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"!

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