2020-07-31 MEXICO

Marists connected: virtual space of meeting between Marist youth of America

An opportunity to be a global family in times of COVID-19

“MARIST CONNECTIONS” is a virtual meeting place for the Marist youth of America, which has been occurring by video call every two weeks since 23 April 2020. It is a place for sharing our daily lives, our anxieties and our joys, bad and good things that are happening in these turbulent times that allow us to see that, in spite of being isolated, we are together as a Marist family carrying the same values and dreams, even when we are in different countries and situations. A place that allows us to look at things differently, to reflect on what we are going through. It arose from a connection of the Marist Province of Brasil Centro-Sul with that of México Central and it expanded to the eleven provinces of America.

The following lines express the experience of those who have been connected:

“I got up, with a bit of difficulty, it was another day, an unhappy one because I was still in the same situation; in quarantine! How horrible it was just to think about it, and writing it down just makes it all the more remarkable; I’m in a situation that I can’t control and I certainly don’t know how it’s going to end, but there was something different. Today it was that call which I had waited for so long and which made me so nervous; the Marist connection where I would meet young people from other parts of the world who like me… did not know what would happen.

The time had come, I was very anxious, since I did not know what to expect, I wanted very much to meet new people, to see what they were like, but at the same time I was uncertain if my participation would be useful, if they would understand me, because they did not all speak the same language as me, or if I would simply freeze up and not be able to say anything. I entered the link, I saw how they accepted me in the meeting, how the young people were joining in and the screen was full of new, happy and completely different faces; the organizer greeted me and started  the meeting.

At that moment all those nerves disappeared almost instantly. The language barrier disappeared and an atmosphere of joy and celebration began to be felt. We were separated into smaller groups and although we had never seen each other before, it felt as if we had known each other all our lives, we felt that Marist charism that so characterises us and I realised that in other corners of the planet there are people who share a marvellous way of facing different realities.

We started to work on solidarity and we arrived at the same conclusion: the need to make ourselves heard and to contribute what is necessary so that those sad smiles can once again illuminate the desolate streets. We hope that a new world has emerged with much more empathy and compassion. We visualize the existence of several hearts fighting for the same cause and speaking one language: Love.

Sharing our world views and the challenges we face every day, I found in others people  who, like me, were experiencing their difficulties. In addition to awakening empathy within me, that dialogue helped me realize that, despite social isolation, no one is alone. We are all going through difficult times, and that more than ever means that we must be more humane and offer help to others. Knowing that I have such welcoming people gives me new courage to move forward and see a brighter future.

The fact of hearing so many voices and feeling that they were listening to me awakened in me a feeling of hope, the will to do something different, a feeling of positivity and joy, in knowing that our Marist spirit is reflected, even though we are in different countries. The voice of a young man from Brazil resounds in me, who said: “solidarity and empathy always find the way, there are no excuses for not putting them into practice”; that made me think about what I can do to help and to continue to share this Marist charism that distinguishes us”.

All the above is our voice; we are Marist Youth of America; this is what we experience when we connect and weave networks. In spite of the difficulties through which our world passes, we are ready to dream and to transcend from faith, solidarity, hope and patience.

In today’s situation, each of our lives and stories can imbue society with a creative and transformative spirit, providing us with the possibility of bringing light to every corner of the world. The opportunity to connect allows us to make a believable  reading of our situations, concerned and occupied with what is happening; attentive to the needs in each context.

And so, with our Marist spirituality and leadership, we want to respond creatively, to be agents of change through transforming solidarity. Through a hopeful outlook we glimpse a resurgence of humanity to the new normality. 

Champagnat’s dream is still alive and well, and Marist DNA is running through the hearts of all the Provinces of Marist America, touching, connecting and transforming our lives.

With love and appreciation, for the Marist Youth of America:

  • Irene Rodas M. – Central America
  • Catalina Maria Dankert – Brasil Centro-Sul
  • Emnuelle Baldassari – Brazil South-Amazon
  • M. Pierina Tramontina Carles – Cruz del Sur
  • Eva Moncluth – Roberto Sánchez – Central Mexico
  • Sergio Hernandez – Mexico Occidental
  • Angel Fajardo – Norandina
  • Luciana Landivar Uriona – Santa Maria de Los Andes

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