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A True Mother, a True Sister

Mar 09

What could be the best compliment paid to a woman religious? Prayerful? Obedient? Hard-working?
These qualities are certainly important. However, one of the best tributes I’ve ever heard about a Sister was: “She was a true mother and sister.”
I came to know Sr Sarita (name changed) about twenty years ago. She was an aspirant and now and then enjoyed wearing a half-saree and keeping two plaits with colourful ribbons. There seemed to be nothing ‘remarkable’ about her besides her joyful, affectionate and quiet way.
Over the years I saw her becoming a young woman whose presence brought unity and eased communication wherever she worked.
Whenever there was a new house to open, there she was, ever available. To be on the move, open a new house, learn new languages or serve in different ministries never seemed too difficult or demanding for her. In her unassuming way, she opened five houses in twenty years. She would say: “What’s there, Sister? It’s our family, it’s our mission.”

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Sr Marie Gabrielle Riopel SCSM

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Psychology & Life

BURNOUT – 2

Mar 02
Causes and Remedies

The article on Burnout in the last issue of MAGNET (February 2019) described what Burnout is, the major themes in, manifestations of, and some of the factors that lead to Burnout. In this article, I shall describe its causes a little more in detail, and suggest preventive and remedial measures.

THE ROAD TO BURNOUT

It is to be noted here that Burnout is a phenomenon that is associated more with one’s work situation rather than personal issues. More especially, it is related to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job which leads to a feeling of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment, resulting in detachment from the work and the work environment.

The interpersonal stress at the workplace is compounded by unrealistically high job expectations. When one notices that effectiveness at work is diminishing, the desire for accomplishment keeps one trying harder and harder with single-minded intensity until one gets exhausted with the effort—and crashes.

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Fr Jose Parappully SDB

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Candles In The Dark

147 Homes of Love!

Mar 04

Here is the challenging story of a man who left his privileged background and a career, opened his home to mentally challenged people, and set up 147 healing homes of love in thirty-seven countries, including four in India.

A Jesuit friend calls him ‘a living saint.’ The 90-year old Canadian Catholic, who has served in the Navy, learnt and taught philosophy, is today known as the founder of L’Arche Homes across the world that provide loving care and a new life for the mentally challenged.

Jean Vanier is the son of Major-General Georges Vanier, who was the Governor General of Canada from 1959 to 1967. His mother is Pauline Vanier. He was born in Geneva while his father was the Canadian ambassador in Switzerland. He studied in Canada, England and France. At the age of thirteen, he joined the Royal Navy in England. Forced to flee along with his family to Paris to escape the Nazis, he spent the War years at an English naval academy, as he looked forward to a career as a naval officer.

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Fr M A Joe Antony SJ

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Special Days

Special Days

Mar 10

20 March 2019: International Day of Happiness
A meaningful special day founded by a homeless orphan who became a philanthropist.

It was founded in 2011 by Jayme Illien, philanthropist, activist, statesman, and prominent United Nations special advisor.

Thirty-two years before founding the International Day of Happiness, Jayme had been an orphan rescued from the streets of Calcutta, by Mother Teresa’s Sisters. He was later adopted by a forty-five-year-old single white American woman named Anna Belle Illien, who then founded Illien Adoptions International, Inc, a non-profit child social welfare and international adoption agency.

Illien chose March 20 for its significance as the March equinox, a universal phenomenon felt simultaneously by all of humankind, and which occurs the moment when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun’s disk.

Happiness for the entire human family is one of the main goals of the United Nations; a fundamental human goal and a human right.

This year’s theme is “Share Happiness.”  It focuses on the importance of human connection in the context of the epidemic of loneliness and isolation in modern societies.

This holiday was initiated by our small neighbouring country of Bhutan. According to statistics, its citizens are the happiest people on the planet.

What is happiness? For one, it may be family, for another money, or travel etc.  But even when we have everything we dreamed about, we may still not feel happy.

Do you really want to feel happy?

How to Build a Happy Life

Take responsibility for your happiness. Others can help or hurt you, but no one can make you happy. That task is one’s own.

It is like building a home. The foundations for this “home” (happiness) are seven: love, faith, purpose, simplicity of life, forgiveness, gratitude and the ability to enjoy the ordinary pleasure of life.

Depending on your attitudes, you can learn to enjoy the work you do, the people you are with, your age, your state of health, just everything in life. Develop a positive attitude to life.

