8 December 2016

Marist Europe

A week full of inspiration…

From 14th till 18th November a week-long meeting took place in the Westerhelling house in Nijmegen, a time to find out about the various projects and activities being carried out in the Netherlands by the Marist Brothers and their collaborators. This initiative is part of a journey of European formation set up for Brothers and Lay Marists with the aim of helping them to take on Marist tasks in the future.


Brother Alvarez García from Santiago de Compostela and Pascale Jalkh from Beirut from Lebanon had chosen this location, and Brother Fons van Rooij, an Australian Brother studying in Belgium, and myself joined them for this encounter.

Personally, I appreciated this meeting with support staff and workers on the ground, their willingness to share their story with us, to share what motivates them and the objectives they are trying to achieve. I was struck by the underlying thread of all the projects, whether spiritual or social: the Attentive Presence, typically Marist, that puts the person at the centre, listening to them with respect, and searching to awaken and consolidate in them the best of themselves.

It is a good example of showing care to the needs of our time in a secularised context, of reflecting as a group of Brothers and Lay People, in order to respond in an appropriate manner to a progressive process, always involving the young adults themselves.

I found a good balance between the time set aside for visits and for private prayer and reflection, as well as time for sharing, and not forgetting the social time spent together.

I am grateful to everyone I met during this week, and in particular to Brothers Jacques Scholte and Gerard de Haan as well as Conny Stuart, who made this inspirational ex­pe­rience possible.

Brother Robert Thunus,
Habay community, Belgium



De Westerhelling, Nijmegen


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