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Lavalla200> in Asia

 

Br Réal Sauvageau: “Our Call” lived in the International Tudella Novitiate

La Valla 200>

23/01/2017: Sri Lanka

Brother Réal Sauvageau, of Canada, is one of the members of the first group of the Lavalla200> Project who was sent on mission in June last year. Five missionaries were assigned to Asia. Br Réal lives in the international novitiate of Tudella in Sri Lanka. In the text below, he describes what it means to participate in the Lavalla200> Project and what it is like to live in that community.

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After the period of formation in Italy and France in May and June 2016, I was assigned to the International Novitiate in Sri Lanka. After three months’ experience, I can say that, in many ways, it is probably the best place to live concretely the dream of a new beginning. This was the theme of our first group of Lavalla200>, when, at the end of our experience, we wrote “Our Call” that expresses what the Spirit was telling us at this moment. I have outlined, below, some elements of this “Call” to present how we try to live it in the context of the Novitiate here.

“…We are moving beyond dreaming together for a new beginning, as we have done throughout the Institute in recent years in chapters and assemblies. It has been a ‘long dawn’ but now there is daylight: a time for decisions!”

In our lessons on the Constitutions, the first year novices have presented their dreams for the future of Marist Life in Asia. I would like to share some of these:

We are dreaming:

to build community with love and warmth infusing it;
to continue the mission among poor children and young people in teaching, refugee centres, orphanages, social youth centers, counselling;
to develop intercongregational collaboration and formation;
to deepen interreligious dialogue; 
to be a Marian face in the church.

“…We believe that the Spirit is calling us to embrace a new way of sharing life in community: internationally, interculturally… Our relationships are core to our mission and central to a new beginning for Marists”.

We are a very large international and intercultural community, with people coming from Bangladesh, CN, Viet Nam, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Australia, Canada. We take special care of our relationships, and with confidence and courage we are able to say to one another, in our fortnightly Community Sharing (our ‘group accompaniment’), the positive we notice in each one and also the aspects that can progress. It is always a good moment of truth that makes us more free. We occasionally have internal Workshops and are preparing now for our next one, a two day workshop on intercultural issues for community life.

“…We experience the Spirit of God within ourselves, within one another, within all of life and creation. We contemplate. We cultivate silence. We meditate on God’s Word. Our spirituality encompasses every moment of our lives: our love, our passions, our hopes and fears, our successes and failures…”.

As we are in the novitiate, this aspect is particularly apparent in many ways, for example in the animation of our daily prayer life with special reflection days. I can testify also, that even our failures become a springboard to walk new steps forward.

“…It is an annunciation moment for us and for all Marists: ‘Do not be afraid. Nothing is impossible with God’ ”.

 And here we are now, even though it is not clear or easy for our Novices to imagine where the Lord is calling them for the future mission.

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La Valla 200>