Happiness is an inside job. It comes from within. And you have a right to be happy.

21 March: Down Syndrome Day
These persons need our special care, and they teach us precious lessons.

Down Syndrome (also called Trisomy 21), is a common genetic birth disorder where extra genetic material causes delays in a child’s mental and physical development. While each cell in the human body contains twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, individuals with Down Syndrome have an extra 21st chromosome.  This disorder is present in all regions of the globe, across racial, gender and socio-economic lines. It affects about one in eight hundred births worldwide.

The syndrome is associated with mild to moderate learning disabilities, growth milestone delays, certain facial features and low muscle tone in early infancy.  People with Down Syndrome are more prone to various infections due to low resistance.

There are no set treatments for Down Syndrome, but adequate access to health care, early intervention programmes and inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, are vital to the growth and development of the individual.

A wide variety of educational support programs and counselling sessions can help the child and the families concerned to improve their motor movements and social, language and cognitive skills. There are also schools that help these children to socialize and develop important life skills.

This Day is observed in an appropriate manner in more than sixty countries worldwide, in order to raise public awareness and create a single global voice for advocating the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down Syndrome. Funds are raised by several charitable Associations for supporting research and information on medical and scientific advances in this field.

This year, Down Syndrome International focuses on: Leave no one behind

 All people with Down Syndrome must have opportunities to live fulfilling lives and be included on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society. The activities and events on this Day showcase their abilities and accomplishments.

Values, such as perseverance, empathy, desire to excel, enthusiasm for the little things, generosity, naturalness, the importance of living in the present … are some of the things people with Down Syndrome teach us, and this enriches all of us.


Sr Esme Da Cunha FDCC

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Movie Review

Movie Review

Mar 14

Wit
Director: Mike Nicholls.  Actors: Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald. John Woodward Christopher Lloyd. 2001. Running time: 105 minutes.

Brilliant middle-aged professor Vivian Bearing, a teacher of formidable reputation, specialist in the poetry of the 17th century religious poet John Donne, is told that she has ovarian cancer at tertiary stage. Her world falls apart.  She has to confront her loneliness and despair alone. Her independence is gone.  She turns into an experimental object in the hands of the doctors who deliver aggressive chemotherapy for her.  She had been a demanding teacher, a challenge to her students. Her intellectual prowess and knowledge do not help her face the reality. She is forced to reflect on herself and discover that she had missed her humanity all along and is now much like her students whom she had looked down upon. The young intern who attends to her treats her only as a case for research.  Not only is she the victim of her disease, but also the demeaning indignities meted out casually by the medical system. Her only solace is provided by two people—her attendant nurse Susan, who empathizes with her and makes her feel loved, and her former professor. Susan’s care and concern provides consolation to Vivian and restores her sense of human dignity. The nurse also speaks the truth of the situation—that she is dying. It only makes Vivian Bearing feel relieved! In her dying moments she is visited by her aged mentor, former professor who reads out a bedtime story to the dying professor like a mother reading to her child in bed. Vivian cries overwhelmed by the love that she had perhaps never experienced before.  Wit and intellect aren’t the things that you need when you are dying. The film turns out to be a powerful reflection on the questions of human mortality, dignity, relationships and care-giving in times of severe personal crises—lessons for all those who wish to live meaningful lives. The movie helps us understand the priority in health care: It is not an industry or about medical experiments; it is about human beings who need consolation and spiritual support in the face of suffering, a lesson for all care-givers.

The Killing Fields
Director: Roland Joffé. Cast: Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands, Craig T. Nelson, Spalding Gray, Graham Kennedy, Katherine Krapum Chey, Oliver Pierpaoli. 1984. Running time: 143 minutes.

This multiple awards winner is about the man-made tragedy of the killing fields of Cambodia under the heartless socialist regime of Pol Pot around 1980 A film adaptation of The Death and Life of Dith Pran by The New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg, it traces the history of Schanberg’s experience of the Pol Pot days and of his friendship with one of its victims, Ditch Pram and his family.  As a correspondent, Schanberg went to cover the events in Cambodia when the Vietnam War was raging. Schanberg is helped by his Cambodian journalist,  Dith Pran. On the very day of his arrival in Phnom Penh, Schanberg learns of the indiscriminate bombing of Cambodian civilians by Americans. The US Army and the media try to gloss over this. Soon the country passes into the hands of the Khmer Rouge rebels, welcomed enthusiastically by the people. The ugly truth becomes evident when the Khmer start slave labor camps and death squads intended to “re-educate” the people and turn the country into a crude agrarian socialist state. Educated people are hunted out. Foreigners are evicted.  Shchanberg and his colleagues narrowly escape execution thanks to Pran’s help. Schanberg helps Pran’s family escape. But Pran does not manage to escape. Schanberg is unable to contact Pran for many years. His relentless campaign to trace Pran fails. Schanberg gets a Pulitzer Prize for his book.

