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Our day began with a reflection on novitiates. There are 8 novitiates in the congregation, 7 of whom are active this year. The province of Europe has 4 novitiates: one in Africa (Togo), two in Asia (Vietnam and the Philippines) and one in Europe (France). The province of Africa has two novitiates, one in Butembo (DRC) and one in Arusha (Tanzania). Madagascar has its novitiate in Tulear and young people from South America (Brazil and the Andean province) are trained in Pinhal, Brazil. Some novitiates are already living an internationalization experience with novices from different cultures and languages. This is the case in Manila, but also in Brazil, Togo and Tanzania. Should we systematize the internationalization of our houses? What means can be given to novice masters to enable young people to feel free in choosing religious life? What is the maximum number of novices for an appropriate formation with personalized accompaniment?
After our break, we welcomed Pascal Ruffenach, Chairman of the Management Board of Bayard and Father André Antoni, Chief Executive Officer. Bayard, one of the seven mobilizing works of the Assumption, is a company that employs more than 1800 people. 20 Assumptionist religious are involved in various capacities in several countries: France, Vietnam, Philippines, Kenya, Burkina Faso, etc. In a difficult context for press groups, Bayard is resisting rather well. Admittedly, there is an erosion of turnover (around €350 million) and a decrease in the number of subscribers, but book publishing is progressing and gradually the digital and digital world is developing. Did you know that there are several editions of "La Croix" on the Web in English and Spanish? Did you know that "La Croix-Africa" has a steadily growing audience? Recently established in Africa and Asia, young Assumptionist religious are helping to spread our brands in these new territories. We look for new ways to sensitize young religious to this apostolate through the media. How to instil the passion that the first Assumptionist generations had for spreading the "good press", that is, to contribute in our various societies to making Christ's message heard, but also to fostering everything that contributes to the growth of education, respect for man and fraternal life in society. Bayard needs young religious people, but it takes time to prepare them for the various jobs of a media group: journalism, business, management.
To end our day, we continued an exchange on formation, this time by considering the criteria for admitting candidates to Assumptionist life. Even if there are variations from country to country, we have a common framework. While the age and training criteria are sometimes different, there is a consensus on the human qualities required: openness, a taste for work, availability, ability to forgive, acceptance of diversity, etc. A conclusion of this time of exchange: the pastoral care of vocations must be strengthened by clearly giving the criteria to religious and candidates.