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Marist Bulletin - Number 74

 

June 06, 2003 - S. Marcellin Champagnat
06.06.2003

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FEAST OF ST. MARCELLIN CHAMPAGNAT, Founder of the Marist Brothers – 1840: Marcellin died at the Hermitage

A BROTHER FRANÇOIS YEAR
1. It will start on 6 June 2003 and will end on 6 June 2004.
2. It will invite us to know Brother François better through reading and prayer.
3. It will drive us to centre on his intercession any novena we might make to obtain the cure of a person we cherish.
4. This special year will incite us to ask him for Marist vocations, - he witnessed such a growth of our Institute! or to ask him for a stronger interior life, to help us become more committed, more firmly Marists.


MARCELLIN CHAMPAGNAT & HIS IMAGE OF MARY
Br. Sunanda Alwis - Province of Sri Lanka
Team member, Marist Renewal Center - Manziana, Italy


There have been many models of Mary presented in the Church throughout history. During different periods, various images of Mary have come to the fore in the
Church:
• Mary the mother of Jesus, in the New Testament
• Virgin–Mother, of the “poor banished children of Eve”
• Second Eve in the original sin debates
• Mother of God of the Council of Ephesus
• Fair Lady of the crusading knights
• Courtly Madonna of medieval chivalry
• Our Lady of Victories in the battle of Lepanto against the Turkish Empire.
• And in general the nurturing, compassionate counterpart of the interpretation of divinity as male.
Most of these images of Mary have overlooked some of the significant real life descriptions of Mary in the Gospels. She was a poor village woman who brought up Jesus to be one of the greatest revolutionary leaders of all time. His was a revolution of love, justice, non-violence and peace. For this he gave His own life. Mary was with Him from birth in a poor stable to His cruel death on the cross. She protected Him as a child from the evil designs of Herod, and lived as a refugee in exile in the land where her people had been slaves. She followed Him throughout His public life of contesting the powerful evildoers of His day, and stood by Him during the agony on the cross. Beyond His death she was with the persecuted infant Church, strengthening
the community as the mother of its risen leader.
For his part Fr. Champagnat accompanied the early Marists and faced the kinds of joys and trials that Mary of Nazareth experienced in Egypt, in her native Galilee, and on Calvary. His devotion to our Good Mother was based on his day-to-day living experience. Mary was for him a living model (something unheard in his time), not someone on a ‘supernatural pedestal.’
“If the members of the Society of Mary are too imperfect to act as models for you, cast your eyes,my dear Cassian, on her who can be a model for both the perfect and the imperfect – she who loves them all. The perfect because they display virtue and lead others to doing good, the imperfect because it was especially for them that Mary has been raised to the sublime level of Mother of God”. (Letter to Br. Cassian, summer of 1834, at Sorbiers, Loire)
“Don’t be frightened, we have Mary as our protector. All our hairs are numbered and not a single one will fall unless God permits it.” (Letter to Br.Antoine and the community at Millery, Rhone, 15th August 1830.)
“As you wait, place yourself in the arms of Mary, she will help you in a powerful way to carry your cross.” (To Br. Dominic at Charlieu, 23rd November 1834)

(FMS Marist Echo 43, March 2003)

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