Wednesday, April 17, 2024

No to Greed

February 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Jean Coste

Up to now, we have presented Colin’s vision. Now we will move into the realm of implications at two levels: the level of certain spiritual implications and certain other implications in the level of structure.

We are now starting on what has already been called several times in this room, the three great “No’s” of Colin. You remember that we have written sometimes on the board about a utopian thinking, a certain criticism of the present in the name of an idealized past projected into the future. I remind you that he did not criticize the Church, the institution. That was not at all his approach, but he said a certain number of things having to do with church- men. He did not like them. He challenged them. And what were they?

After rereading all the texts about the Marist Origins, three points clearly emerge and these three points have the same basic characteristics. First, they are all rooted in a typically personal experience of Jean-Claude Colin. It’s not at all Champagnat, it’s not Chavoin, it’s not anything broadly Marian. No, it is something which has been a very personal experience of the man, Jean-Claude Colin. Second, they are ideally referred to Mary’s figure: “I challenge that, because it is contrary to the spirit of Mary.” Third, they are present in the first Rule. You know, we don’t have the Rule of Cerdon, we have just a few fragments of it, but these three are to be found in the first elements of the Rule. Finally, after a certain period, they are present in this Rule in a very utopian, and unrealistic way, they are really an expression of a vision which has not yet found its easy, clear and practical expression.

Finally, after a certain period of incertitude during the generalate, at the end of the life of Colin, we see all these points of view re-emerge very strongly as something that was not negotiable, something that he really wanted to stick to up to the end of his life.

What were these three famous “No’s? The first one is “alien to greed,” the topic for this morning. The second one is “alien to pride,” alien to the search for glory, honour, or good position, etc. That is the famous “hidden and unknown” that we will try to tackle this afternoon. And the third one, if you like, is the “no” to the form of power which is ours when we have the decision-making in our hands. That’s the special rule of Colin, even to the Superior, to follow rather the councillors’ opinion rather than his own. That will be the talk of tomorrow morning.

Therefore, let us start now with the first of these three great “No’s” of Colin: “alien to the spirit of greed.” First of all, let us look at it in Colin’s personal experience.

A text from Mayet, published in the second volume of Origines Maristes, OM 2, doc. 508 relates the sickness of Jean-Claude Colin in 1809 when Colin was just eighteen years old. And on his testament:

“He told us that one of the things which did much to make him feel detached from relatives was that when he was eighteen, he fell ill. ‘I was on the point of death,’ he says, ‘when I saw my bedside surrounded. The talk was all about the testament. Each notary was looking out for himself.”

Later on, the following was added to that text:

“The physician had prescribed to the young Colin a potion through which he hoped to save him. Someone, who thought he would inherit something, persuaded him not to drink it, telling him, it is poison. He refused it, therefore, without saying why. When his eldest brother saw this, he started crying. To please him, then, the young Colin drank it. One understands how this memory instilled in him a horror for attachment to earthly goods.”

A very traumatic experience for this young boy. He is about to die, and he sees that everybody in the family just thinks, “How much will I get from his death?” and, “Oh, if he could die sooner,” and, “If he could not recover at all.” He says on another occasion that he was almost dead, he was lying like that, and they thought he was already dead, and he heard what they were saying around him. And, you know, for him that was a traumatic experience.

That’s why, after that, the family for him meant very little. Of course, it was not a question of his father and his mother. Both died when he was four years old, but speaking of the rest, he said in one terrible sentence: “Relatives? I never think about them. I don’t even know if I have any.” That’s certainly very cutting. The relatives thought only of themselves at a certain moment of my life, “I don’t even know if I have any.” All the same, when he was very old, he went at least once to the home of his older brother John, and he was certainly attached to him. But there had certainly been this tremendous experience for him.

A second experience is the one that he had when he was a curate at Cerdon. He was obliged to take part in the meetings of the priests of the deanery, the meetings of the secular priests in the Bugey. The Bugey was the farthest part of the Lyons diocese, and they used to send there, the priests who were not so easy to deal with, it was a kind of Siberia. Therefore the priests in those parts were not probably the best of the diocese. Colin remembered these meetings with the parish priests, as just eating and drinking, which is good, but also criticizing the administration and speaking of money: “How do you make money? How do you get it?” And for him, he thought, “Is this the priesthood, is this what we are really supposed to represent to the people of today? Non, non, non, no. And that is one of the reasons he always gave a no to Marists having parishes. If they had parishes, they would be obliged to take part in these meetings and would hear all these things ah…, Non, no, no. Nothing of that kind, I will not take part in that. We are not supposed to be that type of priest.

