Monday, 11 October 2010

Salesian Brotherhood and search for identity

This evening after supper, I had an interesting conversation with Fr Maliekal. It was concerning the Salesian Brothers at Karunapuram and their whole quest for identity. When Fr Maliekal began the conversation asking my opinion as to how to help them find this 'identity', I laughed out aloud and when he further said that he was feeling the pressure of 'creating this identity' for them, I couldn't stop laughing. I explained to him in just one sentence: identity is never formed in isolation but carved out from relationship. The Brothers at Karunapuram want to clarify what exactly is their 'brotherly identity' then they ought to mix and intermingle with the clerics. Never in isolation and separation will there be an identity created. The more we call for separation and division, the greater chasm we create between these two forms of living the one Salesian vocation.

As someone rightly said, had the superiors sent me to Karunapuram as coordinator of the Brothers, I would be thrown out of the place within a month and that too because of orders straight from Rome!! According to me, the whole idea of 'creating an identity' for Brothers in contrast to that of the clerics, is a 'Roman' idea, which is really very detrimental to the whole Salesian congregation ... now that's my personal opinion and conviction. Doing things separately, living separately and acting separately (as though always on the look out never to let anything match with that of the clerics) in no way gives anyone any identity. It is formed in the concrete living out of the vocation in a context... aided by convictions and principles.

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