champagnat journal - volume 17 number 2 - winter 2015
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DESCRIPTIONChampagnat: An International Marist Journal of Charism in Education aims to assist its readers to integrate charism into education in a way that gives great life and hope. Marists provide one example of this mission.
AN INTERNATIONAL MARIST JOURNAL OF CHARISM IN EDUCATION
volume 17 | number 02 | 2015
• A North-South Conversation
• Responding to “Laudato Si”
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Champagnat: An International Marist Journal of Charism in Educationaims to assist its readers to integrate charism into education in a way that gives great life
and hope. Marists provide one example of this mission.
EditorTony Paterson [email protected]: 0409 538 433
Management CommitteeMichael Green FMSLee McKenzieTony Paterson FMS (Chair)Roger Vallance FMS
Peer-ReviewersThe papers published in this journal are peer-reviewed by the Management Committee or theirdelegates. The peer-reviewers for this editionwere:
Michael McManus FMSTony Paterson FMSKath RichterRoger Vallance FMS
Champagnat: An International Marist Journal ofCharism in Education, ISSN 1448-9821, ispublished three times a year by Marist Publishing
Peer-Review:The papers published in this journal are peer-reviewed by the Management Committee or theirdelegates.
Correspondence:Br Tony Paterson, FMSMarist Centre,PO Box 1247,MASCOT, NSW, 1460Australia
Email: [email protected]
Views expressed in the articles are those of therespective authors and not necessarily those ofthe editors, editorial board members or thepublisher.
Unsolicited manuscripts may be submitted and ifnot accepted will be returned only if accompaniedby a self-addressed envelope. Requests forpermission to reprint material from the journalshould be sent by email to –The Editor: [email protected]
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ChampagnatAn International Marist Journal of Charism in Education
Volume 17 Number 02 July 2015
Editorial 4Lee McKenzie
Contributors 5Tony Paterson
Embracing the Present Moment:
1. Australian Marist Pilgrimage 7Peter Keegan
2. Come and See 8Robert O’Connor
3. A Dangerous Shift 9Debra Vermeer
Responding to Laudato Si 10Gerard Holohan and Michael Kennedy
A Marist North-South Conversation (Part 1) 14Richard Dunleavy and Andre Lanfrey
On being a Marist leader and teacher 17Christopher Maoudis
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in my view...EDITORIAL:
It is July and most things in the garden here inthe south are dormant. The cold settles in andplants rest. The garden beds, which fill with
bright roses and lush vegetation later in the yearwhen everything flourishes, for now are sleepingwith the odd rose braving the weather. But take acloser look at the garden and there are pockets oflushness, tiny purple flowers with golden centrespeeping out between rounded green leaves. They sitat ground level and don’t command attention.Rather they act as a backdrop and accompanimentto the showier plants. They are violets, which intheir smallness and inconspicuousness reflect theglory of God and his work in creation. It is nowonder that they are used as symbols by Maristswho focus on doing good quietly.
Finding modesty, simplicity and humility in ourworld is very like finding the violets in the garden.you need to have the eyes to see them and anappreciation of the gentle power of their virtues. Somany things and people clamour for our attention;arrogance and pretentiousness have great currencyin our society. In the glare of celebrity or fame thesubtleties of virtues can become almost invisiblejust like the small violets standing at the foot ofdazzling roses. For Marists there is a doublechallenge; to both live the virtues and to see andvalue them in others when the rest of the worldseems to push us towards meeting our own egodriven needs or makes celebrities of often vacuousand insubstantial people.
For Marists living the virtues is not an excuse towithdraw from life. After all Champagnat was notthe founder of a contemplative order. his challengeto the earliest brothers and to us, is hold to thevirtues with the tenacity of the violets which growwild in his home the Loire Valley. To extend ourreach into new places, offer growth in new patchesso that the virtues will be found everywhere. Thereis a vigour about this which has us searching fornew ways to live out Champagnat’s vision, newways of bringing Christ into the hearts and lives ofthose around us.
Recently we will have celebrated Champagnatday. Most Marist schools will have found ways tohighlight those members of their communitieswho embody the virtues and model the Maristcharacteristics. These are the violets in the gardensof our schools. The often quiet ones, who allowothers to shine, who contribute without seekingacclaim. Many such people are reflected in thepages of this journal; students and staff who offerthemselves in uncomplicated ways to build strongcommunities and to bear witness to God’smovement in our lives.
A single violet is of course pretty, but barelyworthy of note, violets are best in bunches, sharingtheir beauty together.
Lee McKenzie,Lavalla Catholic College,Traralgon, Victoria.
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This edition of the Champagnat Journal seeksto develop the theme of people reflecting andwriting in terms of the present moment.
That is, reflecting and writing on a number of eventsthat come into our lives each day. Our response asChristians, as Marists, as citizens of this universecalls us to be authentic, to respect the other, and torespond when the values and beliefs that we holdas central to our lives and to our mission arechallenged. Such a response is for us, as Christians,directly tied to the characteristics of our Christianministry. These characteristics have the potential tomove mountains and focus on the following:
• Ministry is always centred on doingsomething positive: for God and neighborjust as the contributors for this edition of theChampagnat Journal have done through theirreflection and writing skills.
• Our ministry is always undertaken for theadvent and presence of the kingdom of God;
• Ministry is a public action on behalf of theChristian community;
• It is a gift received in faith, and through theSacraments such as Baptism, Matrimony orOrdination; and
• It is an activity with its own limits and identityexisting within a diversity of ministerial actions.
The Church is called to encourage real universalityof ministry and not reduce it to symbols andmetaphors or casual kindness. Despite the wide rangeof topics raised in the context of this journal, all ofthe writers seek to reflect and respond in the contextof their calls to ministry, and we thank them forthis important contribution. Such action on their parthas the potential to nourish our Marist ministry inthe context of the here and now; in the context ofthe present moment.
Lee McKenzie is a member of the LeadershipTeam at Lavalla Catholic College in Traralgon inVictoria. her reflection in our Editorial challengesus to reflect on how the environment speaks to us
about our own ministries in a Marist context.Peter Keegan is a lecturer at Macquarie
University in Sydney. he participated in the recentAustralian Marist Pilgrimage to the holy Landand France. he reflects on the impact of the visitto Champagnat territory in southern France andwhat it says to us today.
Brother Robert O’Connor is a Marist Brotherand Spiritual Director based in Sydney. In hisreflection he skillfully presents a story that isrelated to the whole question of scripture speakingto us, and being a source of hope in our ownministries.
Debra Vermeer is a free-lance journalist whowrites for a number of religious groups includingthe Good Samaritan Sisters. Debra’s short reportis on the recent talk given by Professor MargaretSomerville at Notre Dame University in Sydney.The topic is tied to the current agenda anddiscussion taking place with regard to euthanasiaand assisted suicide. Professor Somerville is anAustralian, and regarded as an expert on the legal,medical and ethical implications of this issue. It isa debate that all of us, as Marists associated withthe education of young people, should be aware ofand competent to discuss this life issue with thosewe are responsible for.
Both Bishop Gerard Holohan and BishopMichael Kennedy respond in two different papersto the recent encyclical of Pope Francis titled‘Laudato Si’. This is an important statement by thePope and one that encompasses our call to respondto the needs of the present moment.
Bishop holohan is the Bishop of Bunbury inWestern Australia, and an affiliated member of theMarist Brothers. his response to the encyclical isin the form of a Pastoral Letter to all the membersof his diocese. It is a beautiful letter, and one thathas the potential to challenge all of us, and thosethat we live and work with.
Bishop Kennedy’s paper provides anotherresponse to the encyclical. Bishop Kennedy is theBishop of Armidale in New South Wales. Thepaper has been offered for publication through the
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Australian Catholic Press Association (ACPA).Bishop Kennedy is Chair of Catholic EarthcareAustralia, and a member of the Australian BishopsCommittee for Justice, Ecology and Development.
