2021-12-31 KENYA

Workshop on Marist Spiritual Patrimony promoted in Africa

The scholastics at Marist International Centre (Nairobi, Kenya), the novices in Ghana, and other Brothers had the unique opportunity to interact online with two giants of the Marist spiritual patrimony: Brothers Michael Green and André Lanfrey. Although the participants were in four different time zones, they managed to have a synchronous daily couple of hours of conversation and discussions from the 16th to the 21st of December 2021.

On the first days, Brothers Michael and Lanfrey discussed the meaning and relevance of Marist spiritual patrimony, specifically for Marist brothers and young people undergoing initial formation. They also summarized some of their significant works and contributions to the Marist history and spirituality.

The following days, Br. André Lanfrey gave a talk on spirituality, the early structuring of Marist Institute in the 1850s, the role of Brothers François and Louis Marie in those early years, and the complex relationship with the society of Mary, especially the Marist Fathers. The participants had an enriching discussion with many profound questions from the Brothers and the novices.

Then, Br. Michael Green made a presentation about the significance of the founding generation of brothers who helped Champagnat shape what is called today the Marist spirituality. The first Brothers, whom Brother Seán Sammon called “marvellous companions”, are, in this sense, co-founders. With Saint Marcellin Champagnat, they handed to the Church a way of living the Gospel, the distinctive Marist spirituality.

Between the two presentations, Br. Vincent de Paul Kouassi, from MIC, had a session on the uniqueness as Brothers in a Society of Mary that wanted to reduce the Marist Mission to men who would only exist to serve the priest of the Society. Using a letter from Collin to Champagnat written in February 1839 and some other documents, he established that Champagnat wanted the Brothers to have their own mission of bringing the young people to Christ through education and many other ways.

At the end of the workshop, everyone expressed appreciation to the presenters and manifested the desire to have more of such enriching online sessions.

“Asanteni sana” to Brothers Mike and Lanfrey, because a session on the Spiritual Patrimony will always make you feel a little more Marist.

_____________
Brother Vincent de Paul Kouassi

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