August 4 – MEETINGS BY CONTINENTS
MEETINGS BY CONTINENTS
Two types of meetings are frequent in the Institute: those which are held within a Province or a country (India, for example) and international meetings (General Chapters, Councils of the Institute, various sessions). The meetings by continents, fewer in number, have not ceased to take on importance in the last decades of the 20th century. The American continent is not included in this: in North America, Canada is the only Gabrielite country and in South America the meetings of Brothers in Brazil with those of Colombia are not practical.
In Europe, since 1977, there were the European Montfortian Meetings or REM. They are held every two years in different European countries: in Spain (at Barcelona) in 1977, in Belgium (at Banneux) in 1979, in Italy (at Verbania) in 1981, in Great Britain (at Southampton) in 1983, in Holland (at Booxmer) in 1985, in France (at Aix en-Provence) in 1987, in Germany (at Hildersheim) in 1989, in Spain (at Madrid) in 1991, in Belgium (at Louvain) in 1993, in Italy (at Messina) in 1995, and in Scotland (at Glasgow) in 1998. Each meeting brought together some thirty or forty Fathers, Brothers and Sisters of the Montfortian Family and treated a theme related to the host country: for example, in 1991 it was ‘The great Spanish mystics’; in 1993, Europe (economic and social situation, Catholic teaching, ecumenism, Europe and the third world).
In Africa, a meeting of twelve Brothers come from six French-speaking countries was held in Brazzaville from 21 to 26 June 1989 to study the future of St Gabriel on the continent. In the following meeting held at Thies (Senegal) in February 1990 with twenty Brothers, a Council for French-speaking Africa was started (CAF) made-up of the two Provincial Superiors of Central Africa and Senegal and one Provincial Councillor per Province. Its first session was held at Bangui on 6 and 7 August 1990. It has been held every year in different countries.
In Asia-Oceania, the meetings among Brothers from India, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific were many in recent years: – in January 1996, at Vijayawada (India), with 33 Brothers, on the renewal of religious life;
– in September 1996, at Bangkok, with 31 Brothers, on Gabrielite education;
– in June 1997, at Bangalore, with 50 Brothers, on the expansion of the Institute;
– in December 1998, at Kazipet (India), with the formators, on mission, celibacy and spirituality.
To these may be added two Montfortian congresses: at Bangalore end of December 1997, and at Bangkok in December 1998. Even though not held exclusively for the Brothers, their number was the highest (144 and 60 respectively).