Leading in a Marian Way
Marists involved in education often seek to discuss leadership. Given current world events and the differing styles of political leadership in evidence today, it is easy to understand why. For those involved in Marist leadership, an important form of leadership is Marian leadership.
Our Marist Tertiary and Online Committee believes it is timely for us to try to discover what Marian leadership might mean for today's leaders and eventually shape a university academic unit on its nature and practice. Such a unit would be in addition to the current unit on Marist Educational Leadership held annually in a capital city across four days in August.
We are beginning our process of understanding Marian leadership by considering contemporary theological literature. We are utilising Br Mark O'Connor's theological expertise.
One book we are considering is Christopher Pramuk's 'At Play in Creation'. Pramuk, a theologian/poet, analyses Thomas Merton's spiritual legacy. The introduction to this book explains 'Christopher Pramuk leads the reader through a sustained meditation on Wisdom-Sophia, the feminine face of God's presence alive in the world, who speaks and sings in the writings of Thomas Merton' (p.ix). Here we are noting the words 'feminine' and 'presence', both of which reflect a Marian and Marist flavour.
Pramuk continues 'Indeed, the constellation of events by which "Hagia Sophia" comes to birth in Merton can teach us something beautiful about how God works in each of us: by invitation and by stealth, if you will, never by coercion, drawing us with mercy and patience toward the way of peace, truth, and nonviolence (p.38).
These seem to be elements of Marian leadership. Mary understood this process, judging by the way she listened and pondered as she reared her Son.
Pramuk, C. (2015). At Play in Creation. Collegeville: Order of St Benedict.