Brother Richard Dunleavy and Brother AndreLanfrey are both Marist Brothers, the former is aNew Zealander, and the latter is a Frenchman.Brother Richard is a former Provincial of NewZealand and a former General Councilor duringthe mandate of the late Brother Charles howard.Br Andre has also had significant leadership rolesprimarily in Europe, and more recently has beenassociated with the International PatrimonyCommittee of the Marist Brothers.
In the first of a two-part series, these two menof great wisdom discuss the current revision of theConstitutions of the Marist Brothers. Obviouslysuch a process needs to be tied to our patrimony, andone of the significant insights in this discussion ishow both men can weave a thread through the past
to help address the present moment of our historyas Marists: both as Brothers and as Lay-Marists.
Christopher Maoudis is a senior teacher atMarist College North Shore in Sydney. In 2014 heparticipated in the Australian Pilgrimage to thebirth-place of the Marist Institute, and used theexperience as part of the requirements to completehis Master’s degree through the AustralianCatholic University. The extract of his paper clearlysuggests that not only was the pilgrimageimportant for him by way of completing hisstudies, but important because it helped him toarticulate the key principles of being Marist and aleader in a school community that seeks to educateyoung people within the charism of St MarcellinChampagnat.
Our gratitude to these contributors and for theirChristian ministry in the context of the theme anddiscussion within this publication.
Br Tony Paterson
THANK YOUOur gratitude to those who have contributed papers to this edition, and to the proof-readers andto those who have assisted with the peer-review process. The Management Committee.
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Embracing the Present Moment1. AUSTRALIAN MARIST PILGRIMAGE
As Michael Green contextualised ourpilgrimage thus far, the Marial andapostolic dimensions of Marcellin’s
spirituality situate their roots not in the GeneralChapter house (Rome EUR), not in the Chapelof the Virgin where the Fourviere pledge wassworn (Lyon), not even in the home ofChampagnat and his fledgling community of menand boys (La Valla), but in Marcellin’s heart. TheMarist spirituality seems very much an expressionof self, with others – “all for Jesus through Mary,all to Mary for Jesus.” It is hard not to recognisethe in-working of the Spirit in the naissence of theMarist movement: how a group of young men –men nurtured by women of strength and simplicityand daunting capacity, women like Marie-Therese-Chirat, women in many ways very much like Maryfor Jesus – came to seek out a way of being at onewith self and of living in community under thenurturing gaze of Notre Dame, of the Mater DeiGenetrix, striving through hard labour (thewearing down of the Roche, the building of thehermitage, the reclamation of the woodlandbordering the Gier), through a redefinedcatechetical curriculum of instruction and service(devising and developing an authentic, innovativemode of education, formulating a set of principlesand articulating a spectrum of practices thatembodied a new Order of community), andthrough a dynamic outpouring of this labour andcatechesis out of which emerged a missionary zealfor evangelisation. here at Notre Dame deL’hermitage we who travel in pilgrimage with theMarist charism – priestly, fraternal, sororal, and lay(married and single) – are privileged to partake ofthe selfsame spirituality. We can only hope thatsomething of the spark that burned withinMarcellin and Barthélemy and Bonaventure andJean-Baptiste and Jean-Laurent and Louis andStanislaus and Avit, within Francis de Sales andJean-Baptiste De La Salle and Jean-Baptiste-
Marie Vianney, will catch in our hearts and tendthe tinder of our own work and family andfriendships and living in and of this oh-so-volatileand fragile and dangerous world: a renewal ofChurch in heart and soul and mind and spirit, anongoing incarnation of intellect and belief inthought, word and deed. Indeed, we pilgrims findourselves afforded the opportunity throughpersonal and shared experiences of entering intothe related modes of contemplation and action thatlie at the heart of Marcellin’s Marian apostolicintuition-charism-spirituality.
how appropriate that we find ourselves in thebountifully-watered, vitally verdant valley of theGier – a revitalising and sustaining landscapefeeding hungry spirits fatigued amid the weft andwarp and gyre of doing; a place pregnant withpromise, life-giving in defiance of the world of wireand steel hidden from view mere moments away,industrial St. Chamond; a garden mystical andalive, in full bloom, field and flower, root andbranch, fed by waters that spring from the rock ofTerra Mater, Gaia-Maria, she who gave birth to theNew Age, she who gives birth to new ways of beingthrough her children, through us, with the Father,in Jesus, through the Spirit. here, in this peacefulplenitude, held still in space and time, we renew themystery of holiness, wholeness, one and many – asecret truth revealed in the divinity of ourhumanness, a ministry of service in faith, with hope,through love. This is the heritage of the hermitage:defining the nature of our ongoing spiritual journeytoward meaning in our relationships with God andfamily and church and community, through prayerand reflection and action. Perhaps in the same waythat the evangelising mission of the Little Brothersof Mary responded to the socio-political, cultural-economic, moral and intellectual climate of post-revolutionary France, so may the pilgrimagepassion permeating our hermitage experiencespeak to the complexities, contestations and
Embracing the Present Moment
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conflicting calls of the post-modern (some say,post-human) age. Gifted, graced, and (potentially?potently?) transformed, we are called to build anddraw together the Body of Christ as a (re)new(ed)Church. Like the Pentecostal wind that stirs thetrees of the valley, like the living waters that feedthe springs of farm and townhouse, stable and
village square, so it may be that we will take withus from this place a little something, somethingpetit and special and newly formed, something ofthe heart spring that birthed the Little Brothers,something of Marcellin for our world.
BR ROBERT O’CONNOR
Embracing the Present Moment2. ‘COME AND SEE A MAN WHO HAS TOLD MEEVERYTHING I HAVE EVER DONE!’ [John 4:29]
Irene, a remarkable Cenacle Sister, was mylecturer and guide during a period of renewalat Loyola University of Chicago some years ago
now. Despite regular times of Spiritual Directiontogether, it was not until she guided me through aneight day Retreat as part of the programme, thatshe challenged me to “leave aside the books, eventhe reading of the scriptures” that filled my days, tosimply sit in the garden or prayer room and ‘bestill’; and when next we met for direction she posedthe question that has stayed with me for manyyears now “Tell me about little Robbie!”
Bemused for a moment, at the time, but havingpondered this experience many times since, I came tosee where she was keen for me to go: out of my adult,controlling, somewhat arrogant duplicitousness, to tryto recapture something of the innocence, simplicity,exuberance and passion of the journey from smallboyhood to adolescence, to mature adult, that hadbrought me to the time and place we now shared.
Memories flooded in; memories I had notvisited for a very long time; memories of familydelights and sadness, of fears and anxieties in theyears of my young life. I even recalled that fatefulday in kindergarten when ashamed of asking to ‘goto the toilet’ I wet my pants – the embarrasment ofthe occasion revisited me even amidst the chucklesof memories shared. Then there was the earlyevidence of a degree of entrepreneurship as Imarketed the tiny loaves of bread (scones!) mymother had prepared for me - aged 4 - to load
aboard my tiny wooden cart and to ply trade upand down our street – just a penny each!
On my return home from the USA, and somefew years later, during the Great Exercises of StIgnatius, my director Sister Marnie Kennedysuggested I take the story of the Samaritan Woman[ John 4:4-26] for my hour of meditation one verybalmy afternoon.
Aridity was the name of the game that day!Discomfort and a desperate need for coolness werethe preoccupying emotions that still come back tome. Despite constantly re-reading the story,desperately trying to ‘switch on’ to the sense ofplace and persons in the story – nothing, absolutelynothing was happening!
Until, out of nowhere, unannounced, unaccountedfor, many of the ‘skeletons’ of my past began to rattlearound in my memories – limitations, recklessness,infidelities, shallowness, and a great sense of shamedescended on me! With the hour almost completedI decided that a good way to rid myself of theseunwanted distractions would be, to one more timere-read the story – slowly and with feeling!
What astounded me then and has continued tobe a gift of memory, was that when I opened theScriptures to re-read the episode, the words thatmy eyes first lit upon, was the sentence from theSamaritan woman to her neighbours in the village:“come and see a man who has told me everythingI have ever done!”
