Newsletter 9: 31 July 2018

Dear Colleagues,

As all Marist schools across the country have commenced Semester II, it is worth recalling once again our Marist theme for 2018 in this Year of Youth in the Australian Church. 

“For I know the plans I have for you give you hope and a future”  - Jeremiah 29:11 

Hope, optimism, a new dawn, a fresh start – all positive attitudes to life, strongly rooted in our Christian tradition and expressions of trust in God. Such sentiments are most applicable for our students as they commence their second semester of academic work. Hope, optimism, and trust in God are at the core of Marist spirituality. 

In the past week I have had the privilege of being involved in an important  meeting at the Marist Brothers General House in Rome, during which critical directions for the future of Marists and their works worldwide were discussed, debated, reflected upon and most importantly prayed about.  Recommendations from those gathered will be considered among the many others from Provinces and Districts across the globe in the coming months. 

Whilst the meeting was important, a highlight was to meet for the first time Brother Sean Sammon from America, who was for 8 years the Superior General of the Brothers worldwide. We had a number of meals together during the week and after listening to his many humorous and uplifting stories, I was drawn again to a book written and published in 2001 on Marist Spirituality, Water from the Rock. In the forward to this seminal text, Sean wrote,

Marcellin Champagnat’s first recruits loved him for the elder brother and father that he was. That fact is not surprising since the young priest and his charges shared a great deal in common. 

First of all, like the founder himself, ..(all).. were unpretentious country lads who lived by the work of their hands. Second, for the most part they were initially unlettered. The founder himself had had his share of academic difficulties, and struggled in the seminary due to his lack of preparation. 

But the loyalty and dedication of the young men that Marcellin gathered round himself had roots that ran far deeper than similarities in background or experience. For the founder was a man who had fallen in love with God, and with his help his young recruits eventually did the same. Yes, under his tutelage they grew ever more aware of God’s presence and began to rely on Providence. 

As we consider all before us during these next six months of teaching and learning, and the goals we have set ourselves and our students, let us dare to trust, that under our tutelage each student will grow ever more aware of God’s presence and begin to truly rely on Providence.

“For I know the plans I have for you give you hope and a future”

Sally Dillon