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Cerdon is a time and place of profound transformation.

For Father Colin in Cerdon for his first priestly appointment, the dawning realization that the Society of Mary was truly from God, and that he was genuinely suited to it, led to ‘six years of extreme sweetness’. Kerr comments,

“This spiritual experience at a time when he was coming into his full powers as a pastor, gave a definitive direction to his life. In committing himself totally to the project of a Society of Mary, he was convinced that he was doing what God wanted him to do.”

In the process, Colin was transformed from being scrupulous and timid, pious and cold into a person recognized now as warm-hearted, decisive and popular.”

Coste makes the telling observation.

“In Cerdon, something changed in Colin” and “there is a link between this change and Colin’s Marian vision. Colin felt the vision of the Society of Mary was growing deeper within him and he received the inspiration of ‘hidden and unknown in the world’ which he understood to mean that he should use his own hypersensitivity to understand the hyper sensitivity of his era. The moment when these Marian themes are most strongly impressed upon him is the moment when he advances to a responsible and committed life”. Notice, “The link… was Colin’s Marian vision.”

Colin had always had a very strong devotion to Mary, so the catalyst for his transformation at Cerdon wasn’t that he suddenly ‘found’ Mary while there.

Certain “Marian themes” became “strongly impressed upon him,” Marist themes such as ‘hidden and unknown’, and that was the difference. Therefore, the link was not about the ministry he was doing as a priest, rather, it was about a certain manner of being by which he too could truly be a presence of Mary for his age.

Cerdon therefore encourages us as Marists, to keep pondering on and internalizing our Marist themes. It means allowing ourselves to be captured by a certain idea of Mary in the world and being ever progressively transformed by it, dedicated above all else to achieving it for ourselves personally and for the Church.