‘What is your name?’
That’s where we began our NSW/ACT Year 12 Marist Forum this year. 33 students from Marist schools, as well as 8 staff, came together at the Hermitage, Mittagong, to reflect on the ways in which they are being called, their vocations.
‘What is your name?’ A Forum is not a retreat. It’s a place of discussion, ideas. This Forum was a time for these students to reflect – not so much on what career they want – but on who they are, how God has called each of them.
Sessions ranged from discussing ‘lollipop moments’, seemingly forgettable moments where we have impacted on somebody without even realising; to a session on story – how we shape our stories as lives of meaning and action; to the creation of a vibrant, colourful mandala – filled with symbols students created to represent who they are; to a panel of people who have answered their call in different ways – a Marist Brother, a Marist Sister, a Franciscan Friar, a married couple. Students were challenged personally, spiritually, to explore the sacredness in their story.
The feedback from students reflected the ways in which they were challenged and supported: ‘I learnt more about my real character with people I have never met before’, ‘I get the best reaction when I act naturally and not put on a false persona’, ‘The weekend enabled me to gain a greater understanding of my place in this world and the importance of my story and how it fits with everyone else’s.’
Falling at the end of the holidays, just before students were to return to school, the Year 12 Forum was a time of great spirit, community and discernment – best summarised by one of our students: ‘From attending the Forum I have discovered that there are more young men and woman out there who are just like me. The Idea of “What’s Your Name” has given me a greater understanding of my identity, who I really am, and after reflecting on the weekend I have started understand what my vocation is and where it is heading.’