It was a moment of one of those gifts, that are
Keegan, O’Connor, Vermeer
JULy 2015 ChAMPAGNAT | 9
not all that uncommon in the Great Exercises – amoment of insight, illumination, and liberty. Therewere many emotions and not a few tears thatafternoon and for some days to follow – a sensethat this me, here and now, is the one that Jesusloves, not some cardboard cut-out, good ‘brother’but a flawed, wounded, damaged seeker, for whomall these experiences that life had served up, had allbeen part of the shaping process; that the personJesus loves unconditionally is not just the person ofthese latter years but indeed, the puling infant, thecharming toddler, the emerging risky adolescent,the confused and weak young adult, the stumblingarrogant young religious – all of which each one of
us probably is and has been. “I have called you byyour name, you are mine….I have carved you in thepalm of my hand…and I love you!”
yes, Irene’s question was and remains for medeeply relevant, as I continue to reflect on what thejourney of my life has been, how at each stage ithas meant to be, and how each stage has beenrelevant and gift!
Jesus invited each of us at a certain time in ourlives to “Follow me!”
At no time did he suggest we had to be perfect,just willing to “come and see!”
Br Robert O'Connor
Embracing the Present Moment3. A DANGEROUS SHIFT: Euthanasia a dangerous,
radical shift in society’s foundational values
Euthanasia is not an incremental change tocurrent end-of-life practices, but a radicaland massive shift in our society’s and
civilisation’s foundational values, says internationallyrenowned Australian ethicist, Margaret Somerville.
Dr Somerville, who is a Professor of Law,Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, andFounding Director of the Centre for Medicine,Ethics and Law at McGill University in Montreal,Canada, was speaking at the University of NotreDame (Sydney), as part of a series of public lectureson ethical issues surrounding euthanasia andassisted suicide during her recent visit to Australia.
her presentation focused on lessons to be learntfrom the debate in Canada, where the SupremeCourt earlier this year struck down a ban ondoctor-assisted suicide for mentally competentCanadian patients with terminal illnesses.
She said one of the key arguments of pro-euthanasia advocates was that euthanasia is nodifferent to medical treatments, such as palliativesedation, that are already widely practised.
“When used correctly as part of palliative care,
palliative sedation is not euthanasia,” she said. “Inpalliative sedation as part of standard palliativecare, physicians often allow the patient to becomeconscious from time to time and use the lightestpossible sedation consistent with relievingsuffering. As well, it’s only used as a last resort, andnot often.”
Dr Somerville said acting with an intention tokill is “different-in-kind” from allowing a naturaldeath and that doctors are one of the groups mostopposed to euthanasia.
She said in The Netherlands, where euthanasiais legal, there is so much resistance by physicians tocarrying it out that the government has had to setup “mobile euthanasia units” to visit homes andattend to euthanasia requests.
“Euthanasia is not just an incremental expansionof current ethically and legally accepted end-of-lifedecisions, such as refusals of life-support treatment,as pro-euthanasia advocates argue,” she said.
“It seems that most politicians and manyCanadians do not recognise the momentousness ofa decision to legalise euthanasia. It’s not
Embracing the Present Moment
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incremental change, but rather a radical andmassive shift in our society’s and civilisation’sfoundational values.”
Dr Somerville said another pro-euthanasiastrategy to be resisted is the euphemising ofeuthanasia by calling it “medical treatment” and“medically assisted death”.
“Euthanasia is not medical treatment. Definingit as such presents serious dangers to patients, thetrust-based physician-patient relationship, andmedicine,” she said.
The medicalisation of assisted suicide establishessuicide as a legitimate response to suffering, thusendorsing suicide, Dr Somerville said. Studies haveshown that more honest language such as “state-sanctioned suicide” or “physicians killing theirpatients” reduces public support for deliberatelyinflicted death.
“Words matter,” she said. “Language affectsemotions and intuitions, including moralintuitions, which are important to ethical decision-making.”
Drawing on the Canadian experience, Dr
Somerville said the appeal to individual autonomy,to empathy and compassion, and the promotion ofthe idea that death is actually a benefit to someonewhose life is affected by illness, were all pro-euthanasia arguments to be vigorously resisted.
She said the dangers of legalised killing to societyas a whole must outweigh individual circumstances.
“Euthanasia is special (among ethical debates)because there’s nothing new about it. We’ve alwaysgot old, suffered, become terminally ill, been dyingand somebody could have killed us, and we said‘No, that is wrong. We don’t do that.’
“So that’s why euthanasia is so important.Because if we change that, we’re changing the veryroots of our society. I think we’re changing theessence of what it means to be human if we startkilling each other.”
Dr Somerville’s presentation at The Universityof Notre Dame was a joint initiative of theFaculties of Medicine and Law and the University’sInstitute for Ethics and Society.
Our holy Father, Pope Francis, has writtena new encyclical about the environment,our common home with all other human
beings and creatures, entitled ‘Praise be to you,Lord’. The Pope is calling for a new conversationinvolving the whole of humanity on ‘care for ourcommon home’.
I urge all Catholics to read the encyclical and todiscuss its ideas whenever opportunities arise intheir families and among their friends, neighbours,
clubs and places of work and sport. In essence, theencyclical gives an overview of the environmentalproblems we face and invites reflection from theperspective of basic Catholic moral teaching.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL STATE OF OUR
Many, I know, have been as reserved as I havebeen about the environmental claims of politicaland ideological groups and parties. The first chapterof the encyclical, entitled ‘What is happening to
BISHOP GERARD HOLOHAN – BISHOP OF BUNBURY
Responding to Laudato SiPastoral Letter
LET US REFLECT ON OUR COMMON HOME
JULy 2015 ChAMPAGNAT | 11
our common home?’ gives the first non-politicalnon-ideological description I have read about theextraordinary damage being done to our sharedenvironment by humanity. It deals with world-wide
• pollution and climate change• the diminishing quantity and quality of water• the loss of biodiversity and its longer term
adverse consequences• the decline in the quality of human life and
social breakdown• global inequality.Though it is based on a solid scientific consensus,
the encyclical is not a scientific document, and doesnot take sides in scientific debate. however, theoverall scale of its description of environmentalproblems is bracing.
GOSPEL OF CREATION
The second chapter of the document reflectsupon Catholic teaching on the human inter-relationship with the environment. The Pope’semphasis on Catholic moral teaching about thedignity of the human person highlights where theencyclical parts company with those so-called ‘green’movements and political parties which ignorehuman dignity. As the Pope writes [Laudato Si 90]
At times we see ... more zeal is shown inprotecting other species than in defending thedignity which all human beings share in equalmeasure.
WHAT THE POPE REJECTS
Pope Francis rejects environmental approacheswhich treat humanity as if it is harmful per se to theenvironment; fail to take into account genuinehuman needs (as distinct from ‘wants’), especiallythose of the poor; blame the world’s environmentalproblems on population growth and seek to justifythe killing of the unborn.
The Pope points out that the benefits of scientificprogress and technology have not been evenlyspread. As a result, twenty percent of wealthiermaterialistic societies of the world today, over-consume well beyond their moral entitlement tothe resources of the earth. These nations, whichinclude Australia, owe an ‘ecological debt’ to the restof the world. They are obliged to correctenvironmental damage for which they are responsible.
Advocating population reduction is simplyadvocating the reduction in the number of people
who are entitled to their fair share of the earth’sresources, as God intended for creation.
BASIC HUMAN DIGNITY
The Pope stresses that the earth is our sharedhome. he insists that any discussion of theenvironment must include the dignity of thehuman person. he points to Catholic moralprinciples which flow from it, including thePrinciples of the Common Destination of Goodsand the Common Good.
The Principle of the Common (or Universal)Destination of Goods insists that everyone onPlanet Earth is entitled to the basic necessities oflife from the earth’s resources. This precedes theprinciple of the right to private property.
The Principle of the Common Good insists thathuman individuals (and groups) share in commoncertain basic and inalienable rights to what theyneed for their personal integral development. The‘common good’ is not giving precedence to themajority over the minority, but the ‘good’ to whichindividuals are entitled in common with all others.
These moral principles conflict withcontemporary pervasive economic policies, such asrationalist economics, which put profits beforepeople and see people’s value in economic terms.From a moral perspective, economic policies shouldseek to serve the dignity and rights of people andnever view people as economic units.
