France: The groups of the Horizons programme of Escorial and Manziana, together in Hermitage
1882: Father Matricon died, Father Champagnat’s assistant starting in 1835 and a chaplain for the Brothers for 47 years
Between 31 May and 9 June, the groups of brothers taking part in the second course for “community animators” organized by the General Council, in Manziana, Italy, and El Escorial, Spain, came together for ten days in the house of Father Champagnat to make a pilgrimage together to our family roots.
The image of Marcellin Champagnat, who during the holidays used to summon the directors of schools to make a retreat, form them and with them go about sharing the future of the Marist project, became a reality for us during those days. Brothers coming from the five continents, we felt warmly welcomed in this house by those today who provide a service to the Institute in helping pilgrims experience the encounter with Marcellin and the first brothers in visiting the Marist places.
A significant moment for the group was the celebration of the feast of Saint Marcellin at the Hermitage. A day of much emotion. Contemplating the composition of the community which shared the Eucharist was to contemplate the Marist world in miniature and the dream of Champagnat, “all the dioceses of the world enter into our views”, became reality.
During our pilgrimage, we took the opportunity to go to Geneva to learn at first hand about the situation of the brothers of the FMSI NGO who are working on the defence of the rights of the child before the UNO. Marcellin’s project never ceases being updated.
We are grateful to the communities who gave us hospitality and have given a face to those places which connect us with our Marist roots.