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Marist Brothers Province of West Central Europe

 

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23/05/2014: Netherlands

 

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Nijmegen, 6thMay 2014

ay is the month that is traditionally devoted to Mary. In the past processions, Marial devotions, hymns and other special prayers marked the month of May. Some Brothers will remember May as the month when they prepared children for their First Communion. Many of these things belong to our memory of a time when Catholics lived in a culture that was bounded by religious events and activities. The liturgical calendar was part of the way that we viewed and experienced the world. Our world has become more secular, and many of these reference points have gone.

The loss of such aspects in our culture does not mean that the month of May should be any less special. I am writing this letter at the beginning of May, when the days are longer and brighter, but there is a still a cold chill in the air. By the end of the month we will be on the threshold of June, when we can expect to enjoy warm days and gardens full of colour- ful flowers. Brother Emili invites us to meditate on “Mary, mother of a new dawn.” We can look upon the month of May like a bridge between the cold of late spring and the warmth of high summer. May then becomes a space of transition, with the uncertainty and ambiguity that we experience in times of change where we yearn to hope but can also experience disappointment.

In recent years I have found myself reflecting on “Mary, Mother of Transition.” During her lifetime she experienced the transition from being a daughter of Sion to being the mother of the Church, from being mother of Jesus to first disciple, from Jewish girl to Christian woman, and from concerned relative to believer. We all experience transitions in our own lives and the Institute of the Marist Brothers is also going through its own transition, from an Institute of individual Provinces, often with people who spoke one language and sharing a similar culture, to an international community with Provinces comprising people who speak different languages and who experience different histories and cultures. During this month of May perhaps we could reflect on Mary as model of transition and invite her to be with us as we navigate these transitions in our lives, com- munities, Province and Institute.

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