A range of moral issues follow from theseprinciples. They include the family, the right toemployment, migration and the cultures ofindigenous people. Moral economic thinking, forexample, will not see it as just to penalise those on lowincomes to address economic challenges and reverses.
ISSUES IN OUR DIOCESE
There are many controversial issues in ourDiocese, issues which have been and continue tobe the subject of critical debate but whichnevertheless need to be reflected upon from ahuman-environmental moral perspective. Examplesinclude the excessive use of fertilisers, the localimpact of the Wagerup alumina refinery, thelogging of old growth forests, subsidies for farmers,the need for renewable energies, the best of goodfarming land being subdivided for housing - toname a few. I am not suggesting that I am takingsides in these controversies, but making the point
holohan and Kennedy
Responding to Laudato Si
12 | ChAMPAGNAT JULy 2015
that the moral perspectives identified by PopeFrancis need to be included in the debates.
The moral resolution of these controversiesshould not include solutions which areincompatible with human rights, including that toemployment. Economic thinking which focussesupon human dignity and rights will lead todifferent solutions over time.
Then there are issues related to personaloverconsumption and waste for each of us. Whilemany in our society are ‘doing it tough’, do thewardrobes of others show perfectly good clothesnot being used because they are no longerfashionable? Do our young give up perfectly goodiPhones and other technologies to buy ‘the latest’?Would we not be better to forgo fashions and ‘thelatest’ and give the money spent on these to ProjectCompassion or Caritas for the benefit of thehungry and poor?
A GLOBAL CHALLENGE
These are but a few examples of issues andquestions the encyclical raises for people in ourDiocese. There are many others. To promotefurther reflection, I have asked our diocesan AdultFaith Education Team to prepare discussionbooklets for parishioners.
The Pope says much about how theenvironmental challenges we face need to beaddressed – but my purpose here is simply toencourage Catholics to reflect on the implicationsof the encyclical for the south west of Australia.
The fundamental changes needed for the humancauses of environmental damage and humanpoverty and inequality need to start in the heartsof individuals – that is, each of us.
Bishop Gerard Holohan
Not everyone is happy about what PopeFrancis has had to say in Laudato Si’, hisencyclical letter on the environment. One
critic described the document as “a mixture of junkscience, junk economics and junk ethics” which, iffollowed, would prevent the world’s poor escapingpoverty.
But there was widespread praise as well, fromworld leaders among others. President Obama saidhe deeply admired Francis’s “decision to make thecase – clearly, powerfully, and with the full moralauthority of his position – for action on globalclimate change”.
Unsurprisingly, Green parties here and overseasalso welcomed the encyclical, although it is unclearwhether they picked up the pope’s criticisms ofsome of their own approaches in the document.
Francis’s endorsement of the scientific consensuson climate change grabbed most of the headlines.This was widely anticipated and for the pope, supportfor the consensus from his own scientific advisorybody, the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, whichhas 21 Nobel Prize winners among its 74 eminentscientists, obviously gives the science some credibility.
Another media focus was the provocative languagehe used to argue that the earth is looking “more andmore like an immense pile of filth”, that “thepresent world system is certainly unsustainable”,and that we need “a bold cultural revolution” if weare going to find a way forward.
Francis has also continued the modern papal traditionof calling for stronger international institutions toaddress global problems. “Because the stakes are sohigh, we need institutions empowered to impose
BISHOP MICHAEL KENNEDY – BISHOP OF ARMIDALE
Responding to Laudato Si“Everything is Interconnected”
holohan and Kennedy
JULy 2015 ChAMPAGNAT | 13
penalties for damage inflicted on the environment”and “enforceable international agreements”.
This was not to everyone’s liking either, and anumber of responses made the point, politely orotherwise, that no one is required to agree with thepope’s opinions on science, economics or politics.
Francis says as much himself. “The Church doesnot presume to settle scientific questions or toreplace politics”, he writes. “But I am concerned toencourage an honest and open debate so thatparticular interests or ideologies will not prejudicethe common good”.
The concern for the common good is at the heartof this document, and on this question the popespeaks with real authority. Catholics and otherpeople are free to agree or disagree with his analysisand the suggestions he offers for practical action,but this does not make Laudato Si’ just anotherpoint of view. As an encyclical, it is one of thehighest forms of papal teaching authority.
Because they apply enduring principles tocontemporary problems, papal social encyclicalslike Laudato Si’ have to be read on two levels. Theyrely on the expert knowledge of the day tounderstand the problems they address, and so tosome extent their successful application into thefuture depends on how knowledge and ideas aboutthe best responses continue to develop.
All the same, papal social encyclicals have apretty good track record of retaining their relevanceand importance because of the principles theyapply in analysing and rethinking a problem. Thecommon good is one of these principles, and itrefers to what is good for everyone, the duty wehave to promote this, and the right we have toshare in it. As Francis formulates this principle inLaudato Si’, the common good means “that everythingis interconnected, and that genuine care for our ownlives and our relationships with nature is inseparablefrom fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others”.
Francis speaks about the way ideologies or interestscan prejudice the common good, and he identifiesa number of them: out-of-control consumerism; “amagical conception of the market”; an approach tobusiness (in itself “a noble vocation”) which avoidstransparency and proper engagement with localcommunities; a belief in technology as the only wayof solving problems; and an approach to the
environment which opposes trafficking endangeredspecies but is unconcerned about the poor, theunwanted, or the child in the womb.
There is something in this list to annoy almosteveryone, which is part of the point Francis wantsto make. Whatever our particular approach to theenvironment, we can all cling so strongly to certainways of thinking and behaving as right or normal,that we no longer really see the world around us orencounter the person in the people we meet. We canend up treating both the world and each other simplyas things to use or problems that have to be dealt with.
Interconnectedness is a major principle of thisencyclical. Because we are so used to living in afragmented world, a world where so much of ourlife together and even our personal lives isseparated into silos, Francis’s insistence throughoutLaudato Si’ “that everything is connected” may wellbe its most challenging and enduring contribution.
On the environment specifically he highlightstwo re-connections that need to be made. Firstly,human beings are part of the created world, notstanding apart from it like aliens. This means ouridea of ecology needs to incorporate social andhuman ecology if it is really going to be effective.As Francis puts it, “human beings too are creaturesof this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness,and endowed with unique dignity”.
Secondly, for all the undoubted blessings whichtechnology and markets have brought fordevelopment and growth, too often we fall into thetrap of treating them as the solution to everything.We ignore the deeper causes of environmental andsocial problems and focus on managing thesymptoms. This approach owes much to theblindness caused by an engorged consumerism anda destructive idea of individualism which equatesfreedom and creativity with the absence of anylimit on the human will.
Francis believes strongly in human freedom andour capacity to change how we think, act and relateto the environment and each other. It is not a badidea. We should put aside whatever initial irritationsor objections people might have about Laudato Si’and take a deeper, calmer look. The cultural shiftthat Francis invites each of us to make is up to us.
Bishop Michael Kennedy
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BR ANDRE LANFREY FMS AND BR RICHARD DUNLEAVY FMS
A Marist North-South Conversation“With Mary we go in haste to a new land” (Lk 1:39)
As part of the dialogue and consultation for therevision of our Constitutions, the “North-SouthConversation” below, in two parts, is a fraternalexchange of views between Br Andre Lanfrey FMS,the distinguished Marist historian in France, and BrRichard Dunleavy FMS in New Zealand.
RDI have read with great interest, and indeed
inspiration, the writings of Br Emili which stressour call to “build the Marian Face of the Church”(Circular 2 Jan. 2012). That theme also flows as astrong stream through the recent documents likeWater from the Rock and Gathered around the sameTable. Should we not, then, define this emphasismore explicitly as part of our Marist mission in ourrevised Constitutions?
AL“To build a Church with a Marial Face” and
then rewrite our constitutions in terms of that issomething which definitely corresponds with whathappened at the birth of our Institute. however,before we do that let me mention some issues Iwant to raise.
