitement and anticipation, I also felt sad at leaving Australia after being home for only three years. Initially, I felt uncertain about the role and what could be achieved as a general councillor. I am sure this will change with time. Finally, I also became very aware of my own limitations. I am not a linguist and I will need to learn another language. Hopefully, I will be able to do this.

 

How are you experiencing your new life in the general house so far? The new life in the general house?

The transition from Australia to the general house in Rome has at times been difficult but has also offered me a great sense of hope for the future. The Brothers in the community here gave me a very sincere welcome and I am slowly becoming accustom to the rhythm of life. The general council community is a community of service to the Institute and I know this will lead to some extraordinary experiences of mission and fraternity. The general council has made a priority of forming community that is a home, similar to our experience of the general chapter. This bodes well for the future.

 

Considering the reflection of the general chapter, what do you think should be the council’s lines of action of for the next eight years?

The calls of the general chapter offer the institute the possibility of a new beginning. The language used in the calls offers us a fresh way of understanding the future of Marist life and mission. It is still early in the life of this general council and we have only commenced reflecting on the calls of the general chapter and the future they offer us. It is with a great sense of hope that I approach the task of developing the general council’s plans for the next eight years. I believe that it will be give us the opportunity to venture once more to the unknown and place our trust in God’s graciousness.

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