For me, being able to spend a week in Bruges, Belgium, and walk the streets that Theodore Ryken walked, was indeed a great privilege. Since the city of Bruges is a historical site, many of the buildings, especially as you move away from the town center, look much the same as they probably looked during Ryken’s time. So, I experienced a unique feeling of being in a special place when I was there.
I left the meetings of the Assembly with a real sense of the international nature of the Xaverian Brothers today. Not only were our sessions simultaneously translated into three languages, but our prayers reflected those languages as well. It was very special to be able to get to know the Brothers from Africa and Belgium and learn more of the history of the Congregation in those places from the Brothers who have lived that history.
The meetings allowed us to continue to reflect on the Fundamental Principles and celebrate the fact that they are still inspiring and challenging today, many years after they were written. We discussed how associates and collaborators can live their life of Gospel witness and how persons walking with the Brothers help “to manifest God’s care and compassionate love to the people of the world in these times.” Most importantly, we experienced a community where “we were encouraged to discover our gifts and talents and to affirm the giftedness of others, calling each other to greater service of the Lord.”
As you probably know, Alice is Director of the Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools Office (XBSS).