Captured and tortured for being friendly to the Americans, Pran survives the  atrocities with his courage and shrewdness. He escapes and makes a dangerous journey through the jungles barely dodging his would-be executioners. On the way he is witness to the bone heaps of massacred Cambodians in the Valley of Death, the muddy “killing fields.” The Red cross camp on the Thailand border facilitates his escape. He reunites with his family and Schanberg in America. When Schanberg  apologizes to him he graciously replies “There’s nothing to forgive, Sydney, nothing.” The Cambodian revolution continued for nearly a decade more, claiming the lives of about three million people in the notorious killing fields.


Dr Gigy Joseph

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Lights From The Past

Symeon the New Theologian (949 CE -1022 CE)

MAR 06

How to integrate theology and spirituality

“The Holy Spirit regenerates you, it changes you from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal to immortal, from sons of men into Sons of God and gods by adoption and grace.” (Discourse XXXIII)

What is Theology?  Is it an abstract, philosophical speculation or a mystical and intense personal experience?  The tension between these two tendencies would characterize the life and times of Symeon the New Theologian, a monk from Asia Minor.  The period he lived saw, on the one hand, the emergence of ‘scholastic’ theology—a theology strongly influenced by philosophical categories and encouraged by Stephen of Nicomedia—as against an integrated experience of theology and actual spiritual life as seen in the mystical theology promoted by Symeon the New Theologian.

Symeon was born in Galatia (Asia Minor) and belonged to the Byzantine nobility.  He studied basic Greek in school until he was eleven years old and pursued higher studies in the court.  At the age of fourteen, he met his spiritual father Symeon of Studite, a very holy monk.  Though the young Symeon wanted to join the monastery without any delay, the senior Symeon made him wait until he reached the age of twenty-seven years.  During this period, he served the emperor as a diplomat and a senator.  Despite a hectic life, his interior life was one of vigils, prayers and austerities.  His first years as a zealous monk did not go well with other monks, who had fallen into decadence and in a short time he was forced to move to the monastery of Saint Mamas.  Here he received the tonsure, was ordained a priest and elected abbot over the monks.  He would spend twenty-five years at this monastery and make it truly an outstanding place.  However, he faced opposition from Archbishop Stephen who ensured that Symeon was sent into exile in 1009.  There he lived a life of simplicity and solitude in a small chapel dedicated to Saint Marina.  Patriarch Sergios revoked the exile and offered him the ecclesiastical office of archbishop.  He refused this invitation and continued to write and be a spiritual guide to others until his death in 1022.  His important works include the Discourses, Theological Treatise, Hymns of Divine Love and various Letters.

Symeon was convinced of the primacy of personal experience and stressed that grace or the indwelling of the Trinity could be experienced by all persons.  In keeping with tradition, he also believed that non-ordained persons could forgive sins.  The ecclesiastical authorities did not fully approve of these views.  But, going beyond the conflicts, we find two important spiritual themes recurring in his writings.  The first relates to the need of asceticism and penance in spiritual life.  This was uncomfortable for monks who had entered a life of comfort and decadence.  He emphasized repentance, detachment, sorrow, works of mercy, charity, the practice of the commandments and so on.  However, what sets him apart from others is the pre-eminent position given to the Holy Spirit in the life of a person.  All Christians need to go through a second Baptism, which Symeon calls a baptism of the Holy Spirit.  One who has experienced repentance and undergone a conversion will have a growing conscious awareness of Christ as one’s Lord and Saviour.  In Discourse XXXIV he explains that the indwelling of the Trinity is possible and should be sought after by every Christian as the true goal of life.  One is invited to go beyond an intellectual knowledge of the Holy Spirit to actually be ‘consciously aware’ of this presence through continual conversion.  Unfortunately, the efforts of Symeon would not stop the separation between theology (understood strictly as a science) and spirituality.  Centuries would go by and only in the 20th century would there be any serious attempt at re-integrating theology and spirituality.