It is true that we do, in fact, need to “go in hasteto a new land”, but does that therefore mean thatwe have to immediately revise our Constitutions?I recall that, although the Institute was founded inJanuary 1817, the “definitive” Constitutions werenot completed until 1852. The 1837 Rule was onlya Book of Customs. And following that, there wereforty years of discussions with Rome whichdemanded some changes to those Constitutions.They were seen as being too focussed on the centralgovernance. So it was not until 1903, that theInstitute was finally obliged to accept Rome’s formof the Constitutions. I skip over the Constitutionsof 1922 which were later modified in 1958, and moveon to the “ad experimentum” Constitutions of 1968which, in turn, led to the “definitive” text of 1985.
So my question is why are we now rushing tocompose another set of new Constitutions?
Actually, in my view, every institute usuallyevolves through three stages: the first is the“mystical” vision phase, the second is the “utopian”phase, and lastly we arrive at the stage of theinstitution. While the first and second stages growalong together at the start, it is the later stage ofthe institution that enshrines the originalinspiration by distinguishing what remains truly“mystical” in the original foundation from whatbelonged only to the passing “utopian” phase.
Right from the start the movement to build aworldwide Marial church was envisioneddifferently by Colin, Courveille, Champagnat andeven J.M Chavoin. That was why two quite distinctprojects developed (L’hermitage and Belley).Courveille, unable to let go of his utopian vision,had to move away. Champagnat never conceivedthe society of Brothers as being independent fromthe Fathers. yet that’s what did happen between1852 (at the general chapter) and 1860 (at theretreat led by Br Francois). Thus the legislation of1852-54 was the completion of a process whichhad taken 35 years. And it was only the dominantleadership of Br Louis-Marie that could succeedin imposing the new emphases upon a group ofBrothers who, in fact, remained deeply committedto an earlier quite different tradition.
After 1880 I believe that the Institutefunctioned as a religious order based on piety,regularity, fraternal charity, and the school. Theinstitution took pre-eminence over the “mystical”and “utopian” elements. And that continued rightup till 1967. At that point we experienced, in theChapter of 1967-68, the full-on post-conciliarcrisis which was an absolute explosion. That floodof change was “utopian” rather than “mystical”, but,in any case, strongly anti-institutional. It was forthat reason that we needed time to finally arrive atthe “definitive” constitutions in 1985. But no sooner
JULy 2015 ChAMPAGNAT | 15
had our spirituality been fairly clearly defined, theissue of lay partnership introduced a new current,both “mystical” and “utopian”, which challenged thestructure of those new constitutions. And now wehave the focus on the Marial face of the churchadding a further weighty challenge as well.
So I do completely agree with the analysis of BrEmili Turu who, in his circular of 2 January 2012,says, “The Institute has changed much since itsfoundation…Structurally, we have changed moreand more profoundly in the last 50 years than inall the 140 previous ones.” But we also need to addthat because this process of change is far from beingover, it is a difficult environment to develop newconstitutions which risk becoming quickly out ofdate.
But I also recognise that today the Institutesuffers from a problem which is completelyopposite to what it experienced in the period 1860– 1967” that is the institution is much weaker inrelation to the mystical and utopian elements. Forthat reason we do indeed require some sort ofrewriting of our constitutions.
That having been said, I now speak in mycapacity as a historian. The reason for this isbecause I believe that the Institute has alwayslacked a history solid enough for it to be able todefine its identity. In my opinion, having come toa scientific understanding of history somewhat late,it has yet to succeed to actually integrate thatapproach into its work. Take for example the themeof the building of a Marial face for the churchwhich goes right back to our origins. The MaristFathers developed that theme strongly, drawing onthe letters of Father Colin. But what preciseknowledge of the Marial face of the church do wehave in the writings of Champagnat, or from ourown traditions? Well, in fact, there are many suchreferences but there is no practical synthesis ofthem. I consider that Br Emili treats that subjectfrom the theological and mystical point of view.But an overall historical framework would havebeen welcome. I add that within our tradition thereis a Johannine aspect, not yet sufficiently avertedto, in which certain texts from our origins haveJohn as the “first Marist”. So it is my opinion thatthe Institute has less need for new Constitutionsthan for a systematic study of our spiritual traditionwhich would enable us to embed our traditions notonly theologically and spiritually, but also historically.
I would now like to sketch out some of theprincipal stages of that history.
1. We discover the spirituality of Champagnatin his instructions and in those sayings like “All toJesus through Mary”, “Mary, our OrdinaryResource”. The very first summary is that of the fivetalks given in the room at La Valla about 1818.And there are his first instructions of 1822 (Lifepp.103 – 105), repeated and developed in theManual of Piety. In addition there is the shortwritten summary of 1824 (Life p.128-130), and theSalve Regina of 1830. The Letters of Champagnat,as interesting as they undoubtedly are, do notconstitute a systematic summary of his doctrinebut, on the other hand, his teaching, often retainedby Br Jean-Baptiste and Br Francois, do leave uswith an important patrimony. But for me the mostinteresting synthesis is what is displayed in theimages from the 1836 chapel at the hermitage.
Champagnat’s teaching, mainly oral in nature,we can describe as being based on a strong sense ofthe centrality of God (“presence of God”,“confidence in God”), and on a Christology closelylinked to a Mariology flowing from the Marialprivileges: Immaculate Conception, Assumption,Mary’s share in our redemption.
2. The second synthesis of our Marist spiritualityis to be found in the notebooks, letters, and circularsof Br Francois, which we have not sufficientlystudied. The circular on the spirit of faith, writtenin four parts between 1847 and 1853, must berecognised as being of exceptional importance. AndI consider that the Manual of Piety (1855) is theforerunner of the Principles of Perfection which waslargely the work of Br Francois either when he wasMaster of Novices or Superior.
3. Generally too much importance is given to BrJean-Baptiste’s definition of the synthesis of thespirit of the Institute. It was certainly he who wasthe principal author of the Common Rules (1852),of the Teachers’ Guide (1853) and of the Rules ofGovernment (1854). But Br Francois, Br Louis-Marie, and also, perhaps, Fr Matricon who waschaplain at the hermitage, also played animportant role. The same applies to the Life ofFather Champagnat of 1856.
After 1860 Br Jean-Baptiste completed the officialwritings with several more personal works: theBiographies of several Brothers, Avis, Lecons,Sentences, and The Good Superior. There were also his
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books of meditations, and the Directory of Piety.4. Through his numerous circulars which were
full of teachings, Br Louis-Marie gave his owninterpretation of Marist spirituality. That wasbetween 1860 and 1879 but it remained as a majorreference until 1940.
In my opinion, after 1879 and before 1967, thereis not another important synthesis about Maristspirituality even though Br Stratonique (1907-1920), Br Leonida (1946-1958), and Br Charles-Raphael (1958-1967) do give us some interestinginsights. In addition to those summaries from theSuperiors there were also the articles and reviewsin the Bulletin of the Institute, and obituaries whichby describing the practical lives of Brothers,revealed more about a general spirit of the Institutetogether with a huge number of individualspiritualities.
5. On the other hand, from 1967, synthesesmultiply: Br Basilio wrote a very full doctrinalsummary which is already somewhat forgotten.
6. Br Charles howard, much more succinctly,did the same
7. Br Sean Sammon more recently published hisown description.
So, in my opinion, the Institute, throughout itshistory, has experienced seven key doctrinalsummaries. In them there is certainly a clear lineof continuity but there are also some very deepruptures. For example, until 1852 the Instituterelied more on the oral teaching of Fr Champagnatpassed down by the older Brothers than on a Rulewhich was still only being developed. Followingthat it was a more intangible Rule right throughuntil 1967. Furthermore, in the preface to his Life,Br Jean-Baptiste presented Champagnat asFounder of a monastic order. And the Brotherswere regarded less and less as a society of teacherswho were laymen, and more and more as a religiousorder cut off from the laity. The rediscovery of thelay identity of the Institute did not emerge untilafter 1967. Between 1852 and 1967 the Institutehad regarded the laity as those alongside whomthey worked (other school teachers), students andtheir parents from whom vocations could besought, and lastly as teachers collaborating withthem in their own schools.
