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Br Sylvain Romuald Ramandimbiarisoa

25/03/2018: 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 Sylvainof the province of Madagascar, elected as general councillor.

______________________

I am Madagascan or Malagasy, was born in Mahajanga, in the north of Madagascar.  However, I spent my childhood and my youth in Antsirahe in the center of the country.  I come from a family of four boys and two girls.  My father is a State nurse, my mother is in the house but she had a Nursery School during some years.      

During my childhood, I liked very much to play teaching pupils in a class with my friends.  I dreamt of becoming a teacher or professor in school.   Since I went to the College St. Joseph of the Marist Brothers, I saw the Brothers, in their cassock, who taught.  I had the desire to become like them: a Marist Brother who teaches in School.    

After Primary School, when I was 12 years old, I entered the Institute to make my dream a reality.  After initial formation, I made my first profession at 17 years of age.  It was on September 9, 1979 and perpetual profession in the month of August 1986.  Then I continued my formation and the different apostolic activities in the schools.

The Brothers Superior of the Institute asked me to follow the course of Religious Psychology in the Gregorian University of Rome to prepare myself to become Formator.  It was the most difficult turning point of my life to accept that since I had decided to become a Marist Brother to teach in the schools and not to be a Formator.  After these studies, I was Formator at « Marist International Center », (MIC), in Nairobi, Kenya and that during 7 years.  During one year, at the same time that I accompanied the young Brothers in the evening, I followed a course of « Post. Graduate Degree in Education” at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.  In addition to teaching and the activities of formation, I was very motivated in the activities with the young, especially music, sports and the “youth festivals”.  

Finally at the end of the year 2001, I went back to Madagascar.  I was elected Provincial Superior. a role which I assumed from 2002 to 2008.  After six years of working in vocation pastoral ministry and as director of schools, once again I was named Provincial beginning in 2014.  In September-October 2017 I participated in the XXII General Chapter, in Colombia, during which I was elected among the General Councilors.    

 

How was the experience of your election?

It is a second turning point in my life.  It is a surprise, again, once more, I am asked to do a task which is not according to the first motivation of my vocation.   I was greatly anguished during the process of election.  At the moment when I was elected, I breathed deeply and asked myself: “is this possible?  will I be able to do it” am I worthy?” and many other questions.  After a pause, I accepted.  Progressively, I feel assured when the Chapter members congratulated me with trust.  Some of them expressed words of encouragement.    

 

How is the experience of your new life in the General House up to the present moment?

At the beginning of our mandate of the General Council, I feel I am an apprentice.  Everything is new for me: the persons with whom I form a community, the difference in culture and personality, the work in the Institute, the way of doing things, the European context, etc.  At the present moment I still grope around to find my way, I am not as yet sure of my role.  I have to reaffirm my trust in self in order to be able to be useful in the service to the Institute. 

 

Keeping in mind what was lived in the General Chapter, according to you, what should the line of action of the Council be for the next eight years?

In the beginning of our mandate, Brother Superior General insists on community life and working as a team.   I am convinced, in fact, our mission is to help the Institute « to walk together as a global body ».  This has to begin by our community of the General Council.  It is in this family spirit that we will carry out a « new beginning » in reconfirming our mission with children and vulnerable youth, in the peripheries.

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