Therefore, you see, a certain experience of Colin gave him this repulsion for every kind of greed. And, of course, we will not be surprised to find that in the Rule. Fortunately, we have that in the rule of Cerdon. It is in one of the little fragments of the Rule of Cerdon, the so-called text ‘h’ 5. Listen carefully to it:

“All must take extreme care, lest the spirit of greed should invade the house, or hold sway under whatever pretext. If the Superior or any of the counselors should retain in himself for more than a quarter of an hour this spirit of greed, he shall confess his fault before the whole council, and say how long he persevered in this fault. All means must be taken to expel this greed completely from the house of the Blessed Mary, who abhorred this spirit of greed throughout her life. If any religious should likewise have committed this fault, he shall confess it promptly before the whole council, which shall have been summoned. Having said it, he shall withdraw with the permission of the Superior.”

This is the young Colin writing this rule of his in Cerdon. He has no experience at all of religious life. He is just a young curate, imagining people living together. And he speaks of “the house of the Blessed Virgin”. Here again, there’s not one house of the Society of Mary. It’s the “house of the Blessed Virgin,” as in the “work of Mary.” In this house, we absolutely should not see anything like the spirit of greed.

Therefore, we will try to kill the spirit of greed at the very beginning. If you start even to think that way, if you have even a desire of greed, you must with the help of your brother, kill it immediately. Convoke the council and say how long: during twenty minutes I have thought it, that it would be so good. I confess that I did not rely on the Blessed Virgin, but I was just thinking of how good it would be to have more money and to get more money from what we are doing. Even if a religious does that he should confess this fault promptly before the whole council.

Yet this is absolutely unrealistic. Can you just imagine it? A superior who has the sentiment of greed rings the bell, and all the council is assembled. He confesses and he says how long: twenty-five minutes – and-half I had this spirit of greed. We are in the level of a real utopia. But, ah-ha, we see, really, that Colin believed in this. It’s not just a pious exhortation: don’t have too much of the spirit of greed. No: we are in the house of the Blessed Virgin. We cannot let this spirit enter the house. Therefore, as soon as it comes, we have to destroy it altogether. I don’t destroy it myself only. I need my community. I need my brothers to help me …  because by confessing my faults to them, I am really taking the decisive measure against it.

That was in the Rule presented by Colin to the nuncio in Paris. We do not have the written observations by the nuncio, but we know that he made a few observations precisely against this kind of idealistic type of rule. Colin wrote back to him trying to resolve his difficulty. He said:

“We profited eagerly by the remarks your Excellency was kind enough to make on the Rule which you read and examined, according to the interpretation and explanation given to some articles which presented difficulty. It appears that these difficulties are removed, or at least, much diminished.”

“Thus, the penances prescribed in the Rule will not be binding on those weak or delicate in health who, in fact, will not be allowed to make any without permission from the Superior. Confessing his faults of pride or of greed is only a counsel, and is left to the fervor of each religious to acquire humility”.

“We are bound to confess to your Excellency that these interpretations are no more our own than the Rule itself.”

One of the points with which the nuncio had had difficulties was the obligation to confess the fault of pride. Colin says after the explanation given, the difficulties were diminished, that is, confession is only of counsel. But he adds:

“These interpretations are no more ours than the Rule itself. The Rule itself, I got really from an inspiration. I know that the Blessed Mother wanted that, and I know also that the Blessed Mother allowed me to make this interpretation.”

As a matter of fact, in the margin of the Rule, he wrote the amendment:

“This twofold confession, to be made in a general way and with the Superior’s permission, is not commanded by the Rule, but is strongly recommended, because of the great fruits to be derived therefrom: ‘Humiliation is the way to humility.’”

He insists on it, but it will not be strictly a rule, it is just a very strong recommendation.

