2013-09-17 FRANCE

La Valla: A new beginning

Morning of Monday 16 September began with prayer in the Hermitage chapel, centred on the  Montagne experience, animated by Br Michael De Waas. Then in the meeting room, Br Emili Turú reminded them of the objectives of the General Conference: to understand the Institute as a whole; to further relationships between the General Government and those responsible for the Provinces and Districts, as among all; and to promote a significant mystical and prophetic experience. For this purpose, the atmosphere and rhythm of these days is intended to foster the living of interiority, with half an hour of personal prayer each morning and the various times of silence and prayer.

The Superior General also introduced the theme for the week: to have as concrete a view of the Institute as possible. The icon of La Valla showed us a pattern lived by Marcellin: from Les Palais to La Valla, from the dream to the concrete. The “waves” of the icon of La Valla, made by Br Matías Espinosa, express this global vision Marcellin already had: “all the dioceses in the world enter into our views”. La Valla was a beginning, but what matters today is a “new beginning”.

Then there was time for group sharing of the summary of the previous week and subsequently each table could express the reflections of the group.

Br Emili then presented some videos of young Brothers, made at the Hermitage with the group of European Brothers younger than 45, and the video made with young Brothers from all the  continents present at the International Marist Youth Meeting in Río de Janeiro.

Before the end of the morning, the architects working on the restoration of La Valla explained not only the changes made in the house but also their deep significance. One of them stated that “if the Hermitage speaks of Champagnat, La Valla whispers”. From the architectural point of view, it means having an encounter with the past, with the XIX century and with a house which looks towards the XXI century, the same as the Institute. They also explained the levels of the house: the interior, the lower part or “cellar”, the ground level: the community which established itself in the interior; and the upper floor: the mission, the apostolate, the upper room of “Pentecost”.

After lunch, the participants went to Les Palais, where Marcellin encountered the young  Montagne. There they began Mass with the liturgy of the Word. Afterwards, like Marcellin returning to La Valla, they were able to reflect on the experience lived, in order, like him, to come to clear and bold decisions.

After a little more than two hours walking, they arrived at La Valla. They had time for recuperation and for coming to know the house. Once more, the architects explained details of the house, elaborating on the information they had given in the morning, and accompanying the brothers on a tour of the house. Then they continued with the celebration of the Eucharist. At the end, Br Emili invited the participants to sign an image of Saint Marcellin, as an expression of commitment to “a new beginning” of the Institute, looking to the future and 2017. 




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