2014-11-13 GENERAL HOUSE

Towards a New Beginning

The meeting of new Provincials brought several brothers together in the General House, forming a small temporary community. The group came from the different continents of the Institute and met from October 13 to 18, 2014. We were 9 brothers (Saturnino Alonso, Robert Teoh, Gerard Bachand,  Luis Carlos Gutiérrez, Jean-Marie Batide, César Rojas, Francis Luckong, Juan Castro, and Sylvain Ramandimbiarisoa) accompanied by brothers Emili Turú and Joe Mc Kee, plus several General Councilors who joined in at different phases.

The meeting was aimed at supporting each other in the leadership role within our respective Administrative Units, and at offering information and developing relevant topics to facilitate our mission.

We were able to study a number of issues, had personal interviews, and spoke with the link Councilors and different members of the General Administration.

The dialogue atmosphere allowed us to share experiences and life, and facilitated our integration as a group. Throughout the meeting, we had the opportunity to assimilate our personal experiences by writing a diary, and to share our reflections and echoes after “sleeping over them”.

As part of an important learning process, we dealt with our personal situation at this time of our life, and then reflected about some key attitudes regarding our self-care, sense of realism, and life balance. We underlined the importance of setting priorities, and organizing our time and life rhythms well. To appreciate our leadership as Provincials better, we shared the valuable experiences of several second-term Brothers Provincial (Robert, Sylvain, Saturnino, and Juan). From their experiences, we collected a number of important ideas and tips regarding pastoral care. This introduced us to the reflection about being “a leader to yourself” and helped us carry out a self-exploration process. To do this, we had an interview with another participant using the method of “assessment inquiry”, and then shared our findings with the entire group. The summary of ideas from this dialogue, including the characteristics of leadership, were very enriching. We identified a number of key elements regarding qualities (passion, creativity, compassion and perseverance) and processes (participatory leadership, decision making, empowerment and good communication). These key elements helped us define a renewed vision of leadership based on the essential elements of our life and mission. Bro. Michael de Wass contributed to our reflection by explaining the process of feeling, listening, being present, becoming aware, and realizing (inspired by Otto Scharmer’s U Theory).

We did not leave aside the permanent issue of spirituality. Our calling entails becoming “spirituality animators”. Br. Emili Turú made a strong invitation to react vis-à-vis the signs of erosion regarding this dimension, and to promote a process of spiritual growth, and new expressions of spiritual vitality.

There were also several informative talks providing clarifying guidance in different areas: canon law (Bro. Juan Miguel Anaya), guidelines on affectivity and sexuality (Bro. Gerard Bachard), General Secretariat matters (Bro. Carlos Huidobro), General Administration (Bro. Víctor Preciado), and the formation of brothers (Bro. César Rojas).

Finally, Brother Emili Turú addressed a few words of encouragement during the closing ceremony, and summarized what we had studied and lived. He also gave each of us a Marian icon recalling Pentecost. 

Everyone evaluated the meeting in a very positive way, and we returned home with renewed energy and vitality.


Brother Luis Carlos Gutiérrez fms – Provincial of Central America


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