Fr Francis Pudhicherry SJ

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CRI

Think Tank Meeting

MAR 01

Stimulating, Challenging, Enlightening

The “Think Tank” meeting organized by National CRI in CRI House, New Delhi, on January 28 and 29, 2019, proved to be stimulating, enlightening and challenging.

The members included: Brother T. Amalan FSC (National President, CRI), Sr Rose Celine Fernandes BS (President, Women’s Section), Fr George Panthanmackal MSFS (President, Priests’ Section), Fr Joe Mannath SDB (National Secretary) and the following experienced and competent persons who were called in for their experience, wisdom and familiarity with the issues religious face: Brother Philip Pinto CFC (Former Superior General and involved with several religious orders), Fr Varkey Perekatt SJ (former Provincial of South Asia, and provincial for two terms, who has a 20-year association with CRI), Sr Sujita Mary SND (former General for two terms, who had lived and worked among the poorest people of Bihar and then with the Bihar Government), Brother Paul Raj SG (former Director, CRI Brothers’ Institute, Bangalore, and member of the Montfort General Council), Sr Teresa Attupuram SCJM (Provincial and President, North Region of CRI), Fr Denzil Fernandes SJ (Director, ISI, Delhi, and Head of the Jesuit Think Tank), Sr Anastasia Gill PBVM (Practising lawyer and member of the Delhi Minorities Commission), Bro Laurence Abraham SCSM (Former Provincial and representative of National CRI at NEG-FIRE), Fr Paul Moonjely (Director, Caritas India), Advocate Tehmina Arora (President, Alliance for Defending Freedom)

To set the right tone for our mutual listening and learning, we started with Psalm 139, which assures us that we are never alone; we are always held in the love of a God who knows what we need, and never forgets us for a single instant. Our confidence and serenity in facing reality comes from this awareness.

A Passion, a Vision, a Clear Understanding of Reality

Bro Philip Pinto spoke with deep conviction of the need of a deep spirituality, beyond the mere recitation of prayers, a need to discover the real Jesus and to share God’s concern for His world. “Don’t ask what the world needs,” he challenged us. “Ask what makes you come alive, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” The church or religious life should not be self-referential (focussed on ourselves). One essential aspect of being true to our call is not to live any lie, to reject untruth in all areas of life. Many of the structural aspects of what we are used to as religious life are dying, and we need to face it. Several new initiatives pushing humankind forward are coming from secular forces, not from religious circles.

Fr Denzil Fernandes SJ addressed us on the “Changing Indian Situation and Our Response to It.” We need to understand what is happening today, and why. Events that seem unconnected are not what they appear to be. We need to understand the polarizations taking place, the difference between Hinduism and Hindutva, the influence of neo-liberal economic policies, the majority-minority issues, the rise in intolerance and curtailing of free expression. We need to network better, have a pluralistic approach, be ecologically sensitive. Religious become irrelevant if our main concern is maintenance, or if we waste too much energy on celebrations. We need to understand the new situation and respond creatively.

Sr Anastasia Gill PBVM reminded us to make use of Government policies, scholarships, etc., and to do our duties as citizens. Many Christian children drop out of school, often unaware of scholarships. The Church needs to respect sisters more and listen to them.

Advocate Tehmina Arora, President of ADF, spoke of the Theory of Significance that may help us understand some of the acts of violence we see today: Poor or unemployed young men can be influenced to commit acts of aggression if it makes them feel significant (important) as part of something greater. She also spoke of the need to document what is happening, and to stand by the victims, whoever they may be, and to take action as needed.

Fr Paul Moonjely, Director of Caritas, spoke of its close association with forty religious orders, and some ways in which CRI and Caritas can collaborate better, especially in times of natural disasters or other calamities.

Sr Sujita SND gave a moving account of her life among the Mussahars of Bihar, and how she found Jesus by living among the poorest. She saw the openness of government officials to her presence in government work, and how her opinion was respected. For us, the mystical and prophetic elements must go together—God-experience and concern for the least.

Bro Paul Raj SG presented ten issues facing religious in India and suggested some approaches in dealing with them. The issues he addressed included: rejection of patriarchy and other forms of oppression; the need to be more involved in the digital world; the issue of multiculturalism; the unnecessary founding of new religious congregations; the need to study religious life in India scientifically.