Now we move to a more elaborate redaction of the Rule. At least we have more in the Summarium of 1833. This famous text of the first Rule was divided into two articles, numbers “‘s’ 21” and “‘s’ 70.” There is also “‘s’ 32”, but “‘s’ 32” deals with something else. And I read “‘s’ 21”:

“Let them love and cultivate poverty, so that, unburdened by temporal things, they may cling to God, alone. Let them beware, lest the spirit of covetousness so hateful to God should creep in among them under whatever pretext. All means are to be taken to drive completely that pest, (namely covetousness or greed) from the houses of Blessed Mary, who always, throughout her whole life, recoiled from this harmful covetousness.”

You have something essential here in this. Let us just see that there is one little difference – the houses of Blessed Mary. Colin is now aware that the Society will not consist in just one house, but in several houses. If so, you have the same idea: Mary was against greed all her life, and so they should avoid that by all means. He does not say more. It’s no longer the question of confession, etc.

“The spirit of the Society is foreign to covetousness and to self-interest. Let him foster this spirit in himself, and breathe it in others. Nor must he ever, under whatever pretext, let his conduct be dictated or influenced by covetousness. He must be extremely vigilant in this matter.”

It is the first time that we see from the pen of Father Colin the famous expression: “the spirit of the Society.”  Here he does not say, “spirit of the Society,” speaking of humility, speaking of any other virtues, but of the fact of being alien to greed and to self-interest. We no longer have any detailed prescription, just a strong exhortation to be vigilant, and vigilant, of course, from the beginning.

Here is a case where we can follow a text in the Rule in order to see precisely how the first ideas were transformed bit by bit. Now we take number 24 (224) of the Constitutions of 1842:

“The spirit which is truly proper to the Society consists in this, that they should be foreign to all coveting of earthly things, and, first of all, to the worldly spirit. They should behave with such poverty, humility, modesty, simplicity of heart, with such unconcern for vanity and worldly ambition, that, while they are to attend to all ministries whereby the salvation of souls may be helped, still, they should appear unknown, and as it were, hidden in the world. Let the General diligently foster this spirit in himself and breed and preserve it in others. Indeed, he must do nothing which would harm the Society out of his love of poverty. Still, his faith in God and in the protection of Blessed Mary must be such that never, under whatever pretext, not even that of the glory of God, must he let his conduct be dictated or influenced by covetousness.”

“Let him also be most diligent in seeing that the worldly spirit of newcomers does not tend the small flock of Blessed Mary, our Mother, namely, this small society, and render it totally deprived of the fruit of salvation. Let the Superior be most diligent and most strict in this matter.”

Here, you see a new development in the first text. It’s still a question of the spirit of the Society. Here again, the spirit of the Society first of all is to be alien to every form of greed, and to the worldly spirit. But it is already more developed and integrates also “hidden and unknown” which merges here in a single phrase with the two big “No’s” of Colin. Always, always this insistence on the Superior. We have somebody who is responsible for that: that’s the superior. He has to be more vigilant, should be more vigilant than anybody else on this point. Of course, here you no longer have any precise prescription of confession, etc., just this strong invitation to vigilance.

Just to show you in what spiritual context Fr. Colin wrote these things, I would like to read to you an extract of Mayet’s. In this number from the Constitutions we have a direct witness that Father Colin did write it:

“It was in 1842 that he spoke these words to Fr. Eymard when he was working on the Rule at Belley. Fr. Eymard, on entering his room, found him with his countenance aglow. ‘I have just written a very important chapter,’ Fr. Colin told him, and read it to him. He said, ‘It is not the unchaste or misers or drunkards that the society will have to fear. Such people will not come to us. But it must be on its guard against a worldly spirit. That is how the devil will try to ensnare it.’ Then he said, ‘It is the Blessed Virgin who wishes me to write that.’ He repeated those words to him a number of times, and at the same time expressly forbade him to speak of it. He added that if the “spirit of the world, was to enter the society, it would be like a burning wind that dries up the countryside.”

It is the Blessed Virgin who wishes me to write that. Colin is conscious that on certain very important points, he is expressing what is the wish of Mary for the little Society of Mary.

And now we come to the application of this during Colin’s generalate. Three big applications.

The first one is what was for Colin, one of the non-negotiable points of the Rule, an unalterable point: “not to curry favor with people in high places.” We will always have around us people who will be ready to give us their support, to give us money, but it may be that by giving us this money, they are always expecting from us a number of things. We are not to rely on them, we are not to curry favor with them, but are to expect the help of the Blessed Virgin who will come perhaps under the form of other completely unexpected and anonymous donations. We ourselves should not try to curry favor with those people in high places.

