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Testimonials from the Champagnat Global Meeting – Mexico 2022

It would not be easy to understand what the Mexico 2022 gathering has really meant for the future of Champagnat Global without taking a closer look at the testimonies and the feelings of those who had the privilege of being part of this experience. We believe that it is worthwhile to value the very interesting contributions that some of the participants have generously given us:

My participation in the Champagnat Global gathering has allowed me to understand the global nature of the Marist mission in the world. The greatest outcome for me was meeting and then networking with other Marists. I value these relationships very much, not only in the sense of making many new friends, but more importantly, being able to work collaboratively with like-minded people from such diverse backgrounds. This was a crucial platform to build on and will go a long way to making the Champagnat Global network a success in the future. I have already had follow-up conversations with some colleagues I met in Mexico.

I feel that I am now part of something that has enormous potential to further develop some of the key themes that emerged in Mexico: a focus on global citizenship, linking people with specific interests and skills to work together on projects, designing programmes that have real impact, establishing key staff in each region/province to connect people and schools and, of course, creating a greater awareness of the power of Agora.

I would like to mention one other thing. As I said, the fact that there was such a diversity of people was a great advantage and made the experience so valuable. For me it was the best and most enriching aspect of the meeting. However, sometimes there were problems related to the different languages. There were few and they were always solved, which speaks highly of the excellent preparation of the organisers and the quality of the translators – thank you – but it made me aware of the need to continue to be very conscious of this in the future.

John Hickey – Executive Officer, Marist Tertiary Education (Australia)

“Mexico 2022 was an eye-opener for me. We can all look at the map to see how big our Marist footprint is, but meeting Marists from all over the world was special. Making connections from around the world was beneficial and we are already collaborating with several countries. Visiting the schools was refreshing and I was happy to see that they had the same look and feel as Marist schools around the world. Some of the biggest multinational companies don’t make it.

For me personally, it has inspired me to continue to grow the Marist mission and vision with more energy. Seeing so many selfless people in the same room was humbling, a memory I will cherish forever. Thank you all for the excellent work you do.

Dr. Mark Bussin – Director of the Marist School Board. Johannesburgo (South Africa)

“Participating in the gathering of Champagnat Global Mexico 2022 has given me the opportunity to meet Marist educators from around the world in person, and with whom I wish that we establish real and active bridges of communication. Mexico 2022 must become a point of reference from which the Global Network of Marist Works can begin to journey together, in communion. The possibilities for personal and professional enrichment are so overwhelming that it is hard to understand why it has taken us so long!!! Thank you for allowing me to be part of this meeting!”

Joan Pratdepadua Bufill – Principal Maristes Champagnat School – Badalona (L’Hermitage)

A real and concrete experience of being a Global Network.  Recognising ourselves as part of a Global Family, amid our own cultural and regional realities, we are moved by the same Charism.  I thank God and our Good Mother for the gift of having experienced the strength of our Charism, not so much from the ideas, but from the concrete signs of welcome, communion of visions regarding the work and contribution of the Institute and the possibility of dreaming together.

Champagnat Global means for me a challenge of hope! A way that connects us for the Mission, that allows us to offer our students to experience also being citizens of a global world (design of pedagogical and curricular experiences that connect them virtually and in person), that helps our educators to build learning communities breaking down territorial barriers, meet to look for solutions to the pedagogical problems and challenges that we face in schools, to develop innovation, to experiment and to be bold in building our proposals for a global world, meet to seek solutions to the pedagogical problems and challenges we face in schools, to develop innovation, to experiment and to be bold in the construction of our proposals for a world and an education that recognises us as citizens of the world, builders of the Kingdom that has no political, cultural or religious borders.

The gathering in Mexico was an inspiring and challenging fraternal meeting of brothers and sisters for a transformative Marist education!!!

Jorge Radic Henrici – Executive Secretary Ceis Marista (Santa María de los Andes)

“For me, the gathering in Mexico was extraordinarily rich. Firstly, for the opportunity to meet the Marists of Champagnat, their educational experiences in the Marist world and to encourage each other in the Marist Educational Mission. Secondly, to be able to share our strengths and our challenges with a group driven by the same purpose. Finally, to get to know better the trajectory of Champagnat Global, its strategies, initiatives and the opportunities it offers us to strengthen our educational projects in the provinces.

Br. Vanderley Siquiera – Presidency – Marist Group (Brasil Centro-Sul)

“Participating in Champagnat Global Mexico 2022 for me has opened my eyes beyond my province and made me aware of all the richness and possibilities that we have in the Marist world. It has also been an opportunity to share with Marists from different parts of the world, to establish connections and to weave networks that will allow us to continue to grow together. It was a real gift, THANK YOU!”.

Jaime Feo Fernández – Works Animation Team – Spain (Marist Province of Ibérica)

“The gathering has meant for me discovering the richness that the mission has thanks to DIVERSITY, and the capacity it must incorporate itself into different cultures and contexts while maintaining its essence. It also meant glimpsing new possibilities in the educational-scholastic field, being the 1st Marist world meeting with a focus on THE SCHOOL. Finally, it reaffirmed my sense of belonging to a global charismatic family, making friendships in a few days with wonderful people from other latitudes. It meant a breath of the Spirit in my Province”.

