24 November 2018 – Day 2 on the Creed: Jesus Christ

24 November 2018 – Day 2 on the Creed: Jesus Christ

As part of the “Genval Days” a meeting was arranged for Saturday 24 November. The day was led by Br Roberto and was the second day on the Creed making us think about faith in Jesus Christ.

Around 25 participants, coming from as far as the Belgian coast or the south Belgian border, joined the Genval community. The day would also serve as a preparation for Advent and the feast of the Nativity.

It is a Jesus who is very close to each one of us, often begging for our love, that we have come to know through the scriptures. With the enlightenment of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus we have even been able to measure our personal commitment in this loving relationship in response to the question posed to Saint Peter one day on the banks of the Lake of Tiberias: “Peter, do you love me?”

At the day’s conclusion, everyone left happy with the brotherly encounter, probably with this feeling of being loved by Jesus. At the same time, each one is called to grow in a concrete love for Jesus who gave himself through the Eucharist, body and blood for our salvation.

The next meetings are already planned to prepare for Lent 2019 and also for the third section of the Creed: I believe in the Holy Spirit.


MINDELHEIM Two Workshops 26th – 30th October A truly Province experience

A short but intense course on spirituality presented by Brother Seán

On Friday 26th October, we were privileged to meet Brother Seán Sammon, former Superior General, who had agreed to travel from America where, among other things, he is Master of Novices.

This meeting comprised Brothers from every section of our West-Central European Province and it was, as always, a wonderful experience to meet up with them. They had come from Belgium, Germany, Holland, Great Britain, Ireland. We used the free time to catch up with our Brothers and chat about how we things had been since we last met a number of years ago.

On arrival we were greeted by Brother Michael Schmalzl who, with his team, had prepared everything to make a success of the occasion. He provided our accommodation and was always available to cater for our needs. We had the added advantage of being the first to use the newly built rooms which are of a very high standard.

In the course of our stay we were very fortunate to have a group of Brothers who organised the liturgy which reflected Brother Seán’s presentations. Of course, employing the languages of the different countries.

 Workshop I

“Leaving and Coming Home; Christian Discipleship”

On the weekend of the 26thOctober, Marists from all over the Province gathered in Mindelheim for a workshop, entitled “Leaving and Coming Home: Christian Discipleship”. Sean Sammon led the workshop. In his workshop Sean reminded all of us that later life is a time to be thankful and grateful for our life’s experience. The challenge for each of us is to change our experience into wisdom. Such a piece of wisdom passed on from Sean was to let go of past hurts. We have all been hurt on our way through life and it is important to let this go. By contrast, he encouraged us to allow the Lord to look on us in love. He explained that adult discipleship is about struggling with the questions: How can I give my life away more meaningfully? How do I live beyond my own heartache and obsessions, so as to make other people’s lives more meaningful? These are just some of the challenges Sean offered the workshop participants.

The weekend was a useful time of personal reflection and celebration of being together as Province. The Mindelheim Community and co-workers, hosted the event in the newly built facility for young students.  We had a great sense of Marist hospitality from everyone. They also managed to organise the first snow of the year for us!  It is always good to find opportunities to come together as Province. This workshop had the best of ingredients: a stimulating and reflective workshop, with a great presenter; a wide variety of Marist participants and not forgetting, great accommodation and hospitality. Well done to all who participated and were involved in the organisation.



This was the title of Brother Sean’s lectures. They dealt with the challenging issues concerning Brothers who have reached the latter stages of their lives, the difficulties inherent in this and how to cope with behaviour which can be a result of aging.

These included depression and anxiety, memory problems and coping with difficult behaviour. Seán, in his usual laconic style, suggested mechanisms for dealing with these difficulties and encouraged the leaders who were present to face up to any problems afflicting the elderly and to deal with them in a sympathetic but direct manner.

Seán also highlighted the importance of community meetings to deal with challenging issues.  He suggested strategies to be considered by the leader before calling a community meeting. It was generally agreed that his ideas and comments on this topic were very valuable.

There were many other topics dealt with in the course of the sessions, too many to mention here. Many thanks to Seán for his spiritual and practical input, not least his wonderful anecdotes to illustrate a point. I am sure that we all left Mindelheim better equipped to deal with the elderly in our communities.



Brussels – Marist Meeting

In Brussels, on 4 September 2018, a meeting was held on the theme of safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults. There were thirteen Brothers in attendance.

Leading the meeting were Mgr Herman Cosijns, secretary of the Episcopal Conference and Madame Micheline Cara from the legal department of the Interdiocesan Centre.

The morning was dedicated to the policy put in place by the church in Belgium to respond to complaints lodged by victims of abuse committed by priests and religious.

