2021-12-21 GENERAL HOUSE

GIER International and Fraters Maristen Internationaal: two legal entities at the service of the Global Family

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On 18 November, the General Council approved the constitutions and statutes of two international legal entities at the service of the Institute. With the creation of the Corporation “GIER International” and the Association “Fraters Maristen Internationaal” (Marist Brothers International) a major step has been taken from a legal point of view to help the Congregation and the Administrative Units in their various needs.

Since the beginning of Br Ernesto Sanchez’s mandate, various civil and canonical avenues have been sought and consulted to enable the Institute to act as a Global Family, with the values of communion and solidarity. To this end, since February 2019, an intense study has been conducted which has made it possible to:

  • Establish general strategies on canonical and civil entities from the General Government, delivered to Provincials and District Superiors in March 2020.
  • To offer guidelines – at the request of various Administrative Units – on the creation, adaptation or transformation of their civil and/or canonical structures.
  • To specify general criteria on the government, management and patrimony of the Institute, in a communication sent on 10 August 2021 to the Superiors of the AUs.
  • To create international juridical entities which will support the life and mission of the Institute, in the course of 2021.

After a careful review of the documents, the Council considered that both entities offer adequate legal security and coverage to assist, promote, contribute to and support the development and furtherance of the mission and life of the Institute. This is truly relevant in two respects. First, we now have two international entities that will facilitate the care and support of the areas of Marist mission, particularly those that may be in greater weakness. Secondly, they will help to interconnect the various civil and canonical bodies of the Institute for greater internal effectiveness and solidarity.

Its purposes include, in addition, meeting the needs of formation, solidarity, charity, integral human promotion, evangelisation and education; also, channelling aid or receiving donations, and supporting internal and external alliances. It will certainly be a useful mechanism for the needs of the Institute’s organisms and networks or of regional and interprovincial bodies that need some kind of legal cover.

The GIER International Corporation will operate from the United States and the Association “Fraters Maristen Internationaal” (Marist Brothers International) from the Netherlands, with international and interprovincial management teams, working primarily online. In the coming months, the implementation processes of both will take place.

Both institutions are in line with the latest guidelines of the General Council. That is, they have separate governance and management bodies, with reserved powers and defined functions. The Governance Board of both is the General Council and the two Management Boards will be composed of people from different Administrative Units and Regions.

Accompaniment, monitoring and exchange services will facilitate connections and cooperation between schools, various apostolic works and other areas of mission. The legal platform that will help and streamline processes of exchange, knowledge management and administrative, educational and missionary advice. The care of our mission works will have a prominent place in the vision of these entities, offering the appropriate legal basis for linking and sustaining the Marist presence in any of the places where we are present. It will also be of assistance in the management of our assets at the service of the mission. Created with an international and interprovincial perspective, they will help the Institute to grow and mature in collaborative structures that facilitate co-responsibility, subsidiarity, cooperation, management and governance.

The Administrative Units, or their respective countries, and the Institute’s Regions and Networks may identify areas of help, opportunity or service that GIER International Corporation or the Association “Fraters Maristen Internationaal” can offer them. This is particularly important in situations of weakness or in social contexts, where joining and working together is a necessity for the continuity, development and sustainability of the Marist mission, of Catholic education and of the Institute’s presence at a general level. Integration is done through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or mutual contract, with a lot of flexibility and adaptability.

It is a cause for hope to take this new step which was ratified by the signature of Brother Superior General and the General Council. Both decisions, as well as the Statutes, were symbolically offered at the Eucharist on 19 November 2021, feast of Our Lady of Providence.

We thank all those who participated in these processes at some stage: Brothers Benjamin Consigli, Óscar Martín, Libardo Garzón, Carlos A. Rojas, Juan Miguel Anaya, Xavi Giné, Gregorio Linacero, Jacques Scholte, Robert Thunus, Maurice Taildeman, Patrick McNamara, Fernando Rodríguez, Carlos Vélez and Edgardo López; as well as the respective law firms and consultants.

Luis Carlos Gutiérrez, fms
Vicar General, Canonical and Civil Structures

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