2023-03-09 GENERAL HOUSE

From networking to “netbeing”

“Interdependence, rather than isolation or independence, must be the new normal for us. We will be witnesses of unity and hope.” (XXII General Chapter)

One of the main initiatives being developed, at the level of the whole Marist Institute, is the creation and consolidation of networks. Thus, we respond to the invitation of our last General Chapter to “build networks of Marist mission […] that foster […] our education and evangelization”. In this way, we have seen the consolidation of the networks of universities, of Provincial Coordinators of Volunteers, of Schools… Concrete steps have also been taken for the development of networking in solidarity: the Marist Solidarity International Network (MSIN).

From 23 February to 2 March, the MSIN held meetings in each of the 5 Working Groups that make up the network (Education in/for Solidarity – 23 February -, Social Works – 27 February -, NGOs/Foundations – 28 February -, Ecology – 1 March – and Children’s Rights – 2 March -). It was an opportunity to meet at the level of the whole Institute, with the participation of about 60 Marists from the 6 Regions of the Institute.

These five Working Groups have been functioning since the second Assembly of the RMSI, meeting every 3 months. Normally we meet in two sub-groups, one in Spanish/Portuguese and the other in English/French. This makes it easier for us to meet, as we do not need translators, as well as meeting times. On this occasion, the meetings were held jointly, with the aim of getting to know each other and sharing the path that each group is following, and thus continuing to build bridges.

The aim of these meetings is not only to get together, but to continue to grow as an Institute and as a charismatic family, so that we can be closer to those who are the main recipients of our mission, the children and young people, particularly the most needy and vulnerable.

A process of work, and of life, which we believe must pass through four successive and complementary stages.

1. As a Marist Institute, we have spoken, and we continue to do so, about the riches that networks bring us: NET-TALKING. Not only has the Marist world discovered the richness of networking, but there are many documents and areas of our world, and of the Church, where this theme is highlighted. Pope Francis himself reminds us of the importance of this theme and invites us to focus “only on forms of mutual help between individuals or small groups” (FT 126).

2.The next step, which is already reflected in several areas, is to enhance working together, sharing good practices, organizing initiatives: NET-WORKING. Work organized together with others, within the Marist world, and also with external partners from civil society and other ecclesial entities. This is what the Rule of Life (RL 79) reminds us of when it says: “Encourage teamwork and cooperation”.

3.In this way, links are created that lead us to discover, know and empathize with those who live in a Marist key: “NET-LIVING”. A Marist key that brings us closer to the communion of life, also with the planet and with those who inhabit it. The Pope, in the encyclical Laudato Si (LS 209), challenges us to create “community networks” that lead us to an ecological and communitarian conversion.

4.These are the steps that we must take, together, to reach one of the ideals that we have set for ourselves, “BEING a Global Family”: NET-BEING.  As Marists, in solidarity, we aspire to be a living portrait of the Good Samaritan for our neighbours in need.


Br. Ángel Diego García Otaola – Director of the Solidarity Secretariat


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