January 2021
Dear Friends,

Like many US Americans these days, I have increasingly found myself frustrated and angry with the state of our political affairs.  Watching the riotous mob that stormed the Capitol building in a violent insurrection on Wednesday, I couldn’t help but sense how much anger seems to be the new baseline emotional state of our nation and how quickly we are to leap to the conclusion that those who don’t believe what we believe are completely stupid and up to nothing but ill will and malfeasance.  Setting the politics of it all aside – which, I know, can be hard to do – that’s a lot of emotional baggage to be carrying around!  Whether it’s politics or something else, it’s easy sometimes to become lost in your own interior world fixated on perceived wrongdoing, injustice, or violence.  And while there’s a real place in the world for righteous anger, there are also a whole slew of unhealthy fixations or mental states we can get in that substantively hinder our capacity to spread Christian love, mercy, and forgiveness in the world.

One of the things I’ve been reflecting on in light of this situation is the virtue that Chaminade calls the Silence of Imagination.  (If you are not familiar with Chaminade’s System of Virtues, I recommend the short book “Virtues for Mission” by Fr. Joe Lackner.)  The general gist of the virtue is not that one should go through life in a sort of trance-like state with no imagination whatsoever, but rather that it’s crucial be attentive to what we spend our time and energy focusing on inside our mind.  This reminder, to me, shows a bit of Chaminade’s genius: we’re used to hearing people tell us to guard our words and deeds, but Chaminade reminds us of the importance of bringing what happens in the interior world to the forefront of our consciousness as well.  Sometimes we need to take a beat and spend some time sorting out our unhealthy fixations so we can focus more clearly on bringing truth, love, and all that is Christ into the world.  The truth of the matter is, being an agent of love and community building simply cannot take place when we are distracted, angry, or otherwise carried away by unhealthy fixations.

Like all virtues, Silence of Imagination takes practice and cultivation if it is to become a habit for us.  If you are like me and finding a need for more Silence of Imagination these days, I encourage you to spend time reflecting on the virtue and trying to find ways to cultivate it in your life.  And perhaps most importantly, talk about it with others. Cultivating virtues on one’s own is not always the best practice – and besides, isn’t getting out of your own head part of the point?

Wishing you peace in the new year,
Rob Brodrick
Year of Shared Discernment
Throughout the month of January, individual Lay Marianists and Marianist Lay Communities should continue to focus on diving into the content in Module 3: To Commit to the Charism. If you or your community started the Year of Shared Discernment late, no worries! Just keep tackling the modules in your own time. These time frames are just a guideline. If you haven't started engaging yet, jump in with Module 1 and begin this discernment journey with MLC-NA!

Get Involved

1. Fill in a Survey to share your insights and experiences with MLC-NA!

2. Join in a YSD Zoom call with other Lay Marianists:

  • Monday, January 11 from 8-9 PM ET/7-8 PM CT/5-6 PM PT
  • Zoom Link to Join; Meeting ID: 865 2391 3506; Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Linda Flores-Tober & Jose Matos Auffant
  • Tuesday, January 19 from 8-9 PM ET/7-8 pm CT/5-6 PM PT: 
  • Zoom Link to Join; Meeting ID: 868 4813 5191; Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Kay Stone & Errol Christian 
  • Thursday, January 28 from 10-11 PM ET/9-10 PM CT 7-8 pm PT/4-5 PM HT: 
  • Zoom Link to Join; Meeting ID: 859 1984 8149; Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Grissel Benitez-Hodge & Ellen Celaya

Important Links:
Marianist Feast Days

Jan 1 - Mary, Mother of God
Jan 10 - Feast of Blessed Adele de Batz de Trenquelleon
Jan 22 - Feast of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade
Feb 2 - Presentation of the Lord and Foundation of Marianist Lay Communities
Feb 11 - Our Lady of Lourdes

I Hope for You in This New Year
That the single, most significant dimension of your life is your relationship with the               
Source of Goodness who never ceases to sing love songs to your soul.
 That you find meaning, purpose, and vitality in what you do daily.
 That you treasure your loved ones and let them know how dear they are to you.
 That you make choices and decisions that reflect your truest self.
 That you look in the mirror at least once a day and smile in happy amazement.
 That you remember relationships are what count above all else – more than work                 
or money, or the material things we spend so much time tending.
 That you live in an uncluttered manner, enjoying the freedom to be content.
 That you keep your sense of humor when things don’t go the way you want.
 That you find adventure in each day and marvel at the wonders of creation which             
constantly present themselves to you.
 That you never give up on yourself when others turn away or do not understand.
 That you are attentive to the health of your body, mind, and spirit.
 That you take risks and accept the growth-full challenges that come to you.
 That you draw on your inner strength and resiliency when you are in need.
 That you carry peace within yourself, and encourage it to slip into the hearts of others
so our planet becomes a place where violence, division, and war are no more.

Joyce Rupp
Out of the Ordinary
What is your hope for those in our Marianist Family as we embark on this new year? Submit your prayer here.