Alfonso Ruiz de Chávez Province of Mexico Central

Participating in Champagnat Global 2022 gave me the opportunity to see that the challenges facing Marist education around the world are more similar than different.  Therefore, we will be able to help each other by sharing initiatives and programmes with each other. The Champagnat Global 2022 experience also pointed out the need for ongoing Marist/confessional formation for adult communities in our Marist schools as well as for communities of learners”.

Hank Hammer, FMS Province of the United States

“From 28 November to 6 December 2022, I had the honour of being one of the participants in the World Gathering of Marist Educators held in the capital of Mexico with the main theme of promoting the Marist Network “Champagnat Global”. We all felt welcomed as people who have a valuable contribution to make to the team. What do I take away from this great experience? 

– The global impact of the Marist mission. It is one thing to know that there are Marist schools elsewhere, but it is another thing to meet their representatives and admire the beautiful ideas they put into practice there.

– The fact that the Marist identity we carry defines not only an educational environment, but also a value system of a global family acting for a better future.

The perspective of the Champagnat Global Network does not impose uniformity. On the contrary, it harnesses diversity for the benefit of all”.

Despoina Tsaousi – Teacher at the Marist College – Greece – (L’Hermitage)

“It has been an opportunity to discover once again the fraternity, the harmony in the Marist mission whatever our geography or our mother tongue. I have met wonderful companions along the way in this desire to build a global family and I have experienced that the network is always built in the personal encounter with listening and openness of heart.

Thank you for the experience of dreaming together of a future that is already present and for the welcome of the Marist family of Mexico. Thank you for making me feel at home, in mission and with a Marist vocation”.

Br. Salvador Hidalgo – Mission Coordinator (Compostela)

“Participating in the Mexico gathering allowed me to give more content to the Champagnat Global network. It was a very rich experience in which the network was “incarnated” thanks to the presence of so many Marists of Champagnat, so different, by their geographical origin, their functions, or their state of life (brothers, lay men and women), but so close in the way of living and continuing Champagnat’s work. It is very moving and motivating to see to what extent the intuition of the Founder, a little priest in the French countryside at the beginning of the 19th century, is still so relevant and necessary for the young people of our time. The welcome we received from our friends in Mexico was very warm and helped us to feel like family.

Champagnat Global is much more than a tool, it is an extraordinary opportunity to build the global charismatic family. Together we can all contribute to its construction”.

Christophe Schietse – Secretariat for Mission Marist Region of Europe (MRE)

“Participating in the Champagnat Global gathering has made me aware of the strength of a network, of the synergy caused by journeying together, of the energy caused by so many people dreaming at the same time: to raise our eyes, to open our minds, to listen to accents, to glimpse horizons… A very rich experience of fraternity, diversity, optimism, and commitment to the Marist mission. On many occasions we see the power of the everyday and the small: as educators we experience that education changes the lives of so many people who pass through our works. And that takes a lot of time… On other occasions, as in this case, we experience the power of the extraordinary and the global, the opportunity that internationality represents, the challenges that we can face together, what we can learn simply by listening… And this is perceived very quickly. In short, a great privilege and an immense challenge”.

Br. Javier Gragera Fernández-Salguero – Coordinator of the Mission Council (COEM) Marist Province of Mediterránea (Spain)

“For me, participating in Champagnat Global has meant putting faces and names to people who feel and live the same way. To live and enjoy an experience of fraternity that unites us and makes us breathe as a Global family. It has meant sharing the mission in the moments of meeting, in the participation, in the celebration, in the feast, in the welcome, in the thanksgiving, in the laughter.

To get to know through the accompaniment of young people and educators some of the educational realities of Mexico, making us feel at home.

An experience of gratitude for making real and alive this map that unites us despite the distances and for continuing to make the journey having at the centre of our mission the children and young people who make us Marists of Champagnat“.

Eva María Matarranz Gimeno – Coordinator of the Education and Evangelisation Team Marist Province Compostela – Spain

“I really enjoyed attending the Champagnat Global meeting in Mexico. It was great to meet so many Marists from all over the world. I enjoyed meeting old friends and making new friends. There is a great spirit of welcome and hospitality. The gathering was a great opportunity to share and become aware of the great possibilities that Champagnat Global offers to all Marists. I also enjoyed visiting the schools and having the opportunity to experience the rich Mexican culture. A very enriching experience and thank you for the opportunity.

PJ McGowan – Mission Networks Representative Ireland (West Central Europe)

Participating in the Mexico gathering was a great experience for me. After several years of virtual meetings, having the opportunity to meet face to face in person with Marists from all over the world who share the Marist educational mission was the most important thing.

I really enjoyed the visit to the schools in Cocula and Guadalajara, it was a joy to share with teachers, directors, families, Brothers and above all with children and young people who opened their hearts to us and welcomed us with the warmth and familiarity that characterises the Mexican people”.