There was a general discussion of the Church’s attitude in the past. Awareness of the gap between protecting the Institution and abandoning the victims had been highlighted. This has resulted in a fruitful collaboration between State and Church. Victims have been able to speak out and their suffering is taken into consideration.

The two facilitators, speaking about the present and the future, urged us to remain vigilant and to find ways of continuing to be so. They also congratulated the Marist Brothers for their courageous policy and for the writing of the booklet. They encouraged us to put what is written into practice so that it does not remain merely words on paper.

Other topical issues, such as the protection of personal data, were also discussed.


The Provincial, Brother Brendan Geary, thanked the leaders and the Brothers for a successful morning. On the basis of the discussions, actions already undertaken will create a safe and supportive environment for the good of all.


An Honour for Mrs Ria Walk

On 8 September, Ria Walk said farewell to the Marist Brothers of Westerhelling/Nijmegen.

She had worked for 31 years, serving the Brothers, visitors and groups who passed through Westerhelling. In recent months, poor health had been the cause of lengthy absences and she really missed not being able to look after the brothers as usual.

At first, she was employed to do housework in the Brothers’ community. At the end of the 1980s, the number of meetings for religious training and reflection increased in Westerhelling, giving extra work to Ria and her colleague because they had to “do the rooms” and cook for about fifteen people. Ria was a good cook who loved cooking and her meals were greatly appreciated by her “passing trade” and by the Brothers, of course!!!

During the nineties, some refugees added their number to the community and from then on it was necessary to take care of 12 people and to plan appropriate meals.

From 2000, Westerhelling was the location of the Provincial House of the new province of West Central Europe. Ria adapted to these new circumstances and was always ready to serve the Brothers or those who came from Germany, Belgium or Great Britain. She had no trouble making herself understood by visitors from such different countries. Everyone understood her “sign language”.

To mark a Jubilee of the Brothers, Ria presented the community with a really beautiful tapestry of the Virgin Mary which she had made herself. Today, the tapestry can be found in the dining-room of the house. The tapestry must have required hundreds of hours of work and this is yet further evidence of her strong involvement in the life of the community.

For her generous dedication, her good humour and her honest laughter, Ria received the papal honour “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice”. It is a well-earned reward for a long career in the service of a religious community. Her endeavour constituted a precious and important contribution to the apostolic work of the Brothers.

Ria can look back on all these wonderful years with pride and gratitude.

The festivities came to a close with a celebration meal which brought together members of her family, acquaintances, Brothers and colleagues.


Orore Summer Camp 2018

Orore Summer Camp 2018

Once again this year, a group of 11 Marists, including Jasmin Nimar from the Cmi team, Wolfgang Hacker, PE Teacher at the Maristenkolleg, Mindelheim,   Brother Michael and 8 young adults – 5 of them former Cmi volunteers from Mindelheim – came to Orore.

Orore is a fishing village on Lake Victoria in Kenya, where there is a community of brothers who run Our Lady of Orore Primary School and a boarding section.

The summer camp, which was organized from that group, took place from the 18th till the 30th of August. Approximately 65 children, most of them pupils of our school but also some children from the village, were allowed to stay in the boarding section over the holidays instead of going home. They had the opportunity to participate in the programme of the summer camp, where they could work on something practical, or design some beautiful or simply interesting craft work in the 2 ½ h morning session. In the afternoon they could experience fun while playing new games, practicing challenging group exercises or participating in competitions in well-known or new sports on the large sports ground like volleyball, netball or football. The programme was completely planned and carried out by the team from Mindelheim. The brothers and four local teachers from the school assisted us in the activities.


The objective of the camp, which was to provide a safe environment for orphans or children coming from difficult circumstances, has definitely been fulfilled. They had the chance simply to be children, having fun and experiencing a safe and joyful time. Sometimes it does not take much to make a child happy, even something as simple as blowing soap bubbles or playing silly games with young and old together.

In order for the summer camp to have a lasting effect, the volunteers want to organize events and personal presentations back in Germany to inform people about the circumstances of children in our school in Orore, and to promote school sponsorships for particularly needy children. The school fee, which covers all costs for one school year (schooling, boarding, meals, school uniforms . . .) is 400 euros. If you would like more information or would like to take on a personal school sponsorship, you are most welcome to contact one of the participants or the Cmi office in Mindelheim (Tel No:  +49 8261/22024-60 or Email jasmin.nimar@maristen.org).


For all 11 participants from Germany, but also for the brothers and teachers on site and especially for the children, the days together were a wonderful time, characterized by deep experiences, e.g. T. personal insights and experiences and joyful encounters. The feedback was so positive from all sides that already a third summer camp is being planned for 2020.

Marist Brothers


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