-LeeAnn Meyer, Chair of Spirituality
I hope you have all had a wonderful start to 2021! I hope you like the prayer and reflection for this month. I was challenged to stretch as I listened to this episode. I am excited for all that is to come this year in the Office of Education, one thing being our virtual formation program for any lay people interested in going through lay formation! The program is tentatively planned to begin in the Spring. If you are interested in beginning the process of formation, or know someone else that is, please send me an email at [email protected]

Part 1: Prayer - Visio Divina 
Spend some time in prayer with this image. It is an image we all know and love. Focus on the hands- what are they telling you? What strikes you about this image? 

  • What strikes you after listening? Consider listening more than once. 
  • How does posture contribute to faith and spirituality? How can it help us slow down?
  • If you could write a letter to yourself on January 1, 2020, what would you want to tell your past self? 
  • Creative writing or thinking exercise: The title of this podcast is “Consider the Hands that Write this Letter.” The author talks about creativity and how they are most creative when one hand is open to the creativity and the other is closed as it writes and works to articulate that creativity. Think about when you are most creative, when you are best able to create or invent. What would the title of your podcast be? “Consider the _______ that _______________.”

-Abbey Saurine, Chair of Education

Wrapping Up Our Annual Appeal

The growth and vitality of the lay branch of the Marianist Family is due to the many volunteer hours and donations that make things happen behind the scenes. MLC-NA needs your financial support to continue our Marianist Mission. Please click
on the link to make an online donation.

Your donations directly support the work of the Leadership Team, Formation,
Administrative and staff cost, and our financial commitment to MSJC through the
Marianist Family Council of North America. Check out updates on MSJC's Issue Team work here.

Please consider how your time, talent, and treasure can further the mission of the Marianist Family. We are wrapping up our Annual Appeal and need as much support as we can get! Contribute today and THANK YOU!
Other Announcements:
NACMS Virtual Lenten Retreat,
March 14-20

The North American Center for Marianist Studies (NACMS) is excited to offer a week-long virtual retreat that will take place during the Fourth Week of Lent. The retreat offers a shorter experience of the Spirit of Saragossa Retreat in Daily Life.  It begins with an entry into the ‘spirit’ of Saragossa, which invites the retreatant into the same atmosphere that Father Chaminade experienced during his three-year exile in Saragossa, Spain. The retreatant then prays with one of four Marian Mysteries: The Annunciation, At the Foot of the Cross, in the Upper Room, and the Wedding at Cana. The retreat involves meeting with other retreatants at the beginning and end of the week, a commitment to daily prayer, and daily virtual meetings with a retreat director. For those not able to commit to the full Saragossa Retreat in Daily Life, this is a great opportunity to get a sense of what the retreat is like. To learn more and to fill out the online application, go to https://nacms.org/lenten-virtual-retreat-2021. Applications are due by February 12th. Space is limited. Cost of the retreat is $120.00.

Gathering in the Spirit

Join us for Gathering in the Spirit - an initiative designed to build community through shared reflection and prayer within the Marianist Family. 

Gathering in the Spirit is designed to build community through shared reflection and prayer within the Marianist Family. By hosting monthly faith-sharing opportunities, the Embers make space for the Marianist Family to regularly pray, build stronger relationships with one another, and grow deeper in the Marianist Charism. 

The next Gathering in the Spirit is going to be on Wednesday, February 3rd at 8pm ET! Please find more information and the Zoom link on this flyer

MSJC Adele Social Justice Project - Podcast Series Invitation

This Lent join the Adele Social Justice Project for a 7-week series of prayer, reflections and conversations about the podcast series, "Another Name for Every Thing." The series will begin the week of Ash Wednesday and will conclude the week before Easter.

Each week participants will listen individually to 2 episodes of "Another Name for Everything" - a podcast based on Richard Rohr's book "The Universal Christ". The group will engage in weekly one-hour conversations and reflections via Zoom about the connections between action & contemplation. Participants should be available to participate in each of the seven gatherings. Please find more information on ASJP's flyer and register here.

To learn more about Another Name for EveryThing visit the Center for Action and Contemplation.

MSJC Racial Justice Prayer Invitation - January 16

The Marianist Social Justice Collaborative would like to invite each of you to a short prayer service that members of MSJC and the Marianist Sisters will be hosting to open our virtual Annual Meeting on Saturday, January 16th. Please join us for this short 15 minute gathering so we, as an entire Marianist Family, can lift up our prayers for racial justice together. Register using this link!
MLC-NA Leadership Council and Area Representatives
Click on the Leadership Council member's title and Area Rep's name to email.
MLC-NA Leadership Council

Margy Lisjak
Abbey Saurine

Paul Combest

LeeAnn Meyer

Rob Brodrick

Caitlin Cipolla-McCulloch

Fr. Ted Cassidy, SM

Marceta Reilly

Luke Horner

Kelly Welling

Sarah Gray
Area Representatives

Southeast (FL, NC)

Northeast (PA, NY, NJ, MD, VA)

To be determined
Central States (CO, IL, KS, NE, MO, WI) 


West Coast (CA, OR, WA)


Canada (French-Speaking)

Virtual Communities
To be determined