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Group of young German volunteers from Cmi-Germany visited the Hermitage


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14/08/2015: Germany


Preparation Seminar in Hermitage, France from 25.07.2015 to 28.07.2015

On Saturday morning we met at the Marist school in Mindelheim to start for our journey to the Hermitage in France. Our group consisted of 3 adults and 8 young adults who are all volunteers for Cmi-Germany. Four of them are going to start their voluntary service in September, the other ones have already returned from their service in a foreign country. 

 We didn’t know each other well but during the journey of ten hours we had time to make some conversation. Finally arrived, Brother Alan from the Philippines and Martha from Mexico welcomed us cordially. After some tea and coffee we occupied our rooms which were really nice. 

Before dinner Brother Diogenes showed us around. We visited the cemetery and went up the rock. The imagination of the hard work the first brothers had by taking the stones of the rock to build up the house was very impressing! Inside the first house there was an exhibition of the Marists history . We got the chance of reflection and felt the spirituality of Marcellin Champagnat. I enjoyed walking through it because the spirituality reminded me of my time in Argentina. 

We shared the dinner with other visitors of the Hermitage (3 novices from Australia and USA and their Mentor Br. Robert) and the community of Hermitage. We all felt at home with the international spirit and the many languages which filled the hall.

After having dinner, we enjoyed the first evening by playing some games or singing with a guitar.

 On Sunday we left after the breakfast and started our “Route Champagnat”. First we headed for Marlhes where we visited Marceline’s baptistery. We visited the church and Renate asked us to write down some thoughts on a little paper which shows that we all are unique.   Throughout our walk to Rosey , Brother Alan gave us the possibility to reflect our live together with a partner . In Rosey we learned about how his life and his family was in Marceline’s first 15 by visiting his house of birth and the little chapel.   We got another little paper to sketch our own way of live until today. The brothers of the Community in Rosey were really nice and we had lunch together. 

We went on with our tour and visited two places of great importance: the place of Montagne, where Marceline met the teenager, who was going to die and had no education at all and no idea of God. Brother Alan showed us clearly this experience as the point of return in Marcellins life and we were asked to write down our own visions for the future.  

Furthermore, we went to the little cabin, where Marceline saw a light which helped him finding a way out of the snow storm. He begged Mary to help him and this light was her sign and his strong faith was confirmed. After that experience he knew he was on the right way with his vision of building up  a community with brothers for educating children.

Back in the Hermitage we met in the garden of the property and completed the reflection of the day with stories about farewell and death. On our fourth and last little paper we had to notice things we should close before leaving in a new stage of life.  We put all the papers together to a flyer to take with us.  After dinner we met again for a brainstorming. We thought about methods to increase the presence of Marceline and the sensation of being a Marist in our day and life and the school of Mindelheim. We had some great ideas and look hopefully into the future!!!!! 

(Leonie Gilch, volunteer in Argentina 2014/2015 and Cmi)

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