GENERAL COUNCIL F.I.C. - Prins Bisschopsingel 22, 6211 JX Maastricht, The Netherlands  Phone: *31 (0) 43 3508373
Sunday, October 17 2021  - 2 User Online  

08.02.2021 15:38:04 1302x read.
Maastricht is a beautiful City: A reflection during my stay in Maastricht [Bro. Wensislaus Parut, student in Rome].

Maastricht is a beautiful City: A reflection during my stay in Maastricht.

[Bro. Wensislaus Parut, student in Rome]


I am grateful that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had the opportunity to stay in Mastricht, the birthplace of our Congregation, during the summer holidays. I am thankful to God and the General Council for the opportunity to visit the historical places of  our Congregation. Before this, my knowledge of the place was limited to reading books and seeing photos.  Being able to see and touch these places directly surely made a difference in my life in terms of knowledge of the congregation. Touching the tombs of our founder Mgr. Rutten and co-founder Bro. Bernard, visiting the Mother house, and several communities gave evidence of the history of our Congregation. My visit to Maastricht is a visit to the womb of our Congregation, the place where the congregation was conceived and born. Having a summer vacation in Maastricht was not my agenda previously. Actually, my earlier plan was to stay in Rome during the summer, where I planned to prepare my thesis project, visit the library for some reference books, improve the learning of the Italian languange and also visit some sanctuaries in Rome. However, the Covid 19 pandemic "destroyed" all that I planned. I had to leave Rome for Maastricht due to circumstances that compelled us to vacate the community where I live in Seminarum Missionum Carmelitani Scalzi.


(very right: Bro. Wensislaus at Indonesia Embassy in Rome)

Before I left for Maastricht I actually had doubts whether the brothers would allow me to stay in their community, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. But then, praise to the Lord, the Local Superior and the brothers of  Emmaus community were very understanding of my situation. I was allowed to stay there from 20 July till 24 September 2020. I can only be grateful to God for the rich experiences during my stay there as I had the chance to meet fellow brothers who are still resident in De Beyart and visit the other communities within Maastricht. There are many soul-stirring experiences, especially those of encountering the Dutch brothers, and visiting some historical places of the Congregation.


Maastricht is a beautiful city

The beauty of Maastricht is seen in its cleanliness and several tourist attractions. It is a historical city that was built during the Roman empire with the River Maas flowing through the city.The river has a variety of sturdy and neat bridges across it. Its beauty is due to various ancient buildings as well as several basilicas which are still the center of Catholic spiritual pilgrimage. The city becomes more beautiful when I realise that it is the birth place of our Congregation. It is the place where God revealed Himself to our beloved founders Mgr. Rutten and Bro. Bernardus. Both of them are the great apostles of  the Congregation, who proclaimed the Kingdom of God, upheld God’s justice and righteousness and saved the souls of poor children in Maastricht.


I am indebted to my fellow brothers in Emmaus community who showed me around. For the first time, I visited the basilica of  Our lady Star of the Sea and the basilica of St. Servatius where Mgr. Rutten started his catechism lessons with the children of Maastricht, one of the significant places for FIC.  I got to know that Our lady Star of the Sea is a popular place for devotion of the people of Maastricht. I cannot wholly express my joy at having encountered such historical places, especially those that are connected with the history of the FIC Congregation. My personal encounter with the historical realities of the Congregation was like an encounter with the founders themselves. It was a unique experienvce for me!


One of the significant  places I visited was “Rooden Leeuw” (Red Lion), the house where the Congregation began in 1840. Stepping inside "Red Lion" gave me a special feeling and made me recall the history of  our beginning and the atmosphere at the time.  Life at the beginning of the congregation was characterized by little enthusiasm and limited material things, but their desires and enthusiasm was propelled  by the Holy Spirit and more to the point, they entrusted the whole affair into the hands of Mother Mary. When I entered the small prayer room on the 3rd floor of "Red lion", my imagination was carried away to the community of the 12 apostles who were waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit, before they went to proclaim the risen Christ to all of the nations.

(L-R: Bros. Wens, Gerard Langelaan, and Widyo Rijanto)

A Symbolic Retreat

My holiday experience in Maastricht especially visiting the historical places of the Congregation is like doing a symbolic retreat. It is like tracing our founders on their journey of starting the Congregation, from the basilica of St. Servatius, to Rooden Leeuw, Den Haag, De Beyart, Capucijnengang, and finally their graveyard. This experience goes close to making a spiritual journey, and so I took note of all these experiences during my prayers and reflection in Emmaus community. The experience of having seen and touched what I read about in books gave me a huge inspiration that will have a lasting effect in my life.  Staying in Emmaus Comunity was also a huge support to my spiritual life. My stay there helped me to recharge my spiritual needs as brother FIC. I became more aware of the difference between living in an FIC community and outside of it. This difference was clear when we gathered for lunch, dinner, recreation, community service or cycling. I felt truly at home and immediately recall what our Constitution says: "... we believe in our calling to form an apostolic and fraternal community of religious members".  It was also an enriching experience to meet the elderly brothers at De Beyart, Prins Bisschopsingel, Capucijnengang, and Den Haag. I felt a lot of support, even in my encounter with the friendly, diligent and enthusiastic employees of the brothers. Above all, the prayer services in Emmaus community every Wednesday and Eucharist every Thursday were a great source of encouragement for me as a brother FIC.          


(L-R: Bros. Wim Swuste, Theo, and Wens)

I was really impressed and inspired on the last day during the farewell prayer service that was prepared in my honour. This also was a source of great support for my mission in Rome. Indeed, my two-months' stay with my fellow brothers in Emmaus community can be likened to the experience of the two disciples on their way to Emmaus. It was an experience of an encounter with the Lord in view of my spiritual journey with our Founders, and the truly fraternal community life in Emmaus among the brothers.  

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