De La Mennais Brothers: Weaving A Tapestry Of Relationships Like Jesus

De La Mennais Brothers: Weaving A Tapestry Of Relationships Like Jesus

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Surrendering ourselves to God

There's a lovely article over on the wonderful Mute Swan website that addresses the question of discerning God's calling. Here's the start of the article with a link to read the rest of it:

 This summer I have had many wonderful visits with my nephews–all grown men now, on journeys of their own. But I have watched the struggle they are engaged in to discover their gifts. It seems particularly challenging for young men, in today’s culture, to find their ‘profession’. What if, instead of asking, ‘how can I pay my rent?’ (perhaps today’s question) or being paralyzed by the BIG question, ‘what is my life work?’ we came to God each morning, surrendering ourselves to His guidance to discover our gifts?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Contemporary philosophers

Many thanks to my confrère, Bro. Ernest Paquet, for this wonderful collection of contemporary wisdom from some of the greatest minds of the last 100 years... including Arnold Schwarzenegger!!

As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.
~ John Glenn (US first Astronaut 1962).
When the white missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.
~ Desmond Tutu (Anti-apartheid Archbishop of Capetown).
America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.
~ David Letterman (American TV host).
I'm not a paranoid, deranged millionaire.
God dammit, I'm a billionaire.
~ Howard Hughes (US business magnate).
Men are like linoleum floors. Lay 'em right and you can walk all over them for thirty years.
~ Betsy Salkind (US comedian).
The only reason they say 'Women and children first' is to test the strength of the lifeboats.
~ Jean Kerr (Irish-American playright).
I've been married to a communist and a fascist, and neither would take out the garbage.
~ Zsa Zsa Gabor (Film star).
You know you're a redneck if your home has wheels and your car doesn't.
~ Jeff Foxworthy (US actor / comedian).
When a man opens a car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife.
~ Prince Philip (Duke of Edinburgh).
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.
~ Emo Philips. (US entertainer).

Wood burns faster when you have to cut and chop it yourself.
~ Harrison Ford (US film actor).
Lawyers believe a man is innocent until proven broke.
~ Robin Hall (Scottish folksinger).
Kill one man and you're a murderer, kill a million and you're a conqueror.
~ Jean Rostand. (French philosopher).
Having more money doesn't make you happier. I have 50 million dollars but I was just as happy as when I had 48 million.
~ Arnold Schwarzenegger. (US film actor).
We are here on earth to do good unto others. What the others are here for, I have no idea.
~ WH Auden (Anglo-American poet).
If life were fair Elvis would still be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead.
~ Johnny Carson (US TV host)
Hollywood must be the only place on earth where you can be fired by a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a baseball cap.
~ Steve Martin (US film actor).
Home cooking. Where many a man thinks his wife is.
~ Jimmy Durante (US film actor / comedian).
America is so advanced that even the chairs are electric.
~ Doug Hamwell (Storyteller).
The first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone.
~ George Roberts (American financier).
If God had intended us to fly he would have made it easier to get to the airport.
~ Jonathan Winters (US comedian / actor).


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Coastline near Saint-Brieuc

via Instagram

This one was taken during a walk on the Sunday after lunch (see previous post) with Frère Bob and Frère Jean-Yves of the Rennes community. For more photos from the walk see the Flickr album here.

Love Alone Is Worth The Fight - a weekend in Brittany

via Instagram - Good friend Frère Bob @ Saint-Brieuc

One of the perks of having to fly to France once every 6 weeks or so for meetings of our Provincial Council (representing our Brothers in France, England and Italy) is that the Council includes a number of Brothers who have become very good friends of mine over the years and have been incredibly supportive in my own vocational journey as a De La Mennais Brother.