Br. Leonardo Yepes – Education Coordinator Colombia (Norandina)

“It is comforting to know that there are like-minded Marists around the world, both consecrated brothers and committed lay people. The theme of “Stronger Together” is a call to live more as global citizens of our shared planet. There are many potential opportunities to connect our schools and our students in a global network. Reading the signs of the times, our students need more cultural and humanitarian connections to be empowered to make a real difference.

Richard A. Karsten – President – Archbishop Molloy High School – USA

“For my part, I see this gathering as a strategic moment that consolidates more and more the vision of the Marist Institute to strengthen itself as a global, international and intercultural family. The work done and the exchange of experiences among the participants reinforced, once again, the strength that we have together as a Marist family. It was also very evident that we must be attentive to the signs of the contemporary world and that we must adapt ourselves to the new challenges and to the new needs of the mission fronts, but always starting from and through the charism presented by Saint Marcellin. On the individual level, we have fond memories of the friends we made, the experiences we lived and the warm welcome of the host Provinces and the Mexican people. A week rich in learning and life experiences. I would like to express my gratitude and support to the Secretariat of Education and Evangelisation of the Institute and to the entire General Administration for the realisation of this important event”.

Leonardo Soares – Executive Secretary – South America Region

“The post-pandemic world has changed, we can no longer understand ourselves as separate school actors, today’s world is demanding open frontiers and possibilities for education, but if we don’t do it together, we will not be able to reach that innovative future.

With Marcellin, we looked beyond our works, our school, and our educational practices. And the experience of ChGlobal helped me to see the possibility of meeting and recognising myself with people who, like me, believe that the collaborative work and the connection that we have as Marists make us stronger so that we can overcome the barriers of distance and language.

Today the challenge of innovation in education is an imprint of society, as Marists we cannot be left out, if we really want to make Champagnat’s dream of forming men and women citizens of the world possible, we must start today.

Champagnat Global is the opportunity to understand each other with such great strength, to share experiences that allow our students, teachers, and collaborators to know that they are part of a network that is at the service of all, with a diversity of colours, languages, and experiences of which they can be a part.

I thank my province and the organising team for giving me the opportunity to live the experience that I now must share and start building”.

Oscar Soubervielle Espinoza – Hno. Marista México Central

“A GREAT GIFT to feel the spirit of the Marist Family all over the world. I think there is an interrelationship between the ON LINE meetings (Zoom etc) and the face-to-face meetings and activities. The ONLINE is leading us, pushing us to FACE TO FACE and now this participation in Champagnat Global is going to promote more and more intense relationships between those who were in Mexico and those who could not come.

I am very, very grateful to the organisers and to the Marists of Champagnat Mexico who made us feel so much at home. I would say that the welcomes and attentions were so good and WARM that it was not a problem to deal with some cold water….  Thank you. Thank you.

All the faces became sisters and brothers. All the ‘SISTERS and BROTHERS’ shared their stories and their visions. My problem, as I am getting older is that I have everyone’s faces in one part of my memory and the names somewhere else. I suggest, if possible, to send us a Photo indicating the names of all….

On the slogan: STRONGER TOGETHER I would perhaps suggest adding: TOGETHER WE ARE MORE A FAMILY. This was my feeling. In the world, I am not sure if our schools are the best or the strongest, but everywhere I have been and this time in Mexico I witness the great value of FAMILY.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. SEE YOU. What can I do for you?”.

Br. Marti Enrich Figueras – Bangladesh (Asia District)

“It is well known that we are living through a significant and overwhelming change of times, which requires of us all a greater ethical, educational and theological acumen, and above all, attention to the calls and signs of the new times.

We are all educators committed to the transformation of society through our Meaningful Presence, permeated by Marist Spirituality, which leads us to the holy feet of Jesus, to make all things new, what is possible.

Participating in Global Champagnat in Mexico was a watershed, since the dialogical relationship with educational leaders of the Mission Front has enriched us greatly and has encouraged us to go forward in and for Education in the light of Global Citizenship.

The dynamic of the meeting was formidable, because it allowed us a continuous and cumulative participation, because there was no more or less knowledge, but different knowledge, which brings us the feeling that a new world is possible.

I believe, for this and, also, for all the experiences, reflections, visits and related matters which made up the robust and significant programme of the Meeting, that we returned to our bases with a feeling of belonging, even greater, because strengthened and supported by Global Citizenship.

In the visits to the Marist Schools, I could perceive that, no matter where it is situated, the Marist Spirit, the essence of the Marist Mission is there, enchanting and encouraging.

As well as my gratitude for having participated in something of such greatness, I place myself at your disposal to continue, not to let it cool down, but to continue together, in the certainty that TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER.

Fraternal hugs and peace to all who were present, as well as those who led the organization of all the days, to understand how significant and meaningful it was.

We go on together”.

Teogenes Pereira de Brito – FTD EDUCATION – Brazil

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