To all the Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of the Mission
My dear Confreres,
May the grace and peace of Jesus be always with us!
Our approaching 400th anniversary provides us a unique opportunity to reflect on our life as brothers, like good friends, in the Congregation of the Mission. God has sent us to many places in the world as missionaries bearing good news, serving especially among people livingin poverty and those on the peripheries.
Wherever we have been sent we have a home, a place where we can eat, rest, pray, andbe nourished by sharing our faith, our lives, with each other. We also have a home in our province of origin where we were formed in the mission of Saint Vincent, where we studiedand learned the way to holiness and unity. We formed long-time friendships during those earlyyears that surely are a source of comfort for each of us no matter where we serve. Having acommon history strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood.
We have another home, one we all share, our Motherhouse, the Maison Mère in Paris. In this unique home we can experience the presence and legacy of Saint Vincent himself. Here we can be enlivened by the history of those who have been sent on mission, some who served in great hardship even to the point of martyrdom. In this house dwells everything that happened in our original Motherhouse, Saint Lazare. Standing within 95 Rue de Sèvres in Paris today, one can experience himself as part of a very long line of Vincentian priests and brothers to whom we are united by our mission. This line extends through the present generation and well beyond us. Yes, we are even united to those who will pick up after we have gone to be with the saints in glory! We are brothers, united in mission, which extends from 1625 to the present day and will continue beyond our earthly lives. Our shared home, the Maison Mère, facilitates this kind of awareness and calls us to serve with new vigor, strengthened in our vocation and our brotherhood.
A few years ago, in anticipation of our 400th anniversary, we began a renovation of the Maison Mère so that it would be ready to meet the needs of the Congregation, those we serve, and those we will serve in the 21st century and beyond.
Have you ever visited the Maison Mère? If you have, when did you last visit it? If you were to visit today, you will find that once tired and dreary guestrooms are now comfortable and bright. We have more meeting rooms and are outfitting them with flexible, comfortable furnishings and up-to-date electronic equipment so that we can gather to share and learn from each other dynamically, effectively. The accessible entrance makes it easy for everyone to come inside. The whole place is more welcoming.
Many generous donors—some of the provinces and some individual donors—are making all of this possible. We still have to raise more funds and there is more renovation work to be done. We are on-schedule to host the 2025 Meeting of the Visitors at the Maison Mère.
I cannot wait to see how you, how confreres from around the world, respond when stepping into the renovated front courtyard with clean, repaired stonework and shiny new windows, where Vincent stands with open arms saying “Welcome! You are home now.”
Your brother in Saint Vincent,
Tomaž Mavrič, CM