The meetings being on the Saturday, I generally stay the Friday nights in our community in Rennes, Brittany. On the Saturdays, I generally travel with a fellow Council member, Frère Bob Léaustic (see photo above) back to his community in Saint-Brieuc on the Breton coast (where he is the Superior). Both our Rennes and Saint-Brieuc communities share with our community in Liverpool a special mandate within the Province as "pôles communautaires" whose job it is to act as a testing ground or laboratory for fresh ideas in terms of living our lives in community (prayer times, fraternal sharing, opening our doors to young people, lay adults, etc...) and our apostolate with young people, those of school age first of all, but also with a special accent on finding new ways to reach out to young adults roughly in the 18-35 bracket, for example our networks of former pupils.

It's great to be able to share experiences with these fellow Brothers, to bounce ideas off them and to learn from their own initiatives and projects. But, above all, it is great to spend time with people who are family to me and who have given me immense support over the years from across the Channel.

So, although the meetings on the Saturdays (and the travel to get there) can themselves be long and tiring coming at the end of the school week, I generally come back refreshed and in good spirits.

As the latest meeting was on the Saturday after breaking up for half-term, I allowed myself an extra night in Saint-Brieuc and also visited friends in Southampton on the way back through England.

Although obviously as a Brother one cannot simply up sticks and go visiting friends and relatives when one wants to, maintaining contact with those who have become my friends over the years (as well as with my family) is an important way of living out my calling as a Brother and of witnessing to the love I've received
from the One who called (and still calls) me. As an elderly Brother once said to me,

"All that really matters in life is the quality of our relationships with others."

In other words, as Switchfoot say so eloquently, "Love Alone Is Worth The Fight"!

At Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, post-Provincial Council meeting last week.

via Instagram

Friday, May 30, 2014

"Make the choice to rejoice"


The following devotion from the people at the DVO/Pocket Fuel iOS app ( chimes with the teaching given by Rend Collective in relation to their latest album ("The Art Of Celebration" - see earlier posts).

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Philippians 4:4 (NLT)
Joy is that one emotion we could all do with more of! But often we mistake joy as a result of good fortune when, in fact, it is a choice to be happy... Because 'joy' is a choice! In fact, every emotion we experience is a choice. Do me a favour for the next 5 minutes and pretend you are a successful millionaire. Make sure that every person you encounter knows about your success, accomplishments and wealth. With it, you have the ability to bless and help lots of people. Immerse yourself in the vision of this experience. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Does it feel good? Of course it does! Note that even though you don’t have all those successes, accomplishments and wealth, you can still experience the joy that you imagine would come with them. The choice to feel good and experience joy is always only moments away! God says He sets before us life and death but that we should ‘choose life.' The choice is yours, and it’s God’s gift to you. Choosing life means choosing the way to feel and respond to ANY given situation. Notice that Paul says, "Always be joyful..." That means not waiting around for joy to happen but actually putting it on. Today make the choice to rejoice and you’ll find it will change the flavour of the day and make you irresistible to be around. We love you guys and thank God for you always!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Rend Collective + Tenth Avenue North - The Art Of Celebration

"You're not finished with me yet, You're not finished with me yet, 
By your power I can change, I can change, ‘Cos you're not finished with me yet!”

Last night Rend Collective rounded off their wonderful Manchester gig with a brilliantly uplifting version of this track that had everyone pogoing and singing along, all in Christ’s name. Joyous, liberating, prayerful + fun, children celebrating the love of their Father!! I like to think God was laughing along with us.

Heartfelt thanks to Rend Collective + Tenth Avenue North for an amazing night of music and worship and for all you do in God’s name. 

Team Win love you!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Vocation Sunday 2014 - the vocation to be a Brother

Is God possibly calling you to life as a Religious Brother? Ask yourself the question.

Vocation resources

Find below some links to resources produced by the National Office for Vocation in England and Wales for today’s celebration of Vocation Sunday that you can make use of throughout the year whenever addressing the question of vocation with pupils, young people in general... 


Vocations Sunday: 11th May 2014
Good Shepherd Sunday is the moment when all the faithful are invited to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. Teresa Carvalho, NOV’s newly appointed Discipleship Promoter, has worked hard putting the following online resources together:

It is also possible to order the printed resources which have been created for this Vocations Sunday but are not time-bound. The attached order form gives details of how you can order posters and mini-moos ('give-away' cards) and images of them can be seen online on the side-bar of