Sr Teresa Attupuram SCJM, President, North Region CRI, presented the status of the “Peace and Reconciliation Committee” on which the CRI and the Bishops of the region have been discussing for three years. The aim is to settle disputes and other issues amicably. This can be done by setting up a committee of persons acceptable to both the dioceses and the CRI. Such an agreement has already been accepted in Tamilnadu. The North Region hopes to get this finalized soon.

Our hope is to have such agreements in all regions, and at the national level.

Lay Collaboration, Tasks Before Us, Need to Look Ahead

Fr Joe Mannath SDB, National Secretary, presented the results of a short questionnaire which he had prepared and circulated to the members before the meeting. The questions were on: The strengths and weaknesses of religious life today, the helpful and tough aspects of our setting, our main role and tasks as religious, and priorities for the near future, especially for those in leadership.

Many other valid points came up during our exchange—too many for this short report.

One issue religious in India need to face and study seriously (and implement) is collaboration with the laity. India has many competent and well qualified lay women and women. We need to involve them more in our ministries.

FOLLOW UP

As a follow up to this “Think Tank” meeting, we need to do the following things. The decisions have to be taken by the CRI National Executive. Among the ideas that came up for follow up are these:

  • Set up “Peace and Reconciliation Committees” in every region.
  • Set up “Disaster Management Committees” together with Caritas.
  • Study and research on Religious Life in India.
  • Make sure all have a voter ID, and do our duty to vote.
  • Make inspiring videos on Indian religious.
  • Set up a digitalized archive of source material at National CRI.
  • Look ahead to the new forms the religious

As I listened to the Think Tank members and felt energized by the sharing, I was reminded of what a senior and very competent Spanish Salesian asked me after spending three months in India and meeting many Salesians: “Spain was like this fifty years ago—with many young religious and young seminarians. My own province used to have thirty or more ordinations a year. This year we may have one. Most of the Catholic schools are led by lay persons. Are you all living in the past, or looking ahead to the future?”

A good question for us, Indian religious, to reflect and act on.


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Book Review

Book Review

Mar 13

Man’s Search for Meaning
Dr Viktor E Frankl (1946)

This small book, which has reached, touched and inspired millions of readers, was written in about a week by a man who experienced the indescribable horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, in which most of the prisoners died of starvation and ill-treatment. The first part of the book narrates what happened in the camp. It shows human beings’ inhumanity at its worst—and the human capacity to survive evil. The second part of the book presents what Frankl called “Logotherapy,” a form of treatment which has more to do with finding meaning in life than with analyzing one’s past.

Frankl noticed three stages in the prisoners’ response to the Nazi imprisonment: first, shock during the initial phase, then apathy after becoming accustomed to camp existence, in which survival of oneself and one’s friends is the only concern, and after liberation, reactions of depersonalization, moral deformity, bitterness, and disillusionment. Frankl found that it was not the physically stronger people who survived, but those who gave themselves a reason to live. In his own case, in his hardest moments of cold, hunger and beatings, he would think of his wife, whom he loved dearly. Love, he found, could transform us even in the midst of the worst sufferings. He found this too: Humans can be stripped of everything except “the last of the human freedoms— to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” “Spiritual freedom and independence of mind is possible even in the direst of circumstances.”

 “Love” he says “is the ultimate and highest goal to which a man can aspire. When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Love enables one to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized.

In the Fullness of Time: Christ Centered Wisdom for the Third Millennium
Fulton J Sheen

This is a compilation of the retreats and radio talks of Venerable Fulton J Sheen, one of the most widely acclaimed popular preachers of the last century. “They are for now and the coming age,” says the compiler. Sheen bursts the modern cult of youth expressed in catchphrases like, “Life begins at forty,” retorting “Life begins at birth, and youthfulness is proximity to the source of life.” Since God is the source of all life, “the closer we get to God, the younger we become.” Speaking of the Rosary, he says; “The Rosary is the best therapy for the distraught, unhappy, fearful, and frustrated souls precisely because it involves the simultaneous use of three powers: the physical, the vocal, and the spiritual – in that order.” Speaking of the modern world, he observes: “the dominant note of the modern world is confusion. It has not only lost its way; it has even thrown away the map. It stands bewildered, lost, stunned, afraid to enthuse or even trust, lest its new love prove as unfaithful and as fickle as the others.” In the context of the 1960s, he speaks of the division in the Church into “the Church of evangelization” and” the Church of development” (individual sanctification and that of Social action) as two different entities. He cites the example of the Mount Tabor experience and the life in the valley, as well as the Martha and Mary story to point out that one cannot exclude one for the other. In one of the central chapters he deals with the question “Is religion purely individual?” and answers “No.” Historically God entered into his contract with mankind through a community who were to be his witnesses and bearers to the world of the Messiah,” and the community always held the first place. This insight is acutely relevant in our time, when individualism is asserted through popular assertions such as “religion is a private matter only.”