This is present in the Rule. It’s one of the points of the 1842 Constitutions. It is this, the first text, “‘a’ 127”:

“For the same reason, and to avoid many other difficulties arising therefrom, let them not try to curry favor with local pastors or men in high places. Nor offer them the small gifts which are usually offered with the hope of obtaining something from them. Even if it were to be of the greatest usefulness to the house. Rather, let them place their whole trust in God alone, who, in his great mercy, and at the intercession of Blessed Mary, will himself provide for their need. Nor should they make it a habit, to visit those magnates or important people unless they are led by zeal for the promotion of God’s glory and for pious works, or unless it seems that for some respectable and special reason, such an obligation cannot be side-stepped.”

A strong warning against currying favor with people in high places. Colin also referred to this as an unalterable point in other texts. One is A Founder Speaks, Document 6, 54 paragraph 2:

“The second thing is, ‘Let them hold all covetousness in horror. Yes, indeed, may we abhor this spirit. I have seen in the Rules of certain congregations that they should strive to win over people in all high places, to curry favor with them.” (COSTE: “That was a reference to the Jesuit constitutions, but not a very fair one. I think I have put a note here to explain what exactly St. Ignatius was saying.)

“Personally, I have taken the opposite course, and I say that confidence placed in a creature, whomever it may be, is always to the detriment of the creator. It is so much detraction from the good Lord.”

“Speaking for myself, when I have some plan in mind, and the thought comes to me, such and such a person could be of use to you, I dismiss it immediately, and I say in defiance of myself, ‘Yes, and that the Blessed Virgin will leave you to fend for yourself, when she sees that you look elsewhere for your resources.

“Therefore, Messieurs, we shall limit ourselves to visits that are in the line of duty, that are necessary but we shall never go asking or soliciting anything for ourselves. Let us guard well against that. Let us not go rubbing shoulders with men of standing.”

And, also FS. 98 paragraph 5:

“Secondly, we must not try to flatter or win over anyone in the hope of gain for ourselves, or the Society. This is the article I have observed best of all,” he said. The Blessed Virgin should be enough for us.”

That’s the first point, “not to curry favor with people in high places.” The second one is this idea of Colin’s that if the Society ever had any superfluous funds, they should be either invested into the bishop’s fund, or at least be administered and distributed through the bishops. We see this even from the period of the origins in the letter of Father Colin to the Archbishop Administrator of Lyons, (OM 1, doc. 264). In paragraph 4, if I remember well, Colin is explaining to this bishop his conception of the relation between the Society and the bishops. It is an excellent text. And he says that:

“The Society of Mary will be both universal and diocesan.”

Universal in the sense that it would be really a congregation of pontifical right – the superior will be somehow in command everywhere. At the same time, “it will also be diocesan,” because the religious of individual houses, while not going against the will of the superior general, will be at the disposal of the bishop of the place for missions, retreats, etc. and even for temporarily replacing pastors who may be sick or absent. Each diocese could have a novitiate if necessary because the surplus revenue, especially of diocesan institutions could, with the agreement of the superior general, be turned over to the diocesan fund, etc., etc.

He is speaking not only to Marists but he is even committing himself to the bishop, although he is a bit prudent. For instance, the Marists will be running the minor seminary of the diocese, as was the case in Belley. Of course, normally they get stipends for that. But if they have any superfluous from that, they will give it to the bishop.

Colin explains it a bit more in a talk with Bishop de Charbonel, a future bishop of Toronto in Canada:

“On Wednesday, December 29, 1847, Rev. Father Colin said to the Abbe de Charbonel: ‘Now-a-days people will not recognize either hierarchy or authority. That is why the societies now being established must make it clear that they are most submissive to the bishops. I may even add that none of the societies that preceded us, not even those which exist today, (neither the Oblates of Mary and the Religious of the Holy Heart of Mary) are with regard to this point, where the Society of Mary must be. Our union must be such that the bishops can look upon the Society ut suam (like their own). These are the very terms of the Rule, such that when our houses are sufficiently well-established, which I do not think will be in my lifetime, the surplus funds of each house must go into the bishop’s coffer. In a minor seminary we ran (Belley) they used to give us only 300 francs. The vicar general wanted to increase it. ‘No,’ I told him, the diocese is too poor.”

