After a long wait of two and a half years, after five cancelled sessions due to pandemic lockdown and its consequences, we have finally resumed the De Mazenod Experience!
The oblate community at the foundation house welcomed eight missionaries from the Latin American and the Caribbean region, from the Paraguay sector of the CRUZ DEL SUR Province, from the Province of BRAZIL, from the BOLPER Delegation and from the Mission of CUBA. The animation team consisted of Edward TERREROS (Bolper), José Manuel CICUÉNDEZ (Venezuela) and Hipólito OLEA (International Community of Aix). The experience was enriched by the participation of other Oblates, such as Jean Marie DIAKANOU who helped us to discover the city of Aix, Benoit DOSQUETS with the theme of Oblate Brothers, and Bernard DULIER who helped us to deepen some aspects of Bishop De Mazenod, Bishop of Marseille.
Part of the session coincided with the 37th General Chapter. We joined the whole congregation in praying for the good work of our brother capitulants. We received the news of the election of the Superior General and the members of the General Council with joy and gratitude.
After the 15-day retreat we had the visit of Fr. Alberto RUIZ from the Mediterranean Province, who shared with us the experience of the chapter. Towards the end of this experience, we were joined by the Superior General, who also encouraged us from what he experienced at the end of the chapter and in the mission of Western Sahara. Following on from the chapter, he also shared with us his vision of the congregation’s challenges. In those last days we were also accompanied by the Founder’s Crucifix. This was a beautiful opportunity for each one of us to personally close this time of grace in a very special way.
At the Oblate community in Aix, we are working to make the De Mazenod Experience a more meaningful space so that many Oblates may benefit from this time of grace, may they be able to pause and rediscover our historical roots. And so, with a renewed heart in our holy land, those Oblate pilgrims who have lived the experience can return full of joy and hope to live communion by giving themselves anew in their local communities and in the mission entrusted to them.