Br. Dennis Cooper, FMS

This year my life as a Marist Brother has taken another fascinating turn and I am deeply immersed in living and working in what is probably one of the most international, intercultural Marist communities imaginable. Both blessings and challenges abound every day in life here at our Marist Spirituality and Renewal Centre at Manziana, Italy where I am part of a team of three leading a program for the formation of brothers who will have responsibility for guiding and supporting young men in their first years of formation as future brothers.

We are a community of twenty brothers from 17 different countries and the one language we all share is English. Mind you, English is the second, third or fourth language for the majority so communication and cultural respect, understanding and sensitivity are high priority needs that require constant and generous effort on the part of each. At the same time it is a delight to be living with a vibrant and energetic community of brothers where many are in their 30’s and their passion for bringing alive Marcellin Champagnat’s dream for young people is very real.

It is a real joy to be involved in this challenging and demanding project but it is one that brings me in touch with the idealism, hope and personal commitment of young men prepared to take the risk of daily ‘walking the talk’ of their vocation to be brother to others. The commitment to building community even as we struggle to know and understand each other well is a seed-bed of the brotherly spirit, nurtured in prayer and sharing of life, in this special, one off, international community of Brother Formators for a New World. I am blessed to be a brother among brothers!

Brother Dennis has worked with young people for over 40 years including mainstream and indigenous students in Central Australia. Most recently Brother Dennis has been involved in the education and formation of novices in the region of the Pacific. He is an avid cyclist.