2023-06-05 GENERAL HOUSE

The Spiritual Testament of Marcellin Champagnat and the spirituality of the heart

Download the Testament in PDF: English | Español | Français | Português – PDF manuscrito

What does his testament tell us? It is an invitation to deepen a true spirituality of the heart. It is the synthesis of a life rooted in the experience of God. It reveals the legacy of a man who knew how to live an incarnational, integrated and therefore compassionate spirituality. His teachings are perennial because they can be lived by everyone, regardless of time or place.

Let us accompany our founder: “I also urge you, my very dear brothers, with all the affection of my soul and for which you profess me, to behave in such a way that charity always reigns among you. Love one another as Christ has loved you. Let there be among you but one heart and one mind. I hope that we can say of the Little Brothers of Mary what was said of the first Christians: See how they love one other… This is the most vivid desire of my heart in these last moments of my life. Yes, my dear brothers, listen to the last words of your Father, which are those of our beloved Saviour: Love one another.”

The words of our Founder are words that come from his heart and are destined for the hearts of all the Brothers, and today for all “Marists of Champagnat”. The core of his message is love. The love of God experienced in his life, in his relationship with the Brothers and with the whole Marist mission. The image that motivates him is that of the first Christians. They are not recognized by their doctrines or teachings, but by their testimonies. Love lived out in practice is the distinctive mark of this community, and the desire of our founding father, for all of us Marists.

“I also ask the Lord and desire with all my heart that you will faithfully perceive the holy exercise of the presence of God, the soul of prayer, meditation and all the virtues”.

Marcellin lived the presence of God deeply in his life. He understood that the relationship with God begins with the recognition that he lives in the heart of every human being. This presence is lived in the fervour of the heart, because the heart is the place where the human being deeply experiences unity with God, starting from himself and from others. This incarnate presence of God in his life and actions reveals to us a man integrated with himself and, therefore, marked by compassion.

“May a tender and filial devotion to our good Mother animate you at all times and in all circumstances. Make her loved everywhere you can. She is the first Superior of the whole Society”.

At the end of his Spiritual Testament, Marcellin contemplates Mary. She is the model of the one who, after Jesus, experienced in a profound way the unification of the heart in a spirituality of compassion and mercy. For Marcellin, Mary is a life project. She is the concrete inspiration for following Jesus.

It was the fourth Superior General, Brother Théophane, who announced to the Marist Brothers his intention of presenting the Cause of Beatification of Marcellin Champagnat in the Circular of February 1886. The Institute proceeded with the official opening of the Process of Beatification and Canonization of Marcellin Champagnat at the Holy See on January 2, 1892. (Chronologie 2010, p. 267). The process took 107 years. His Holiness Pope John Paul II canonized Marcellin Champagnat (Marcellin Joseph Benoît Champagnat) on 18 April 1999 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, recognizing him as a saint in the Catholic Church: “Apostle of youth” – in the words of John Paul II.

Virtual tour

Champagnat’s room in l’Hermitage – http://q-r.to/bak63M
Hermitage’s Chapel – http://q-r.to/bak66p

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