VI General Conference

The 6th General Conference was scheduled to take place in Nairobi, the rationale being that many of the participants had contact with countries in Africa and Madagascar and they knew better the hopes, the human and spiritual richness, and the challenges of that continent. But last minute difficulties forced it to take place in Rome, since there was no possibility of finding an alternative site that facilitated the means and necessary space for this type of assembly.

The possibility of holding it in Africa offered the Brothers the opportunity to bring closer the communion with the Brothers in the African continent and of living for three weeks in contact with the group of young Brothers in the Marist International Centre (MIC) in Nairobi. In spite of the change in venue there still remained the African logo that figured in the written information sent out during the preparations for the General Conference.

The General Conference of 1997 was a continuation of the nineteenth General Chapter and insisted on its basic topics. Its object was to evaluate the putting into practice the chapter recommendations and to give the Brothers a new momentum for the next four years. To do this they shared the evaluation carried out in each country on five topics that had been previously discussed in the Chapter: Marist Apostolic Spirituality, Solidarity, Mission and Education, Formation and Pastoral of Vocations and Administration of Goods. The General Councillors facilitated the reflection on these five topics.

The Conference studied attentively the Educational Proposal drafted by an international Commission that would later be published under the title of The Marist Educational Mission, A Project for Today. This document carried the support of the assembly but it was requested that the Commission adjust the writing of the text, bearing in mind the observations made by the linguistic groups.

This 6th General Conference gathered together 91 participants including eight young Brothers and eight lay people from the five continents who were present for some days. The Conference also had the valuable help of 11 Brothers for secretarial services and translation.