There is a word often associated with the Marianist spirituality and ideology that is heard often, but seldom defined. The word is charism. This word probably looks familiar, like the word charisma. A lot of the same meaning exists in both words. Charisma is that special charm or appeal that a person has that draws you in. The Marianist charism is very similar. It is that special something that makes the Marianists unique and appealing. It’s a certain energy or intensity around which the Marianist way of life is inspired and focused. This particular charism is moving and working through believers by the action of the Holy Spirit. In simple terms, the Marianist charism is a gift given by the Holy Spirit, a gift that brings to life the hearts of the Marianists giving us a special zest for and approach to life!
Now, there are five different aspects to Marianist charism. We call these aspects “pillars,” and they are the primary focuses and beliefs which hold up the livelihood and actions of the Marianists around the world. By learning and understanding these basic principles, we can get a better understanding of the Marianists, and thus grow deeper in our spirituality as a Marianist Institution. The five pillars are; Faith, Mary, Community, Mission, and Inclusivity.
Faith: First and foremost, we are people of Faith: we are spiritual people who believe in a loving God and we live and act through service and prayer.
Mary: Marianists turn to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a model for Christian living. She lived a life free from sin and in service to God: a life we aspire to live. She was the vessel through which Christ came into this world, and we too strive to bring Christ to life today.
Community: Marianists place a high value on community, or ‘ohana. We support one another, pray together, work together, and some even live together. Community is a source of nourishment and power through which we can better the world.
Mission: Just as Jesus came to the earth serving others, so are we to reach out to our brothers and sisters. Service, justice, and peace are important factors in the Marianist sense of mission, and we work constantly towards improving the condition of life among those less fortunate.
Inclusivity: We believe in a discipleship of equals. There is no order of ranking among the branches of the Marianist family, and there is no order of ranking in society or within the human race. We believe all humans are created in the image and likeness of God, and we work to be inclusive of all kinds of people, embracing diversity as an expression of our humanity.
In order to best understand these pillars and live the charism, the beginning of the retreat program at Saint Louis School is designed around each of these pillars. As the student become upperclassmen, the retreats pull together all of the pillars, challenge them to grow deeper in their understanding of self and their relationship with God, as well as carry out their faith and put in into practice.
A retreat is a special time for each division to venture off-campus and grow together spirituality. Each retreat is age-appropriate in length and depth of conversation and builds on the previous one, digging deeper into faith and spirituality as the students get older. Retreats are led by upperclassmen who have already attended the retreat.
6th Grade: Kaiāulu (Community)
Students in 6th grade spend a day on-campus building community with one another. Through an energetic, active day, they learn more about themselves and each other, how to be good communicators, and how to be in relationship and community with each other. They will also learn to trust their classmates, to express emotions, and to engage in deeper, more meaningful friendships.
7th grade: Mana‘o‘i‘o (Faith)
Students in 7th grade attend a one-day retreat off-campus that explores a relationship with God. After completing the 6th grade retreat, these students have learned the importance of relationship with one another, and together we explore having a relationship with our Creator. Students will be challenged to reflect on their beliefs and to boldly express their faith.
8th grade: Mālia (Mary)
Students in 8th grade attend a one-day retreat off-campus centered on Mary and the Marianists. Throughout the day, students will learn about Mary as a model for faith, as well as discover the Marianists and the charism by which our school associates. The day is full of fun, interactive games, skits, and special guests!
9th grade: Hololani (Mission)
Students in 9th grade will spend two school-days understanding their mission as high school students at a Catholic, Marianist school. They will spend one day off-campus reflecting on their mission as a mindful and faithful Saint Louis Man, and they will spend a second day off-campus at various non-profit organizations exploring what is means to do service and live out the Christian mission. This retreat will serve as an introduction to the Saint Louis Brotherhood and to the HEEDS Community Service Program.
10th grade: Kākou Āpau (Inclusivity)
Students in 10th grade will attend a two-day/one-night retreat off-campus engaging in diversity and inclusivity simulations. The retreat is designed to expand their world-views and help them become more aware of the ways they treat each other. They will also spend time reflecting on the difference among their class and ways to be more respectful of each other. The retreat will conclude by drawing the focus on the inclusive nature of Jesus Christ and the unity of all people in the Kingdom of Heaven.
11th grade: EMMAUS (Journey)
Students in the 11th grade will attend a three-day/two-night retreat off-campus. This retreat invites the juniors to explore their life-journey as they have lived it so far and how they can live it in the future. They do this exploration as a member of a community to see how they depend on each other and the communities they will become a part of in the future. Focusing on the Catholic-Christian call to practice and promote service, justice, and peace, this retreat will give the juniors an opportunity to put into practice the skills and beliefs instilled in them while at Saint Louis.
12th grade: KAIROS (A Sacred Time)
Students in the 12th grade will attend a four-day/three-night KAIROS (an awakening; special moment). This retreat allows seniors to see the value of Christian faith as it is lived and experienced in the lives of other students and in the community. It gives them the opportunity to look within themselves and find their true worth and observe how this worth is reinforced in their relationships with God, their parents, their classmates, and their neighbors. It serves as a culmination of the retreat program, ending with a sending forth into the world and a challenge to bring about the Kingdom of God.
The 2015-2016 school-year will be a transition year. After this school year the KAIROS retreat will be the Senior Retreat and the EMMAUS will be the Junior Retreat. During this school year all the juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to attend the EMMAUS Retreat. Those seniors who did not attend KAIROS as juniors will have the opportunity to attend a KAIROS in November 2015. After this school year the KAIROS Retreat will be offered to seniors and those juniors who are chosen for the LIFE experience.
Marianist LIFE - Living in Faith Experience
Marianist LIFE is sponsored by the Marianist Province of the United States. Up to twelve students who are going into their senior year are chosen from among their peers. This program is designed to enable high school students to establish and to nurture Marianist LIFE Communities in the tradition of the Marianists. These MLCs gather in faith and prayer, invite others to join, and participate in the mission of Jesus to serve others where the needs are most unmet in school as well as in the larger world of which they live.