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General Government of the Brothers and Sisters, Rome


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Day of reflection (Flanders)

On 16th September, 15 brothers and our associate member took part in a day of reflection on the theme: “Religious life and the future". Father Marc Vanhoutte, a Salesian, accompanied us. Our Dutch brothers sadly, were unable to join us as one of their colleagues, at the last minute, had a fall.

The theme for the day revolved around the question: "Who are we as religious and what is our contribution in the Church and the world?

Our task is to follow Jesus in a radical way in an exclusive union with himself, so that there is no room for another exclusive relationship.

Religious life is based on three foundations:

1) Evangelical counsels.

2) Community life.

3) The mission.

This brings us to the three vows. What do they mean to me / us?

- Chastity or celibacy for the Kingdom of God: do we live as happy people? People get a sense of who we are and if we are beaming with joy, are we a testament to joy, personally or as a community.

- Poverty: are we still free "from" to be free "for"? Are we living soberly? Do we have a sense of ecology: a respect for God's creation?

- Obedience, or the vow of availability: do we do what is asked of us, are we available personally and as a community?

"How good it is to live together as brothers ..." said the psalmist. But we all know it's not that simple. In fact, we should be grateful for the gift that everyone is. Community life can be a stumbling block. However, we can build and experiment with our vocation. But this presupposes that we know what we are building and what religious life means.

To have a good community, it must be a community of mercy, visible and tangible. Otherwise, it becomes a cold and even tough community making it difficult to love each other and to be close to each other.

Our religious community is also a place of celebration, even of feasting. Love and peace are Easter gifts. The awareness of being carried and loved by God and the brothers gives a deep inner peace which makes people happy. It can be shown from time to time. There must be moments, occasions to celebrate who we are ...

In short, a very enjoyable and successful reflection day, after which everyone returned home satisfied. To repeat ...