What is Colin doing here? Colin is renouncing the power that the free disposition of money gives to religious. If a religious order is very rich, and even if it gives all its superfluous to good works, to Vietnamese or to Cambodians or any good work like that, the fact that it has given so many thousand dollars to this group is a sign of power. And the idea of Colin is to destroy that, to destroy the possible corruption that power will create in us. This money will be used for good works, but by the bishop. It will be the bishops who decide; either the money will go into the bishops fund, or the bishop will decide whether to give it to the Cambodians or to the Vietnamese or to anybody else. It will be his charity, not our charity. And I think that goes very far, that’s full of meaning.

A third point of application during the generalate of Colin is his opposition against exercising ministry for money’s sake. Not that Colin was so ingenuous to think that the Marists could live without earning any money. That’s not the question. Take Colin’s speech from Mayet:

“Mr. Ozanam, superior of the house in Paris, (the brother of the famous Frederic Ozanam, who founded the Conferences of St Vincent de Paul but who did not remain in the Society), overworked himself and overworked his confreres in the ministry in order to earn money. One who works for God and for souls lives with what one receives at the occasion of one’s work. So to exercise ministry in order to live, I would rather see a house close down. I would rather give up everything, even the Society.’ When I reminded him of this, he replied, ‘Oh, it is quite clear.’”

Mayet, who had heard a number of things like this from Colin a few years after this wrote the following note in the margin of his Memoires:

“When, in the Society people will no longer do works of zeal without money, when superiors will boast of their skill in finding and choosing works which produce money, when there will be much talk about a ministry which produces much money and little glory of God, when there will be incessant talk about stipends for Masses or sermons, about the money brought in by preaching Advents, Lents, or missions etc., then, there will no longer be a Society of Mary, an apostolic Society. It will be a Society of trade, an association of merchants, honest, conscientious, Christian, even if you like, living a pleasant, respectable, and bourgeois life. Our good Mother forbid. That will never happen. But it is important to resist openly those who have that mindset, no matter who they are, by all legitimate means.”

You know, Mayet has really understood the few points that were absolutely essential for Colin. This was one of them. I will not read any other texts like that. I think these are very sufficient.

At the end of the life of Father Colin, we see that this point comes into the “De Societatis Spiritu,” number 50 of our Constitutions:

“Therefore, closely following the footsteps of their mother, they will be alien to the spirit of the world, wholly released from greed, for things of earth, and from all selfish desires.”

Therefore, it’s one of the elements which come into the Constitutions in the “Spirit of the Society,” “wholly released from greed.”

We also have from the end of the life of Father Colin a few remarks in line with those already quoted:

“They look for money. Oh! That kills me. In the missions I have earned … Oh! That kills me!”

Another application is what he wrote for the Third Order. This text is Number 24 of the Constitutions for the Third Order. Colin makes this special point:

“But the greatest care must be taken to avoid that any contribution ever be required from members, or that any even seem to be requested in any way, like, for example, a sum of money to be paid at a certain time, a gift to be made, an object of piety bought, etc. When the members meet, however, a collection may be taken to meet necessary expenses. Neither the directors nor anyone else, however, may ask anything for ministerial functions.”

With the Tertiaries, we will not draw people to us so as to get money from them. Therefore, just a small collection. We have to meet expenses, the lights for the room and anything like that, etc. But no sum of money to be paid, no exercise or kind of trade, or objects for piety etc. Father Colin made it very clear that this association of lay people with us isn’t an opportunity to get more money. The centrifugal idea is to have the opportunity to bring to them this spirit of Mary and not to draw their money towards us.

That’s more or less, if you like, what I had to say about this theme in Father Colin’s mind.

Now, I would like to start a few reflections by giving you a kind of homework. I think that after this, none of you can say: Oh, that was merely a personal picture of Jean-Claude Colin. Yes, we have seen it was rooted in his own experience. But, after all these texts, you see that it was, for him, an element really constitutive of the spirit of the Society of Mary.

The first reflection I think, is one that points a line between secular priests and religious. Father Colin said in A Founder Speaks, document 160, paragraph 3:

“Our life must resemble that of Father Claver (a very poor missionary, whose life was read during the retreat.) Let us renounce everything, leave everything in order to find all things. If we remain attached to something, we shall be mere shadows of religious, just ordinary priests.”

