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19.02.2019 18:07:07 174x read.
INSPIRATION
A GENERAL COUNCILLOR FOR THREE CONSECUTIVE SIX YEAR PERIODS. (by Bro. Guido Sukarman)

A GENERAL COUNCILLOR FOR THREE CONSECUTIVE SIX YEAR PERIODS.

(Bro. Guido Sukarman giving his speach during the 35th General Chapter)

Looking back and reflecting on the experiences of being part of a team (General Council) entrusted by the Congregation with the service of leadership, I would like to share with you the followings:

First of all I am very grateful especially to the Brothers in The Netherlands for their spirit of FIC brotherhood I have been privileged to experience and enjoy during the span of 18 years of my stay in The Netherlands.

When I joined the General Council in August 2000, the Congregation was still at its early stage of becoming an International Congregation. Members of the General Council consisted not only of Dutch Brothers but also of non Dutch. From that time until today the seat of the General Council has been in The Netherlands. The question on livability in The Netherlands for the non Dutch received great attention. It was not surprising, therefore, that when I arrived at De Beyart in January 2001 I was very warmly welcome. The Brothers looked very happy to welcome me; so did the Brothers’ personnel. The FIC Brothers were still many (the majority) at De Beyart, and the FIC atmosphere was very obvious.

From the time of my first arrival until the time of leaving The Netherlands for good, I experienced the Brothers have much interest in me. Each, in his own way and capacity, has been trying to make me feel at home and help me with what I need. Many times I was offered some help even before I asked for it.

In short, my stay in The Netherlands as a whole has been an enjoyable one. I had hardly been “home sick”. If there were ever inconveniences or struggles, they have to do with making adjustments to food and winter at the beginning; and a little later on with my being allergic to pollens (hay-fever). As far as food is concerned I have learned to follow my reasoning more than my tong.

To exercise the service of leadership, the General Council endeavours to facilitate and animate the continuous movement of the Congregation to keep the heritage of the Congregation alive, to promote appropriate renewal, and to serve the spiritual and material needs. The specific or concrete areas to focus on are determined by the six yearly General Chapter resolutions.

(Bro. Guido and his niece (and her husband) together with Bro. Chris Sukarman and late Bro. Arnold)

During my 18 years being part of the General Council, INTERNATIONALITY, COMMUNICATION, FORMATION and RULES of CONDUCT (to promote child protection and avoid sexual abuse in all places where brothers and co-workers have regular contact with minors) were among the significant areas that drew our great attention. Those areas are closely related in giving them shape in our day to day life. Those areas of focus lead us to the question, among others, “what does this mean for our initial and on-going formation”.

In the early 2000 the Congregation was still at its initial stage of becoming an International Congregation. The General Council needed to study and reflect a lot on the issue of internationality: about the characteristics to develop and nurture; the cost of being international, the congregational activities (programs) and habits to develop, etc.

Communication and formation became important topics on the agenda of our international meetings. In short I could say that in rendering its services the General Council had been conscious of the need to continuously promote and develop our international spirit and characteristics as FIC Brothers and at the same time to come to more clarity about our FIC spirituality, the spirituality of FIC Founders. Thus the development of, among others: the Congregational website; the international meetings on formation and the formation in human sexuality and spirituality; and the program FIC Journey to Spiritual Enrichment.

We can be grateful that the sense and the spirit of being an international congregation continue growing among the brothers as individuals and as a Congregation. This has been obvious, among others in the experiences of our international gatherings like: Congregational and General Conferences, encounters organized by IFCC, international meetings of formators, OASIS, and during the recent Apostolic Congress. One of the very clear and strong characteristics of our being an international Congregation seems to be our longing for and desire to be in true solidarity with one another, among our provinces which is expressed in many ways at our international gatherings.

There are other signs, demands, cost or consequences, of our becoming international, such as: the values of provincial exchange/visit of brothers; the eventual production of the core curriculum to guide our work of forming our candidates; the congregational manual for our financial administration; and also the congregational magazine “Brothers FIC - Called to be good and to do good”. There are surely still other signs that signify our becoming a more and more international Congregation.

I am very grateful also for the generous gift individual Brothers have given me by sharing the stories of their life-journey: their gift of vision and insight, the challenges they face, the energy and courage they are blessed with. These personal encounters gave me the opportunity to listen to what is alive among them, to show my understanding for their difficulties and challenges, to stimulate and encourage, to affirm and to show support. On the other hand, listening to their life-stories, I also experienced being inspired, nourished and spiritually enriched. These personal encounters that have helped me experience the Brothers’ generous trust, openness, honesty and love, strengthen the sense of being truly brothers of one another and the sense of belonging to each other in this beloved house called FIC Brotherhood. All these have helped renew and deepen my commitment to the service of leadership which has been entrusted by the Congregation.

(Bro. Guido and the participant of the OASIS 2010 in front of the house of Mgr. Louis Rutten)

As far as working in three different leadership teams is concerned, there are at least three significant learning experiences for me. From the first team (2000-2006) I especially learned the value of efficiency in our work; from the second (2007-2012) the virtue of patience, humility, loyalty and goodwill when there is distrust and suspicion; and from the third (2012-2018) I especially experience the joy, peace and love as the by-products of the gifts of trust, openness, patience, honesty, respect and generosity of heart.  

As conclusion, I would like to say that yes, obviously our Congregation has become more international than how it was 18 years ago. Yet there is also a reality that the presence of the Dutch Brothers in our international gatherings / meetings has become less and less. This, however, does not mean that the role and contribution of the Dutch Brothers to the continuous growth of the Congregation has become less and less. No! Their role and contribution just continue in a different way. Moreover as Congregation we cannot miss the presence of our “experienced Dutch Brothers” in our international meetings, even though the topics of the meeting, (like initial formation and apostolic mission), may seem irrelevant to the reality of the brothers’ life in The Netherlands: no work on initial formation and only few brothers are involved in external apostolic activities. They, the Dutch Brothers, have their learning experience, conviction and wisdom that can be shared with the rest of the Brothers that can inspire and stimulate our FIC living.

 

Bro. Guido Sukarman, fic           








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