MINDELHEIM – CMI NEW VOLONTEERS 2018-2019
As the 2018 CMI international volunteers, we were gifted the opportunity to embark on a journey to France to learn more about what it means to be Marist. Our host for our week, “Notre Dame de l’Hermitage” not only provided a beautiful home for the few days we were there, but was also began our view of the history of Marcellin Champagnat in his birth country.
Having all come from Marist schools, each day spent on our Hermitage not only gave us more insight into Marcellin Champagnat and his work, but also reminded the group of Marist values instilled in us. Our programme at Saint-Chamond-Hermitage was filled with visits to the birthplace of St. Marcellin Champagnat, where he grew up, the dynamics of his family, and the impact he left on people from all over the world. Each experience brought us together as a group.
Our visit to Lyon, one of France’s most beautiful cities was important in terms of its history and the strong influence of Mary in the church and throughout the region.
Being a part of this year’s group of volunteers felt particularly special because of the culmination of culture, language, nationality and race. Boundaries were non – existent as we all shared stories of our families at Marcellin’s room, life-changing experiences and taking an hour and a half walk through the forest alone as a group. We always felt a sense of family spirit, this showed in constant singing, music playing, praying and sharing meals together.
At the end of this experience, we left with a feeling of support in all its different forms. We are supported by the history of Champagnat and his work, by the Marist brothers and Marist communities all around the world. And lastly, we are supported by each other, young volunteers who have chosen to follow a calling to serve and be of service wherever we can. Our Hermitage to France can be summed up in one word… “ Joy – Jubel!”
Palesa, Shari and Murpry, CMI volunteers 2018.
FMSI at the MGF & FMSI at the MSI
Guests at the MGF
Three staff members of International Marist Solidarity FMSI in Rome and its regional commissioner Jasmin Nimar recently visited the Marist School in Furth. Besides getting to know each other, they presented international education projects of the Marist Brothers and analysed the status quo of Marist activities at the MGF as well as ideas for future events.
In recent years the MGF contributed to numerous events like the Champagnat musical, the Marist Bible together with all Marist schools in Germany, the international Christmas card competition with Daniala Tran of class 8a winning the first prize, the charity run “kids run for kids” collecting money for a school project in East Congo and the annual fund raising in advent for Brother Bernhard Tremmel´s school in Sen Monorom/Cambodia. Furthermore, they improved on communicating about Marist activities in general. The activities around Christmas were the highlight of the year.
The members if FSMI also introduced their activities, e.g. collecting the demand for international projects, giving money and supervising the projects. They also suggested a new fund raising event with selling rice for refugees from Syria.
Jasmin Nimar is the German representative of FMSI and responsible for networking the Marist schools as well as contacts to the voluntary organisation CMI.
After a lively discussion the group visited the school and saw a dance show during a school event.
Guests from Rome at Marist Solidarity International in Furth
Three representatives of Fondzione Marista Solidarieta Internationale (FMSI) in Rome, the central office for financial support of Marist projects, visited the charity organisation Marist Solidarität International (MSI) in Furth. They were accompanied by the new commissary of the province Europe Central West.
Scope of business was the exchange of their tasks, getting to know each other better and planning further cooperation. Marist Brothers are active in more than 80 countries all over the world, running educational institutions from primary school to university. Other social projects like support of hospitals, medical aid, emergency care and food programmes are on their agenda – in the sense of Marzellin Champagnat, the founder of the marist congregation, help that is focussed on people in need.
FMSI supervises these international projects, coordinates the distribution of money from different charity organisations and records the proceedings. Thus donations can be given more specifically and more quickly in case of an emergency. Thus the association of Furth could recently give 60 000 Euro to educational programmes in the Republic of South Sudan and 35 000 Euro to South Africa.
The cooperation of MSI in Furth and the central office of FMSI in Rome is of great importance as it guarantees an efficient and cost-neutral distribution of donations.
Jasmin Nimar is the person in charge of FMSI in Germany. She is also responsible for networking the European Marist schools, for voluntary projects and fund raising.
MINDELHEIM CMI Germany – Shari and Palesa
The Cmioffice in Mindelheim has been sending young men and women from Germany to Marist schools and projects in other countries for five years. Now, for the first time young people have come from another Marist country to stay and work with us. In this interview we put some questions to Shari and Pelesa about their motivation for coming to Germany and their first experiences.
- Where do you come from?
We come from South Africa, specifically Johannesburg.
- What were you doing in South Africa? Palesa: I am currently studying law and I have already completed 2 years of my degree at Rhodes University in South Africa but in 2018 I decided to take a gap year to do volunteer work. I did volunteer work in Kula Village in Kwazulu – Natal through the Marist community for 2 months before coming here to Mindelheim (from February until April).
Shari: I just finished high school in December 2017 and I decided to take a gap year before I start University, a gap year to do community service or work. From February until April, I had done volunteer work in Addo, Eastern Cape also through a Marist programme before coming here to Mindelheim.
- What contact did you have the Marist Brothers in your own country?
We both went to a Marist high school called Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg.
- What plans do you have regarding your visit to Mindelheim? What do you plan to do while you are here?
We got the opportunity to be the first South African volunteers to do Volunteer work in Germany, through a programme which had contacts at our school, and so the Volunteer work we are doing here is working at 2 different Kindergartens.
(Palesa) I am working at the Marcellin Champagnat Kindergarten and I (Shari) am working at the Luxenhofer Kindergarten. We work 5 days a week from 7:30/8:00 until 16:30. We are also a have a Deutschkurs 3 days a week to work and improve on our German.
- What impressions do you have of Mindelheim up until now? How do you feel regarding your first days in Germany?
Palesa: The Marist communities and the host families we stay with have been very supportive and very kind to us. We have been out of our comfort zones but it has been very rewarding
Shari: I won’t lie, Germany has been a culture shock but in a very good way, as Palesa said, we have been thrown out of our comfort zones, learning a new culture, language and how to work with children. It’s all been very tough but the growth has been exceptional. I like Mindelheim and Germany, people have been very welcoming. The bread and ice-cream is great and festivals like the Frundsbergfest have been very interesting spaces to find ourselves in. There has been both good and bad moments so far.
- What are your future plans?
Palesa: To finish my university degree and carry on doing community service and find a way to have a career that I am both passionate about and ultimately helps people.
Shari: To eventually make a difference. I hope to inspire people with my writing and my ideas. I feel as if the world is going backwards and I feel as if I have the potential to really make a difference through community service. My goal is to inspire more than anything.