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Marist Bulletin - Number 88


Brother Peter Rodney is chairman of the Government Commission

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Brother Lluís Serra

Peter Rodney, 48 years old, was born in Brisbane, Australia. He majored in spirituality at the Gregorian University in Rome and Psychology at Loyola College in Baltimore USA, and has worked extensively in formation programs and pastoral care. He is in charge of the General Council’s Commission for Government.

Your Commission is certainly a very important one… Please outline for us what it takes to be a Marist leader today…
There is no better description than that of Marcellin himself: “Strong mind – gentle heart”. Brothers expect their leaders to be men who are available and compassionate, especially at times of struggle. At the same time, they expect them to have a vision that is based in reality and challenges them.

Why are the concepts of animation and government usually linked?
They are the twin aspects of leadership and both elements are essential. Animation is about vision; expressing the hopes of a group and harnessing them to action despite fears. Effective government ensures order and productivity. Otherwise there is the sort of chaos that saps energy away from working towards the vision.

How might the service aspect of government in our Institute be improved?
A difficult question to answer without more extensive knowledge of the Institute. I sense that it is about practising well the basics of service. The relationship between those leading and those they are leading is critical. Trust, listening and effective communication are essential. All three are two way. Most importantly, without a deep personal spirituality government will not be servant leadership.

Throughout the Marist Institute, how is the process of restructuring going?
It is probably too early to tell. Yet some things are already clear. It takes time and careful planning, especialy when restructuring across a number of countries. Communication is critical, as is participation of all the Brothers. In many places restructuring has tapped sources of energy and daring, that surprise even the Brothers themselves. Formerly, many Provinces had settled into familiar ways of doing things. With restructuring has come questioning of accepted situations. Restructruring, especially where it has incorporated Brothers with other languages, has stretched the Brothers in ways that are positive and healthy.

Do you believe that restructuring will lead to greater vitality?
Not automatically. Though restructuring is already producing some creative and daring responses to real needs that probably would not have been addressed were it not for restructuring.

What are the topics that your Commission will be examining?
The immediate work of the Commission is to facilitate the proceesses of restucturing. With Br.Juan Miguel Anaya we aim to be of service by means of sharing experience, offering advice, and networking together Provinces that are facing similar challenges.

(FMS Marist Echo Maristes 44, June 2003)

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