The MEAs are women and men who are committed to the values at the heart of the mission and identity of the university. In that sense, though they need not be Catholic, they are committed to the Catholic intellectual tradition and to the Marianist mission and identity. As they go about their particular work in the university, they nurture their own and other’s understanding of the Catholic and Marianist traditions of education, and “have the capacity and willingness to work together to incorporate those traditions into the culture of Marianist universities and adapt and transform these traditions so that Marianist universities forge an engaging response to the challenges facing American higher education and also contribute to the task of working toward global justice.”
While becoming an MEA is not meant to be another committee to join or another new task to take on, becoming an MEA does entail a new way to understand one’s work and relationship to the university. The foundation statement points out “four overlapping commitments” required of the MEA: a commitment to form community with the other MEAs to challenge and support one another in their mutual formation and give witness as a “social group to the deep Catholic and Marianist story of our universities”; “a commitment to grow in knowledge and appreciation of the Catholic and Marianist educational traditions”; using those traditions to read “the signs of the times” and responding to those signs in light of those traditions; and “a commitment or willingness to making a public affirmation of being a Marianist Educational Associate.”
As the five current MEAs (2005) have reflected together on the meaning of this commitment, we have evolved both some ideas and some practices as we challenge and support one another in this path. Although by training and habit we have asked ourselves often what our little group will do, we have come to see that the MEA community is not community gathered to do a project, but a community gathered to help each other understand more deeply each day Mary’s call to do whatever he tells you, and to live that call more fully in the work we our doing in the university already.
We have had one intensive formation experience in June 2005. We are looking for ways to continue that formation process through our gatherings. Sharing our new fellowship with Bro. Jerry Bommer and Bro. Frank Damm, we have found one of the important ways to accomplish this is to share community with the brothers in prayer, liturgy, conversation, and a meal. We believe this is the continuation of that commitment to grow in knowledge and experience of deep story of the Marianists which is a story of collaborative work with the lay members of their ministries and hospitality that engages the transformation of heart as well as mind.
This sharing is an invitation to reflection on the spiritual dimension of this commitment. This is still very much in discussion, but intentional reflection on how we are responding to God’s love as we carry on our everyday activities would seem to be important to understanding how those Catholic and Marianist values animate our institutions