What did Colin mean by that? Certainly Colin did not want the Marists to take their distance from the simple, ordinary secular priests. No. He certainly did not want the Marists to feel different from them, superior to them, to look for external differentiation, etc. On the contrary, Father Colin is probably one of the few founders of the first half of the last century who did not give any special dress to the Marists, but just put in the Rule that they should dress as the pious priests of the place. He is the only one who has said that the Society of Mary should be like a bishop’s society, should be, in a certain sense, a diocesan one. Father Colin wanted the Marists to be really at the service of the local church, no question of looking for any special difference from the ordinary priest. And, in a certain sense, we may say with Father Buckley, who was I think very right, that we must give more importance to that which we have in common with the diocesans, than to differences for the sake of differences.

All the same, there are exigencies deriving from our Marian mission, from her merciful design of salvation of all. We must act in such a way, nemini occasionem vituperi dantes, not to give to anybody occasion for grievance. If we really want to bring as far as possible this mercy of God and Mary to everybody, we should avoid whatever creates grievance against us. We all know that the greatest grievance, especially for young people, is the image of the priest attached to money, the greedy priest. People will forgive more easily failures in the field of chastity than the spirit of greed in the clergy.

The Marian vocation does not add anything that would not already belong to the priestly vocation. But it contrives us not to forget this element that in the condition of the isolated diocesan priest is perhaps harder to maintain. It’s when somebody has really to take care of his patrimony and so many other things. It’s normal that he is a bit more preoccupied with the money he will get, etc., etc. But, I think that we have no excuse, we religious, to let such an obstacle exist among ourselves, freed as we are by the vow of poverty and reminded of our responsibility of saving all of them.

I think that’s a point which should be of special concern for religious, especially religious gathered to give an image of the priest as an instrument of the divine mercy intended to save everybody without creating any grievance against him.

The second thing is that this strong spiritual Rule is not inspired only by consideration of apostolic efficiency. It is vital also for the authenticity of our witness of faith, of our lives as Christians, as sons of God. There is a good text of Colin’s on this:

“Perhaps the Society will be rich one day. It will be a great misfortune, gentlemen. Let us pray always that disinterestedness will persist in the Society. Let us request that favor from God. If ever the spirit of poverty is lost, people will soon lose the spirit of God. Alas, they will lose it as they lose the spirit of poverty.”

Both things go together: poverty of heart or the absence of greed is this visible consequence of faith. The attitude of one who expects everything from another, the sign of the one who relies only on God. That’s all this famous spirituality of the “poor of Yahweh” that has been so well illustrated by Gelin and by other authors. This spirituality, which is to be found in the Magnificat is that of our Blessed Mother Mary.

It’s certainly in the infancy narrative of Luke. We see Mary as the representative of the spirituality of the “poor of Yahweh,” those who know that they rely on, are the clients, the customers of God, as Gelin says. They expect something from him. And, therefore, the spirit of greed and the spirit of God are directly opposed, one with another.

A third thing I think comes out from all that we have said. It is the role of the community in all that. Colin wanted this refusal of greed incarnated in the life of the community. We have seen that in the first Rule. But even during the generalate, we find the same idea in the Founder Speaks, document 108, paragraph 2:

“About the same time (he is speaking of the culp), he told us that it must only be made about exterior faults, but that the rule would even permit the accusation of interior faults with the superior’s permission, in two cases: when one has given way to feelings of greed, or to feelings of pride. In the latter case, he said, one can only gain by it, for pride is mastered by such blows. In the former case, an excellent means to arrest this inclination, this passion which leads us to  self-seeking and calculating is to expose it in public, and so, humiliate oneself.”

Therefore, Colin, even during his generalate, maintained that we are to be alien to the spirit of greed, we have to be helped by our community, by our confreres. I think that there is no full Marist life without help from a community, and there is no help without questioning. If we are not humble enough to accept that our brothers may question us, even of something which is not completely external, but perhaps even on certain of our tendencies. Colin says no on every issue of course. But, on certain issues, like greed and pride, why not let our brothers question us, and the community help us really to eradicate from our hearts this spirit of greed and pride which is so alien to the spirit of Mary.

We’ve seen something that was for Colin essential and not negotiable. We Marists of today, are we still maintaining that when we are writing texts for ourselves?

Source: Jean Coste, Framingham Retreat, July, 1980. Conference 5.

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