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15.10.2023 13:48:08 288x read.
Pilgrimage to Red Lion, the first FIC Mother house in Maastricht (by: bro. Pascal M)


The Indonesian delegation led the morning prayers which centred on the theme “In the Spirit of Our Founders”. The key readings were from Articles 7 and 8 of the FIC Constitution. It was another inspirational prayer service invoking the Spirit to instill in the brothers the spirit, personality and message of the Founders so as to spread the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ.

On this third day of the Pilgrimage, Bro Johan took the participants to the Red Lion. This is the house that Mgr Rutten bought in 1838 and in which he started a nursery school. Bro Johan illustrated how the house had been renovated in later years. The intention was to make it accessible to all kinds of people regardless of their faith so that they could come and meditate and reflect on their lives. Bro Johan emphasised that the Congregation took the effort and resources to make the house also easily accessible to persons with disabilities. 

Whilst in this historical house, the participants gathered in the prayer room for a short prayer service. Bro Didas (from Ghana) read the Gospel from Luke 11: 1-4 where Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray. The participants spent time in meditation with the sensitivity that they were sitting in the cradle of the FIC Congregation. Bro Johan took time to elucidate that it was in this house that the first FIC Brothers formed a community and taught the children in the very same house. 

Bro Johan then led the participants to the Capucijnenhof, on the side of the Capucijnengang just round the corner from the Red Lion, the original site of the first Mother house. In this place the Brothers had a Teacher Training College and a middle-class primary school.  Bro Bernard had lived in this place till 1880.

Later at mid-morning the participants returned to the CB House, the venue of the OASIS. After a short tea break, they had time for questions and clarifications before sharing personal experiences. Most of the questions and clarifications centred on the concerns that participants had about the critical changes in the Dutch Religious House; for example, the sale of houses and institutional buildings that were an important aspect of the FIC heritage. Bro Johan’s responses underlined the reality of the many congregations that go into decline without necessarily dying out. He stressed that what is vital is that we keep our faith and trust in providence; living our life to the best of our intention as FIC Brothers.

The participants spent much of the afternoon session reading excerpts of letters by LH Rutten in his last years. Then they were asked to go into groups and share their feelings and thoughts about the letters. In their sharing, the Brothers expressed how they were deeply touched by the tenacity displayed by Mgr Rutten in venturing into new projects for the benefit of the poor and needy people. They also spoke about the deep love of Mgr Rutten for the brothers even as he lay on his sick-bed.

The day was concluded by Holy Mass and later recreation.

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