Vic, Spain. The inaugural stage of the School of the Heart of Mary pilgrimage in Vic concluded on August 12, 2023, with Claretian Formators immersing themselves in the rich history and teachings of St. Anthony Mary Claret and the Claretian congregation. The pilgrimage, organized by the General Prefect of Formation, marks a significant step in the formators’ journey towards becoming effective educators and guides. It is divided into different stages. The first one was set in the city of Vic.
During this stage, the formators undertook a profound exploration of Claretian heritage, visiting revered locations such as Claretian sites around Vic, Sallent and Fussimanya, Barcelona, Montserrat, Manresa, Fontfroide, Cervera, and Puig L’Aquila. These sacred sites provided formators with a deep understanding of Father Claret’s life and the historical evolution of the Claretian congregation.
A well-prepared team led by Frs. Sebin Babu, Fr. Jose Rovira, and Fr. Joseph Mbungu-Mutu, CMFF, accompanied them. The guidance of experienced Claretians, including the Sallent and Narbonne Communities, enriched the pilgrimage experience. Mr. Joan Riu joined them in Cervera and Mas Claret, further enhancing the participants’ connection to the Claretian legacy.
The pilgrimage was more than a physical journey. It was an opportunity for formators to engage in rigorous study and introspection. The participants attended online classes, listening to insights from Fr. Matthew Vattamattam, CMF, on the key aspects of being formators. Fr. Babu Sebastian, CMF, led a session on Affective Maturity, delving into formation’s emotional and psychological aspects.
Centro de Espiritualidad Claretiana (CESC) Vic served as a hub for collaborative learning. Frs. Sebin Babu and Jose Rovira, CMFF, led sessions that spanned the entire history of the Congregation, from its inception in the 1840s to its envisioned future in 2024. Furthermore, the formators honed their skills in guiding students through their formation process, drawing from John Heron’s work and Fr. Joseph Mbungu Mutu, CMF’s expert guidance.
As the Vic Stage concluded, Fr. Jose Rovira’s homilies resonated with the formators, echoing the sentiment that they were embarking on the journey from the beginning of the very beginning to the beginning of fullness. The first stage laid a solid foundation, setting the stage for the upcoming stages of the pilgrimage.
Formators eagerly anticipate the Barbastro Stage, scheduled from August 13 to August 20, 2023. This next leg promises to build upon the insights gained during the Vic Stage and propel the participants towards realising the “beginning of fullness” – a journey that will ultimately be fulfilled by each participant’s commitment and the legacy of Claretian martyrs.
The School of the Heart of Mary is a formation program for Claretian Formators. It is normally given for three months in Vic (Spain) for Claretians who are eyed or appointed as formators in their respective Major Organisms. During the pandemic, the program was conducted online. They could not make the physical pilgrimage which is part of the program. It is only now that they are doing it.
Source: Todi Manek, CMF (Communication Team of The School of the Heart of Mary)