In regard to Marial devotion a number of verydiscernible changes can be seen: for example,devotion to the Sacred heart becomes more
prominent so that with Br Stratonique we get thedevelopment of devotion to the Sacred hearts ofJesus and Mary. In recent decades attention hasbeen focussed on the Annunciation, Visitation andPentecost, whereas previously the stress had beenon the various Marial privileges. Furthermore, ourMarist writings evoke relations with Mary throughour imitation (devotion) and our identification(mystical approach).
Right from Champagnat’s time the apostolatewas primarily a question of preparing the childrenfor their first holy communion; then the Instituteevolved towards educating older children andindeed the youth. As for zeal, several chapters ofthe Life of Father Champagnat (XIX – XXIV) weredevoted to that topic, but just one to his love ofwork (XIV). But if you check through thebiographies of the Brothers you find the mostimportant virtue is the love of work, and alsointegrates zeal within that context. And what ofMary: is she seen as a model of zeal? While beingclearly admired for her time in the temple beforeher marriage, for her silence and her humility, is sheoften presented to us as a woman of zeal, asexemplified in the Story of the Visitation. Todaywe honour Mary who sets out in haste. But beforethat the Institute asked the Brothers to be presentin their schools like Mary in the Temple.
I am certainly far removed from that idea thatthe Institute, before our times, did not present theconcept of the Church with a Marial face. Forexample, the Brothers have always shown anamazing spirit of service. But I would maintain thatthey were then manifesting only ONE Marial faceof the Church within the wider context ofChristianity and its hierarchical spirit. As Imentioned was the Brothers’ devotion to Mary anattitude of imitation? Or of identification? Andwhat was their link between their God-centred,Christ-centred, and Mary-centred spirituality? Iconsider that, little by little, the Institute has letslide the theocentric focus of its tradition (thepresence of God) in favour of a Christology andMariology which were over-valued or inadequatelyre-evaluated.
The thrust of the last General Chapter is “WithMary, to go in haste to a new land!” But isn’t itnecessary, in order not to lose our way en route, to
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Lanfrey and Dunleavy
have a realistic idea of the strengths and weaknessesof that “land” we are heading for? It seems to methat this would require our undertaking a searchfor the truth in that respect.
RDMany thanks for that incisive and most
interesting survey of so many elements of ourMarist history, particularly the seven greattransitions which you identify. I find your referenceto those deep “ruptures” thought-provoking,especially the difference between the spirit of thefirst Brothers passed down by their living exampleand their oral transmission, and the monasticinstitutionalisation that came about through theimposition of the first Rule after the long dialoguewith Rome.
That observation recalls an important experience
in my own life. A group of Brothers on a course inRome in 1973 were given a wonderful, liberatingunderstanding of what I might call the “realMarcellin” when we visited l’hermitage for someweeks in 1973, and had lectures from Br Balko andBr Gabriel Michel. They revealed to us the new“face” or portrait of Marcellin which you and otherhistorians had unveiled through your research. Itwas so different from the image we had been giventhrough our novitiate study of Br Jean-Baptiste’sLife. So much so the immediate reaction of thewhole international group was: “But he was justlike us!” Which meant, of course, that we feltourselves much closer, and more happily identifiedwith the real spirit and charism of Marcellin thanwe had believed possible. It was indeed a true andlasting conversion for us.
On being a Marist leader and teacherA teacher reflects on his call to be ‘Marist’
in a contemporary educational setting
DEFINING SPIRITUALITY AND SPIRITUALLEADERSHIP
As human beings we all search for meaningin our lives. This search for meaninghighlights that “we all have a spirituality
whether we want one or not” (Rolheiser, 1999, p.7).Moreover, Rolheiser (1999) argues that Christianspirituality is the harnessing of a desire or “fire thatburns within us” (p.7) and that spirituality is “aboutwhat we do with that desire” (p.5). Consequently,it is within this context that spirituality exists, andDupuis (2002) argues that
Christians and others build together the reignof God whenever they commit themselves bycommon accord to the cause of human rights,and whenever they work for the integral
liberation of each and every human person,but especially the poor and the oppressed.They also build the Reign of God by promotingreligious and spiritual values (p. 202).Wheatley (2002) argues that in an ever-
increasing chaotic and unpredictable world,questions and the search for meaning in life needto be addressed by harnessing spirituality. Thereforeit is the “spiritual leader/teacher [who] moves inhonest wonder and openness to discover and pointto the signs of goodness, grace, courage and hope,which lie in many different environments and inmany different people and which suggests thepresences of a greater power for good and theuniverse” (McRae-McMahon, 2002, p. 5).
As educators in the twenty-first century we arecalled to provide spiritual leadership to our
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students. Spiritual leadership is harnessing thepower greater than our own to provide certainty,hope and stability (Wheatley, 2002) and is a“significant factor in lifting of collective energy andthe carrying of a group of people into a newpossibility” (McCrae-McMahon, 2002, p. 6).
Marist Spirituality is defined through a keydocument: Water from the Rock: Marist SpiritualityFlowing in the Tradition of Marcellin Champagnat.Working in Marist schools for more than fourteenyears, I have had a particular interest in deepeningmy understanding of the Marist Charism. I wasinitially drawn to the forward comments by theformer Superior General of the Marist Brothers,Br Sean Sammon, where he articulates the visionfor this book to ‘make the Marist ApostolicSpirituality of Marcellin Champagnat moreaccessible to a wider audience…[and that] thisspirituality has had an appeal not only toMarcellin’s brothers but to his Lay Marists as well’(Water from the Rock, 2007, p.10).
The context that underpins Marist spirituality isbased around St Marcellin Champagnat. It is hisvision that lies at the very heart of this charism andspirituality. Living in post-revolutionary ruralFrance, Marcellin was a young priest in the parishof the tiny hamlet of La Valla. There, Marcellin sawa need for educating the young, helping the poorand providing hope through the story of JesusChrist. Through key incidents in his life; the deathof a young boy, Jean-Baptiste Montagne and a lifethreatening snow storm where he sought theintercession of Mary, the young Marcellin called agroup of Brothers together to begin work ineducating the young in a Christian framework anda distinct Marist style: “All to Jesus through Mary,all to Mary through Jesus”. So it was through hisLittle Brothers of Mary in the Society of Mary(Marist) that this distinctive Marist spiritualitytook foundation.
REFLECTIONS ON WATER FROM THE ROCK
Family SpiritAt the heart of my personal life is family. It is a
sense of belonging which I believe is an inherenthuman need. The early Brothers and Marcellinwere “united in heart and mind” and theirrelationships were marked by “warmth and
tenderness” (Water from the Rock, 2007, p. 31). Thesequalities encapsulate the essence of what familyrelationships are based upon and it is with this stylein mind that has made family spirit a characteristicof “our way of being Marist” (Water from the Rock,2007, p.32). Therefore, “from our family spiritdevelops a spirituality that is strongly relational andaffective” and consequently “wherever the followersof Marcellin are present, working together inmission this ‘family spirit’ is the way of communalliving” (Water from the Rock, 2007, p.32).
This sense of family spirit articulated as inherentin Marist spirituality underpins my professional lifeand underpins the relationships with both mycolleagues and students; “Essentially, ourrelationships to one another is being brother andsister” (Water from the Rock, 2007, p. 32). A salientimage from the Pilgrimage 2014 experience wasthe table that was made by Champagnat himselfand serves as a “powerful symbol of family andservice…[and] may be seen as the embodiment ofhis efforts to create a community dedicated to theLord” (Water from the Rock, 2007, p. 56). The tableprovides tangible links to be made to our actionsand relationships and is a powerful tool in evokingthe ‘desire’ that fosters affective spirituality. Indeed,the table also reminds me that at the very heart ofMarist spirituality is relationships. Aspects ofrespect and family cannot exist withoutrelationships and as such, spirituality is a search forpositive relationships.
