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Marist Bulletin - Number 97


Haiti - Opening of the Marist Novitiate

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Gilles Hogue, fms

15 August 2003 – Patron feast of the Institute. That day the Marist Sector of Haiti had the joy of opening the Novitiate at Pétionville (Port-au-Prince) in collaboration with the Brothers of Christian Instruction (Ploërmel) by welcoming three First Year Haitians. These are Jean Émaningue Borisma, Ostral Charmant and Emmanuel Nazaire. They come to join the Second Year Novice, Ambroise Michel. The average age of our Novices goes far beyond 25 years.
Begun a few years ago at Jérémie, the formation stage came up against certain realities: the facilities, since we had to welcome First Year Postulants, and especially the difficulty of composing a team sufficient and able to take on the accompaniment and formation of our young candidates. One of the solutions considered would have been to join the Novitiate of Central America. After analysis this solution was not kept, considering that the integration of the religious values had to be done in the cultural milieu of the candidate.
After exploring several avenues we contacted the F.I.C. to study together the project of a joint Novitiate. They already had facilities we could use, allowing each group greater autonomy, while having also the advantage of a common block of courses to help our Novices advance and deepen their life project, each in his respective religious family. Little by little, the program was worked out: it is a matter, of course, of an ad experimentum stage, subject to adaptation, modification, improvement.
There remained the difficult question of the personnel to accompany our Novices: our documents clearly remind us that the community plays a primordial role in formation. Certain courses can be taken togther: yet each community must take on part of these courses. Then there is the whole dimension of Marist spirituality, the life of the Founder, our origins, our Constitutions… Bro. Gilles Lacasse had been the first one responsible for our Novitiate in Haiti: he was very willing to change his personal projects and accept to return to Haiti to assume this important function once again. But it was becoming difficult for us to draw upon the personnel already present in Haiti, at the risk of stripping Peter to dress Paul!… That’s when we called upon the General Council, which listened fraternally to our need and called upon Bro. Antonio Rieu. This Brother, of Spanish origin, is a veteran of formation and mission: there is no doubt that he’ll be a very enriching presence, both for our young men in formation and for the inter-community experience we are undertaking.
On this Marist feast day, our thanksgiving goes first to the Lord and the Blessed Virgin for the gift of these Novices. Our thanks go also to Bro. Superior General and his Council, who were very willing to come to our aid by sending us Bro. Antonio. We must not forget Bro. Réal Cloutier, Provincial, and his Council who believe in this Marist undertaking in Haiti and who neglect no sacrifice to enable us to move forward. May Saint Marcellin bless and accompany this new experiment.

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