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Marist Bulletin - Number 196

 

Brother Emilio Rubiolo of our Marist community in Tacuarembˇ, Uruguay
19.05.2005

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We opened the web page of the Marist Brothers in Uruguay and came across the following: Come join us and live your Christian vocation as an educator/ missionary among the least favoured children and young people. Modelling our efforts on Marys, we are guided by Jesus in the mission to secure the sacred dignity of every brother and sister of ours. Get in touch with us and well set out on the road together. Here is an interview we did with Brother Emilio.

Brother Emilio, youre a Marist brother. How did your vocation come about?
Every vocation has its beginnings in a personal response to Gods call to fulfil ones purpose or destiny in life. As a Marist Brother, I dont rule out any number of motivating factors behind my calling. Some I consider random and unplanned in the human scheme of things - providential, including social, psychological, and material factors.
In my case, in the beginning, my desire to be a teacher exerted a strong influence. I got to know the Marists through a former brother, who was tutoring my older brother. He spoke to me about Marist life. What made more of an impression on me than the religious part, which I wasnt familiar with, was the brothers commitment to education. I welcomed the chance to check things out and Brother Vital came and spoke with me. It was in formation centres that I felt my Marist vocation spring to life and I nurtured it in the midst of my ups and downs and hard times. I was fired up by Saint Marcellins personality, devotion to Mary, and the creative work of Marist education.

Its been many years since you made your initial decision. As you take a look back, what are your feelings?
Let me tell you what Im feeling, thinking, and living. Seeing how my life has unfolded, I feel great satisfaction and inner joy from the innumerable graces and opportunities I have received through the mercy of the Lord and our Good Mother. My heart is filled with excitement and thanks to God, the Marist Institute, my brothers, and so many people and events that have helped me to grow in my vocation. I figure that as I have pursued my vocation Ive been travelling along the best possible road for my life, from many perspectives that arent easy to put into words. What I see are features, signals, and experiences of faith, prayer, fraternity and apostolate lined up to lead me to holiness. And if I am not reaching this goal, it is due to my shortcomings and limitations. In any event, I am thriving in an atmosphere of gratitude, joy, and hope.

Before living in the community of Tacuarembˇ, where did you work and what did you do?
Prior to living in this community in Tacuarembˇ, I was at several schools, as a teacher in most of them. However, there is something I call my second vocation in life: promoting vocations. I came to appreciate this and tried to work on it during my time at Jesu Magister. I have always thought of this apostolate as filled with potential, and have dedicated more than twenty years of intense work to this field. As a result of this ministry, I had the happiness of bringing a group of students to the Juniorate every year; boundless energy in overcoming opposition, misunderstandings, and even disrespect; and assimilating new members into the masterwork of Saint Marcellin. Obediently, about fifteen years ago, I left vocation work, but my solicitude for vocations continues in accord with my age and limitations.

Was it easy to accept your most recent assignment?
Many years ago I had made known my wish to go on the mission ad gentes. When I retired from teaching I jumped at the opportunity to come to Uruguay. And in 2001, I was pleased to join in the work of this community in Tacuarembˇ. Ive always tried to accompany and serve those in greatest need, teach catechism in poor neighbourhoods, visit families and care for the sick. Here I feel like Im doing exactly what God wants me to do.

How would you characterize the community of Tacuarembˇ? How many brothers does it have?
Our insertion community in Tacuarembˇ, Uruguay was founded in 1996, in line with initiatives proposed by our leadership. I would summarize its main features this way. We are three brothers fraternally trying to live the dream of Saint Marcellin. We do not have a centre for formal education, a school. Our community is a witness in very poor neighbourhoods, promotes the Christian life, works in youth ministry, teaches catechism, accompanies the CEBS program, gives preparatory talks for baptism, and visits families and the sick.

Whats it like to be a part of this community?
Our Superiors proposed setting up this community in Tacuarembˇ four years ago. From experience I can say that, for me personally, it has been a blessing for the following reasons. We share our community life and schedules for prayers, meetings, and apostolate just like other communities do. We live fraternal love and family spirit, are fully involved in the communitys life and apostolate, practise the little virtues, and welcome each other as a gift from the Lord. Adhering to our community plan we strive to live according to Gods will and provide special care for those who are poorest and most in need. Both the Gospel and our Constitutions summon us to live the family spirit found in Nazareth. Here we are offered the nitty-gritty for doing this; for example, preparing meals, washing pots and pans, sweeping and cleaning the house; organising and taking care of so many details, from replacing the flowers in our chapel to sweeping out the dust and grime tracked in from the street; digging, planting, watering, and harvesting in our garden; answering the phone, shopping, bike riding, washing and ironing our clothes, etc. I can enjoy long periods of personal prayer in my life, and practise the spirituality that Saint Marcellin has handed on to us. We give expression to our life of poverty by being as open and helpful as we can be, and striving to be detached from things we dont need. I still feel its so hard to let go of things and free my heart from material goods.

Besides housework, what is your apostolate in the town?
My apostolate ranges from tutoring students at the Community Centre to teaching catechism, supporting a Basic Community, visiting families, accompanying the sick and the elderly, and solidifying and energising the fraternal life of my community, trying to truly love its members.

In your view, what are the basic values needed by those who want to live Champagnats dream today?
For me values are outcomes in the abstract. They become tangible when we put them into practice, or if you prefer, a life of virtue, i.e., good habits and appropriate actions. Therefore for those of us who wish to enter into Champagnats dreams today, our absolute need is to take something we all have in our heads and make it spring from out hearts in practical actions. For instance, acting as people trained in the theological virtues and adorned with the little virtues. Meaning: to be centred and live passionately in Jesus Christ.

How would you evaluate your life right now?
These days, as I near the end of my earthly life, I am living Marist values, aware that from day to day I can purify the meaning of my life, adjusting or refining it out of love for the Lord. I try to enjoy the presence of God, now that I have more time for personal prayer and allowing myself to love.

We are celebrating a vocation year throughout the Marist Institute. Would you assure young men today that its rewarding to be a Marist Brother?
I tell todays young men that it is not only worthwhile to be a Marist Brother but its how to make the breathtaking dream of Saint Marcellin come true. His is a dream that answers the Lords call in the outcry of thousands, millions of children and young people thirsting for justice, truth, love and education. And I would add that to enter the Marist Institute you have to begin with constant prayer to our Blessed Mother, its owner. Let young men try our Marist life and they will go on to live with passion for Jesus Christ in Marys unsurpassable way.

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