2020-10-02 GENERAL HOUSE

October 2 : International Day of Non-Violence

Talk of violence has a stirring effect on all of us.  Any kind of violence presumes a rupture in human relationships. It fractures our way of understanding life. Clearly, all of us want non-violence to hold sway in our world, in our country, in our environment, in our relationships and in ourselves.

We know well that this international day is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a world leader in the defence of life, freedom, rights, … from the position of “non-violence”. There can be no doubt that he offers an example to follow, someone to learn from.

Non-violence is a value shared throughout humanity. A value assumed by all of us who are Christian, since it is fully in tune with the life and preaching of Jesus of Nazareth. We join Gandhi when he says that “non-violence is the greatest force available to humanity. It is more powerful than the most powerful weapon of destruction… ”

As Marists, as Christian educators, we are called to avoid any type of violence. Our responsibility in this area is significant. There are many ways in which violence creates suffering in our lives … physical, psychological, verbal, sexual, intra-family, gender violence. There are many types of violence to which our children and young people can be subjected. It is up to us to prevent it occurring within our educational settings. We have the necessary tools to educate and we can pass on these tools to children and young people so that they can avoid violence in their lives and surroundings.

Thousands of people lose their lives each year due to violence. We don’t need to detail the main reasons because without a doubt we all know them. Violence though not only kills, it also affects the daily lives of many people, especially those who are weaker and who lack protection. Children, women and the elderly are among the most vulnerable. Raising awareness and educating, educating and raising awareness – that is our task. In addition, we are called to stand on the side of those who suffer and listen to their cry.

The XXII General Chapter reminded us that, as Marists of Champagnat, we need to be “prophetic reminder of the common dignity and fundamental equality of all the people of God.” We can hardly promote dignity and equality if we do not eliminate all types of violence from our societies, from our close surroundings. For this reason, the last General Chapter also reminds us, “we are firmly committed to promoting and defending the rights of children.”

We are called, as we always have been, to ensure that our educational works, our families and communities, be spaces of “non-violence.” We are called to “be agents of change, builders of bridges, messengers of peace, committed to transforming the lives of young people …”. As Marists of Champagnat, that is where we find our personal, community and institutional challenge.


Br Angel Diego, Director of the Solidarity Secretariat

The “Non-Violence” (or “Knotted Gun”) sculpture by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd on display at the UN Visitors’ Plaza.
PHOTO: UN Photo/Fan Xiao


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