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The Province of the Hermitage leaves the house of Varennes-sur-Allier

01/07/2015: France - Photo gallery

There was a great number of Brothers, of Marist Laity, of friends of the house, the Episcopal Vicar, the parish priest of the Parish with a group of 50 children of the catechesis of the Parish.  Br. Maurice Berquet, the Provincial and Br. Antonio Ramalho, General Counselor, who had come as delegate of Br. Superior General, were also there.  Together on that day, June 6, 2015, we celebrated the departure of the Brothers of Varennes.  We lived that day in thanksgiving for all the Marist life which had spread out from Varennes, toward the Middle East, Greece, Turkey and also Madagascar and Brazil. 

It was in 1891 that this house was inaugurated, so that it would become the Provincial House and a place of formation for the Province of the Bourbonnais that has schools in the center of France.  The following are some important moments in the life of this house.  

 

Expulsion of the religious in 1903 

On April 3, 1903, the French Parliament rejects without examining it, the petition for authorization of the Institute of the Marist Brothers.  The schools and the houses then received notification to close them as soon as possible without delay. It was a terrible shock!  Then the majority of the Brothers and of the Novices of Varennes left for Amchit, in Lebanon.  The Marist life will develop in that country and in Syria, then in the Ottoman Empire.  All the goods of the Congregation were turned over to the estate property and sold. But with the help of benefactors the house was again bought in 1906 and was able to resume its function as Provincial House and of formation. 

 

Fire in 1922

On July 10 a violent fire destroyed the whole house.  The interior structure of the house was in wood and the fire extended rapidly.  The people lodged many of the Brothers.  The restoration was decided and it was carried out with a more solid structure. And the following year, the house was ready to retake and continue its service.  But the Chapel will only be restored in 1953.  

 

War 39-45

After the defeat of June 1940 by the Germans, the house had to accommodate and lodge 200 elderly people brought there from a hospice of Bar-le-Duc in Lorraine.  They remained there until the month of December.  After that the house lodged approximately one hundred student officers, and in November the German soldiers occupied those places.  There will even be a group of German prisoners up until 1948.  But there were always some Brothers in the house.  

 

Retirement House 

Beginning in 1968, the house no longer had the Juvenate, or the Novitiate. It became a house for the retired elderly or sick Brothers after a life dedicated to education in France and abroad. The Brothers spend their days in prayer, reading and multiple other jobs in the garden and the orchard.  They also collaborate in the life of the Parish with the priests and the laity.  

Since the community is becoming less and less numerous, it became necessary to regroup the Brothers in other similar houses.

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Br. Jean Ronzon

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