Dr Gigy Joseph

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Editorial

HOW ARE WE DOING?

editorial

This issue has two cover stories—on a much-needed form of care that any of us may need one day. Read them and be moved by what good people are doing for sick people beyond cure. So many, including some rejected by their families, have a peaceful and pain-free end in a loving setting because of palliative care.

*           *             *

When teaching English to young Salesians, and later training M.Phil. and Ph.D. students in research methodology, I would explain to them the qualities of good writing.

Good writing is marked by seven C’s. It is correct, clear, concrete, creative, competent, critical and comprehensive.

CORRECT: Good writing should not contain mistakes in spelling, grammar, syntax, content or punctuation. It should be, as far as competent judgement can tell, error-free.

CLEAR: I believe in what a famous professor of economics in Chennai once told his students, “If you know economics, you should be able to explain it to the autorickshaw driver.” What we say or write should be clear, not confusing. And it should be intelligible to the least educated members of our audience.

CONCRETE: “She forgave and hugged the police officer who had killed her son and burnt alive her husband” is a more gripping piece of writing than “Many people forgive those who have done them harm.” Jesus’ parables are concrete and graphic. No wonder they are much better remembered than St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans—or most sermons.

CREATIVE: We can be creative in any human activity—in cooking, cracking jokes, arranging flowers, designing a dress, or in writing. Even the most creative musicians use the same seven notes. The best writers use the same words found in the dictionary—and create masterpieces. Don’t repeat or imitate; be an original!

COMPETENT: Know what you are talking about. If not, consult those who know.

CRITICAL: It means to look at both sides of a controversial issue. Don’t simply repeat an opinion, nor hide behind clichés. Think for yourself.

COMPREHENSIVE: As far as you can do in the time and space available, give a complete picture.

We, at MAGNET, are trying to produce a magazine of quality. We choose competent experts for our columns. Every article, even when written by specialists, is checked by three of us—for content, style, grammar, spelling, punctuation. We avoid technical jargon and use simple language. We look for touching true stories and concrete experiences to illustrate ideas (as in this month’s two cover stories). How creative we are, is for knowledgeable people to judge. For critical assessment, we have a team of International Consultants on every continent who give us expert feedback. We try to be comprehensive within the limits of a forty-page magazine.

For producing a much-appreciated monthly, I have many people to be grateful to, especially our regular columnists, who do this service free, as a loving ministry.

Our hope is that you, readers, find MAGNET attractive, useful and inspiring. Apart from its psycho-social-spiritual contents, communities can hopefully use it to teach younger members creative writing in error-free and idiomatic English, meticulous editing and elegant design. This is what qualified people tell us. We await your feedback—both appreciative and critical. Together, let us make MAGNET something all religious look forward to, and can be proud of. What is worth doing, is worth doing well.


Fr Joe Mannath SDB
Editor

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Voice Of The Young

Communion, Compassion and Contemplation

Feb 13
Cherylanne, a young member of the Focolare movement, shows us through real life examples how deep mutual love based on Jesus’ life and teachings, can bring unity among people.

My thoughts go to Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare Movement, a woman, a mystic, a spiritual and social reformer who has attracted women and men of all cultures and ages to follow her charism of unity, and I tried to draw out all that could throw light on these three words through our own experiences and I hope that in turn they could be a light to you and to your journey.
Unity is at the heart of Jesus’ message and his life and is also the deep yearning of every human being.

Love in the Midst of Hatred
It was right in the middle of the hate, violence and division of Second World War that Chiara and her first companions discovered their calling to unity and universal brotherhood. Being able to carry only a small book of the Gospel with them every time they had to run to the air raid shelters when the sirens went off, Chiara and her friends started to read the Gospel and live it in their daily lives, putting into practice all aspects of love that the Gospel spoke of. They soon rediscovered the invitation to constant, reciprocal love to meriting the presence of Jesus among them and this experience made their personal lives and their lives as a group take on a qualitative leap ahead. Chiara had no idea of forming any movement, but eventually a new spirituality came to life,

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Cherylanne Menezes

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