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Community

An Introduction

The Monastic Family Fraternity of Jesus is a Federation was made up of a Congregation of Religious Brothers (The Brothers of Jesus), a Congregation of Religious Sisters (The Sisters of Jesus) and an Association of the Faithful.

The life of the brothers, sisters, families and lay-people was inspired by the model of the Holy Family of Nazareth – work and prayer united in a common life. Nurturing the gifts of all those in community created a flexible approach giving glory to God in a variety of ways including organic agriculture, iconography, hospitality and mission.

Origins

Following the Second Vatican Council and having served with the Focolare movement for several years the founder, Father Tarcisio Benvenuti, was inspired to begin a new form of community life. The vision was quite simply to live an experience of Nazareth putting in to practice the Word of Jesus Christ.

In 1972, at the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, believing this vision to be of the Holy Spirit, Father Tarcisio Benvenuti and Father Zeno Sartori made a leap of faith. They decided, under the protection of Our Lady, to dedicate the rest of their lives to help make this vision become a reality.

Several years later, having been joined by men, women and families interested in helping to incarnate this vision, an area of abandoned land was acquired 30 kilometres South of Rome near the town of Lanuvio. This became the Mother House of the Monastic Family Fraternity of Jesus at the Monastery of Vallechiara.

Thriving Religious Communities

Recent academic research has suggested that there are three aspects central to a thriving religious community:

1. Christ-Centered
In the past communities in the Church have often found their inspiration from a Saint or a Rule. Current research suggests that thriving communities tend not to emphasise a particular Rule or Saint but emphasise the centrality of Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament.

2. Authentic Community Life
The Church, both past and present, has suffered greatly by trying to hide its own problems and by not living out Christ’s commandment to forgive. Current research suggests that by dealing openly with problems, which are an inevitable part of family life, and by living Christ’s commandment to forgive we can build healthy loving communities.

3. Spiritual Guidance
In the past religious communities have carried out a variety of activities like providing nurses for hospitals, teachers for schools, etc… Current research suggests that thriving communities place a greater emphasis on accompanying others on their spiritual journey.

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