During the first weekend of September, the Eugene De Mazenod International Centre (CIEM) in Aix-en-Provence welcomed its new student community and launched the new phase of the “Mazenodian Fraternity”.

The community is comprised of thirteen young people who chose to live within the historic walls of the Foundation House of the Oblate missionaries and to form, for a year, a true life of fraternity. This first weekend was therefore an opportunity for them to discover not only the other new students, but also the Oblates, the values ​​of Saint-Eugène de Mazenod, and to reflect on the collective projects do be done in the coming year.

On Friday evening, the future “Mazenodian Fraternity” officially got to know each other over a shared meal in the cloister. The evening concluded with a re-reading of the meaning of the confinement. Without distractions, the imposed isolation can also be the occasion for a return to the essential. Like the rest of the weekend, this launch party was both lively and spiritually strong.

The next day was devoted to reflection on the choice of life for an entire year: joining the student fraternity is to desire to live and build oneself with others and the Lord, the desire to drop the masks and welcome one’s neighbor. This whole process was nourished throughout the day by remote interventions by Fr. Bonga MAJOLA from South Africa, by other responsible persons of Oblate hostels throughout France, meditations and testimonies from students on their year of life at the foreign locations. Practical debates on the organization of community life as well as future group projects to keep the community in action and in service also took place.

Finally, on Sunday morning, during the weekly celebration in the Oblate chapel, the “Mazenodian Fraternity” was presented to the whole community gathered for the Eucharist.

Such a weekend is always a moment of apprehension, kicking off a new year. However, it seems to augur well for the future. At the end of these three days rich in emotion and various memories, the Mazenodian Fraternity succeeded in its mission: to meet, transmit and take the first steps to build an ambitious spiritual, united and collective journey throughout the year ahead.