IN THE WAY OF MARY
Embedded within Marist spirituality is therelationship that Marcellin had with Mary. Theclose relationship between Mother and Son –Mary and Jesus – is the model relationship that wasespoused by Marcellin; “All to Jesus through Mary,All to Mary for Jesus” (Water from the Rock, p.30).The Marist community sees Mary as a role modelfor our journey in faith. She responded to her call,entrusted in the holy Spirit and completed hermission as mother and educator. Mary providedJesus with love, trust in his youth, and strengththroughout his mission. These are all qualities thatcan provide comfort, hope and reflection. Withinan educational context, Mary is a guiding light indeveloping relationships with students.
For me, it is the nurturing qualities of Mary thatare most striking in both my professional and personal
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life: “We nurture that life in the ecclesial community,whose communion we strengthen through ferventprayer and service” (Water from the Rock, p.31).Again, this approach to relating with others ‘in theway of Mary’ is indicative of a distinctive Maristway of developing relationships. I believe thatMary as the maternal face of the church is anaccessible model for young people to relate to thespirit of bringing the good news to others.
One key component of the pastoral care policyat Marist College North Shore is that of RestorativeJustice. It promotes positive relationships,responsibility and respect as a way of dealing withbehavioral issues. Indeed, it provides a way ofrelating which drifts away from punitive responsesto issues and seeks to reaffirm and healrelationships which in some way have been undone.Recently, the pastoral team looked at this conceptof Restorative Justice to move away from Saturdaydetentions as punishment for students breachingthe behavioral expectations of the College. It wasdecided to move to a restorative service action toreplace the highly punitive detention. Whilst stillin its nucleus stage, this initiative seems to besuccessful. This model is based around high supportfor others and is a practical tool for all teachers indeveloping positive relationships with theirstudents; “By relating to young people in a Marialmanner, we become the face of Mary to them”(Water from the Rock, p. 32).
“At the heart of Marist Spirituality coming fromMarcellin and the first brothers is humility” (Waterfrom the Rock, p. 33). Two key values of Maristeducation are simplicity and presence. Again, thesequalities are inextricably linked to ways of relatingwith others. Therefore, this aspect of spiritualitycalls me to be simple and present in myrelationship with God and others: “We strive to bepersons of integrity – truthful, open hearted andtransparent in our relationships” (Water from theRock, p. 33). I feel that this can be seen through thesharing of one’s story and the appreciation of othersand their journey. As Marists, we are called to buildrelationships and communities and with youngpeople who often shy away from spirituality andmanifestations of religion in their lives. Therefore,it is a simple spirituality based on relationships thatthey are drawn to. I have been privileged to share
in the year 12 Retreat experiences on an annualbasis and as a group leader been struck by theenormous capacity for young people to share theirstories and develop spirituality rooted in thetraditions of Marcellin Champagnat. “The imagesof God we offer them, and the language,experiences and symbolism we use, are accessibleand touch the heart” (Water from the Rock, p. 34).One such activity on year 12 Retreat thatexemplifies this simple and present way of relatingis that of the ‘family story’. Students are invited todraw, symbolize and explain their family story inthe context of a meal. The group leader models thisprocess and then each student follows the sameprocess. This simple task opens up conversation andrelationships and shared experiences. I have beenstruck by the ability of young people to share theirstories in an open and humble way. In the contextof mutual support and trust they are able to sharetheir stories with one another and find ways ofconnecting with themselves, their God and otherimportant people in their lives.
For me this simple way of relating anddevelopment of spirituality in others is inexorablylinked to the Marist quality of Presence. A livingand true presence is needed in all relationships. Aseducators, we are asked to seek relationships withour students, which set an atmosphere for learningand the development of their values. In doing this,we are asked to place ourselves in their lives tofoster openness, and trust.
Marist spirituality is apostolic in nature: “Weexperience God also in the witness of peoplecommitted to peace, justice, and solidarity with thepoor and those who act with generosity and self-sacrifice in the service of others” (Water from theRock, p. 42). Moreover, Marist spirituality calls tomake room in our lives for others. Indeed, “Ourcompassionate responses to the needs of the worldwells up from our spirituality” (Water from the Rock,p. 71). Not to oversimplify this notion of solidarityand mission, however, I feel this aspect ofspirituality which harnesses our individual desire, isthis need to be ‘other-centered’ in our works forothers and the wider community. As a Christiancommunity we are called to transform the world,provide a dynamic response of faith and a mission toall people (Wessels, 2004). Therefore it is recognition
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of a spirit within ourselves that needs to besubsequently released into the world for others.
A few years ago I was privileged to travel with agroup of senior students on an immersionexperience to India. I reflected at the time that Iwas undertaking a journey of hope. however, theexperience opened my eyes to the impact ofsolidarity on me, my travel companions, and, thepeople we engaged with. The experience enabledme to seek out the meaning of spirituality in my lifeand that in developing these relationships with thecommunities we visited, my companions and I canbecome “sowers of hope” (Water from the Rock, p. 75).The impact of immersion on the young people Iaccompanied was profound. Upon returning home,their reflections were particularly poignant:
• “I rediscovered emotions that I have not felt for awhile”
• “It led me to create new strong relationships withothers”
• “It has raised my awareness of the importance ofsimplicity and appreciation in my own life”.
• “It showed me what it meant to be a part of notonly a Marist family, but part of the same world”
Indeed, these reflections from a group of studentsindicate to me that this concept of being ‘other-centered’ is at the heart of what it is to be spiritual.Moreover, the immersion experience, in solidaritywith others, epitomises the elements of Maristspirituality that I have been discussing. Indeed, weapproach this aspect of Marist spirituality withhumility and simplicity, fostering family spirit andthat “like Mary, we not only magnify the Lord withour lips, but commit ourselves to serve God’s justicewith our lives” (Water from the Rock, p. 79).
The act of “doing” and modelling like a servantleader has become pivotal in engaging studentswith, and harnessing their own spirituality. Inaddition to the Immersion experience describedearlier, our College provides the followingopportunities for students:
• Year 11 Ministry Week Program:Students have the opportunities to work fora week in local community service areasincluding Nursing homes, schools withstudents who have special needs andAboriginal Communities. I have had theprivilege of leading a group of twelve studentsto work on the farm property of the MaristBrothers. There, we spent a week assisting the
Brothers with manual labour to maintaintheir property. This is another opportunity tolead students on their faith development. Iwas able to lead reflections on a nightly basisto challenge the students to develop theirview of what it is to be ‘other-centred’.• St Vincent de Paul Night Patrol:Our year 12 students have the opportunity totake out the Night Patrol van to feed Sydney’shomeless on a fortnightly basis. Indeed thisprogram has been so successful that ex-studentsnow engage with this activity on Saturday nightsonce a month. This is an obvious consequenceof the impact that this activity had on thestudents when they were at school. Initiatedby the former students it is demonstrative oftheir dynamic response to faith.• Marist Solidarity Group:The word ‘solidarity’ evokes a sense of beingwith others. This group of students aims toraise awareness of social justice issues andworks with young refugees, the aged and othermarginalised members of the community.They engage in fundraising and other serviceopportunities including serving at a street sidecafe in Surry hills on a Friday night.Spiritual leadership at the College is dynamic
and gives the teachers an opportunity to show theirfaith lived out through the experiences offered. AsTacey (2000) states “they must have a reason tobelieve, an impulse to send them forward intospiritual discovery” (p.260). Therefore it has becomeapparent in this ever-changing world that the callto faith based spiritual leadership lies in theexperiences and opportunities offered that harnessthe desires and fires that burn within individuals totransform the world.
WITH A DISTINCTIVE MARIST STYLE: THEMARIST CHARISM AS SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP
As a leader in a Marist school, the charism of StMarcellin Champagnat is at the heart of ourpedagogical and spiritual approach. The core ofMarcellin’s vision is “to make Jesus known andloved” (In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat,1998, p.35) and it sets out to promote humangrowth and Marist educators contribute tobuilding God’s Reign on earth. The InternationalCouncil for Marist Education in its publication In
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the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat (1998)outlines key aspects of what I believe are thehallmarks of a spiritual leader. It states “we givepersonal and community witness” (p.37), “We shareour faith... [and] we educate in and for solidarity”(p.38). These key tenets are certainly manifest inthe many offerings for our students to engage withtheir faith and compassion. however, I would arguethat within the prism of the Marist Charism, aMarist educator takes this dynamic response tospirituality further. From the particular Marist styleof educating flow the following characteristics:presence, simplicity, family spirit, love of work andfollowing in the way of Mary (p. 43). As statedearlier, Marist Spirituality is apostolic in nature.Therefore, the Marist mission is to bring goodnews to the poor. Just as Mary was challenged tosay “yes” to God at the annunciation, as did Jesus’disciples along the Road to Emmaus, we arechallenged as spiritual leaders in a Marist contextto espouse those values which are the very heart ofa Marist education.
