February 3 – SHARING MONTFORT’S CHARISM
SHARING MONTFORT’S CHARISM
In Canada, on 3 February 1980, Br. Guy Saint-Onge, Provincial of Champlain explained to his Brothers and some lay people an idea he had had; he sums it up .as follows: “We must pass on to others the tremendous charism we have received from our founder.” Thus the Montfortian Associates came into existence; they have been collaborating for ten years with the whole Montfortian family, and since 1991 have been called Gabrielite Montfortian Associates. They join in Morning and Evening Prayer of the Church, pray to Mary by saying the rosary, prepare each year to renew their consecration to Jesus through Mary, hold monthly meetings and an annual general meeting. Some take part in the Brothers’ retreats. All of them, in their daily lives, bear witness to the love of Wisdom for humanity and help the poor especially to welcome this love.
In Brazil, the Groups of Friends of Montfort (GAMO) bring together young people in a way very similar to the Canadian Associates. The groups came into existence in 1995 at Passos and they have all come together several times in other towns in the State of Minas Gerais. Some work with the Brothers as supervisors in schools or as catechists, others are ministers of the Word or members of pastoral teams.
In Europe, we will consider the case of Spain. In the years that preceded his death in 1998, Br. Celestino, Provincial, spared no effort to set up a Morttfortiah family consisting of lay people (mainly teachers in our schools), including former Brothers, and took them twice to France on pilgrimage in the footsteps of Montfort. In 1999 there are over a hundred of them who meet frequently to deepen the spirit of Montfort and find out more about the life of the Institute all over the world.
What happens in Asia is even more surprising. In Thailand, even though most teachers in our schools are followers of Buddhism, they are interested in Montfort. The Brothers have produced for them videos and books about the saint’s life and works. In India, most of the lay teachers are followers of Hinduism but they show the same interest. On 5 and 6 July 1998, a congress on the theme “Montfortians together” was held at Kolasib (Mizoram). It brought together 23 Brothers and nearly 100 lay teachers from the eight schools run by the North-East Province; for the first time the participants listened to an account of th(( life and spirituality of Montfort. Each school had worked on a particular characteristic of Montfort (e.g. the school at Chabua, on his missionary aspect; the school at Baghty, on his devotion to Mary), and presented it in its own way: a paper, an audio-visual montage, a stage play.
Besides this, it is well known that the Montfortian charism is being lived by a number of groups with different statutes: the Legion of Mary, Homes of Charity, Focolari, Montfortian Secular Institute, Montfortian Hospitality, etc.