Tracing the history of “The Mennaisian Spirituality” means going over a string of events and movements that have gradually evolved in our Congregation.
And now looking at our more recent history, we detect a call of the Spirit that has, here and there, for a good many years, led some members to writings (letters and sermons, which, if we leave aside the dated style, appear surprisingly and stimulatingly relevant to our times.
Following some old but excellent publications like “A travers la Correspondence”, the “Anthology” appeared on the occasion of the second centenary of the birth of Jean Marie de la Mennais, in which are found his writings arranged by themes by Br. Marcel Doucet. Later on, Br. Philippe Friot published “The Spirituality of a Man of Action”, a book that presents many aspects of the spiritual experience of Fr. de la Mennais. Br. Philippe also prepared a complete collection of the Letters, Sermons and other Writings of our Founder, thus making available to all the sources of our spirituality.
Then came the time when the earlier Mennaisian texts and the life experiences they supposed became a new reality in different forms and places: sessions of renewal, gatherings, retreats, working papers, projects …
At more recent General Chapters the necessity was felt for a more in-depth study of the riches of our spiritual patrimony and for feeding on them. It was the chapter of 2000 that gave the express mission of “making available to the Brothers and to the communities the means and the guidelines to go deeper into the Mennaisian charism, and in that way develop the sense of belonging to the Congregation”. It spoke of “sorting out the documents (resource writings, schedules of readings, etc.) along the fundamental lines of spirituality.”
From this emerged a work of systemizing the spiritual thought that Jean Marie de la Mennais stamped on the congregation during forty years and which clearly marked the first generation of Brothers. After taking the time to reflect, time was given to study what held all the aspects together and gradually the outlines were revealed of what made of “our” spirituality a very pertinent reality for today. Working at this was not a work of archeology but a project full of promise. It is in this way that the booklet entitled “The Mennaisian Spirituality” came to be put together.