A challenge for Catholic leaders is thedisconnection of many in today’s society withspirituality and religion. Schneiders (2003) arguesthat they must be linked, as religion is a source offulfilment. The Marist charism encourages spiritualconnection. It is essentially a spirituality thatdevelops the pastoral nature of all. It breaks downthe notion of individualism where one looks at howthey see themselves rather than how thecommunity sees them. It again reinforces theconcept of being ‘other-centred’. The spiritualmeans that “we recognise in ourselves and in ourexperience a depth beyond the surface appearances,a depth in which the meaning of who we are andwhat we are experiencing is connected to largermeanings, larger energy fields, larger networks ofrelationships” (Starratt and Guare, p. 191).Essentially, Marist spirituality provides a focus onthe transcendent love of Mary through Jesus withthe presence of the holy Spirit working within us.Schools have an ever-increasing role in connectingthe values of what it means to be Catholic. Manyhave moved away from Church and religion.Marist spirituality allows the Church to be seen asnot their church, but my church. The challenge isto provide Marist communities with theinspiration, the need for the connection of ourreligion to our spirituality.
In contrast to the perils of individualism, theMarist spirituality attempts to strengthenrelationships and build communities that are at theservice of others. The challenges that are presentedwithin the concept of spiritual leadership havecertainly been manifest in the school in which Iwork. To harness the core aspects of a Maristeducation and make it relatable to our students, thePastoral Team and Senior Student LeadershipTeam are engaged annually in the development ofthe College theme. The purpose of the theme is toprovide direction and focus for the upcomingacademic year. In devising this theme, students arereminded that a particular focus is the integratingelements of both Marist Charism and the Gospels.Over the last few years we have focussed on theparable of the Good Samaritan and the Maristvalue of ‘family spirit’, as well as the Road toEmmaus story and the Marist characteristic of‘presence’. Students then develop a phrase thatencompasses the values inherent in the Gospelstory and combine this with key images thatsubsequently adorn a banner which will be ondisplay for the entire year. Again, this is activeengagement with spirituality and faith andgrounded in the practicalities of engaging theyouth of today with both aspects of religion andspirituality.
In our Catholic setting to be truly authentic inmission, teachers need to connect and understandthe work of Jesus as a teacher who served others.“Spirituality is a way of living. By that, I mean thatspiritual persons tend to bring that depth andsensitivity and reverence to all or most of what theydo” (Starratt, Guare, 1995, p. 192). O’Leary (1999)states that “spirituality is about openness, risks andtrust” (p. 93). Developing the view of taking risksto learn more about themselves, their spirit, andtheir call to serve can only add depth to acommunity that builds and sustains spiritualities.Starratt and Guare (1995) refer to the spiritualityof leadership being about exercising this “riskbelief ”. Spiritual leaders need to create andchallenge staff to realise the potential of theirhuman spirit. This is one aspect in which I believethe Marist Schools Australia does exceptionallywell. In order to tap into the potential of staff tobecome spiritual leaders many opportunities areoffered in order to enhance the professionaldevelopment of staff in the distinctive Marist style.
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The College offers staff the opportunity to attendthe ‘Footsteps’ programs. These programs areoffered by Marist Schools Australia and staffparticipates in a three day retreat style programwhere elements of Marist charism and spiritualityare examined in a practical and detailed manner. Ihave been involved in two of these programs andhave been suitably motivated to delve further intothe Marist charism. These experiences led me toembark on a pilgrimage to France in order retracethe footsteps of St Marcellin. These opportunitiesare highly sought after and contribute greatly indeveloping the spiritual leadership of staff withinthe College.
LA VALLA – A MODEL FOR EVANGELISATION
A truly stirring experience as a pilgrim this yearwas the visit to the heart of the Marist story theNotre Dame L’hermitage and the tiny hamlet ofLa Valla. A key question that has sat with me uponmy return is how Marists today take that intangibleleap into the future? As pilgrims we were asked toexplore the challenges facing Marists across theworld. how do we want to be perceived and whatis it that will underpin the Marist project into thefuture?
An overarching theme that was reinforced onthe pilgrimage was that as educators andparticularly Marist educators ‘we strive to beapostles for young people, evangelizing themthrough our lives and presence among them. Lovefor the young, especially the poor, is thedistinguishing characteristic of our mission’(Evangelizers in the midst of youth, 2011, p. 51).
At the heart of what it is to be Marist in an ever-changing world is looking forward to newpossibilities whilst simultaneously embracing thepast. Our Marist foundations in France hold thekey to the Marist mission into the future. Asevangelizers in the twenty first century we facemany challenges with the young people we engagewith. The Marist document Evangelizers in themidst of youth (2011) brings forth these challengesfor the Marist Institute: ‘We are talking aboutprofound transformation in our way of seeing,feeling, knowing, relating to and loving, all whichcan be observed…in the young’ (p. 16). Thedocument reinforces the past notions of doctrinal andpractice-based ways of approaching evangelisationbut also incorporates the modern approach of the
experiential which ‘is orientated towards theirearnestly taking on a project of self-fulfillment thatincorporates the meaningfulness of faith’ (p. 24).
The original house in the small hamlet of LaValla is a key symbol of our Marist past and Maristfuture. Recently renovated, the place whereMarcellin Champagnat set about forming theMarist brothers has been symbolically transformedinto the three key pillars that underpin the futureof the Marist Institute:
• Level 1 – “Interior” – the embracing of ourinner spirituality and the fire and desire that burnswithin each one of us. This is inexorably linked toMary of the Annunciation;
• Level 2 – “Community” – the home ofChampagnat’s table – this can be seen as Mary ofthe Visitation – this is where we build communityand share in the message of the gospels, providinginclusion for all;
• Level 3 – “Mission” - with large windows outonto the world – this is the place where we go outinto the world and make Jesus Christ known andloved, just like Mary of Pentecost.
It seems to me as I reflected at the beautifulNotre Dame L’hermitage, which is nestled at thebottom of the valley on the River Gier, that asMarist educators we should embrace what is at theheart of being Marist. As a centre of evangelizationwe are awakening the spirit (Interior) of our boys,who are welcomed around the same table(Community), which seeks to experienceconnections to the world in which they live(Mission and Solidarity). This is education for life,with a Marian face and is the essence of Maristmission which ultimately seeks to make JesusChrist known and loved.
In reflecting on my pilgrims’ journey andsubsequently a key Marist document in Water fromthe Rock, it has become apparent to me that at theheart of Marist spirituality is simplicity. This bestdescribes my relationship with God and others andis a significant quality that underpins myprofessional life. Moreover, it is the simplicity thatis found in the work of St Marcellin Champagnatthat underpins the essence of Marist Spiritualityand the manisfestions of leadership within thisparadigm. Overwhelmingly, the sense I get fromthe Marist spirituality articulated in the book is
On being a Marist leader and teacher
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that it is overtly relational. Through fosteringpositive relationships with our families, friends,colleagues, students and the wider community weare able to harness the desire within us to providegreater meaning in our lives:
Our present age is characterised by a thirst forspirituality. We disciples of Marcellin believethat our way to God is a gift to be shared withthe Church and the world. We are invited tojoin with Mary in a journey of faith. If we areable to give witness in our daily lives to thevitality of this spirituality, people, –particularly youth and young and children –will feel themselves attracted and invited totake it up as their own way to become livingwater” (Water from the Rock,. pp. 36-7).This quotation sums up the essence of Marist
spirituality and has particular poignancy in my lifeas I seek to harness the dynamics of education inthe twenty-first century.
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