Spiritual mothers in our midst: the Fraternas celebrate 25 years

The Marian Community of Reconciliation, better known as the Fraternas, is celebrating 25 years of evangelization, spreading the love of Christ and living an authentic spiritual motherhood inspired by Mary.

A special Mass said by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila was held in honor of the occasion April 1 at Holy Name Parish.

“My heart is full of gratitude for all the good that you Fraternas have accomplished, what you have done in these years, especially for your mission here in Denver,” Archbishop Aquila said during the homily. “Like the women who stood at the foot of the cross, you have been witnesses, you continue to remain faithful to Christ and you have the experience of what Christ has done in you.”

Founded in 1991 in Lima, Peru, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the Marian Community of Reconciliation was approved by the Church as an international society of apostolic life. Their community is made of laywomen who have consecrated themselves to God in order to serve the world. Since the Fraternas’ founding, their communities have spread to several different regions around the world, including England, Australia and the United States.

The local chapter of the Fraternas was invited to Denver by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in 1998. Maye Agama, the local superior, has been a Fraterna since 1993. She, along with the other Fraternas, have made perpetual promises of obedience, celibacy and sharing of goods in order to carry out their given mission, which is done in devotion to Mary.

“Our mission is to follow our Mother Mary in announcing the love of the Lord and the Gospel of Reconciliation, defending and promoting the dignity of life, and evangelizing the culture,” Agama said. “As our Holy Mother, we live a spiritual maternity helping others to encounter the love of Christ.”

The Fraternas devote much of their service to youth, the poor and families. In Denver, the women of the Marian Community of Reconciliation serve in various apostolates and ministries, and are involved in different aspects of the local Catholic community. Some Fraternas serve with the non-profit, homeless outreach organization Christ in the City, and two of the women work at the Chancery of the archdiocese, one as a religious education specialist and the other as editor of the Spanish archdiocesan newspaper, El Pueblo Católico.

Ursula Jimenez is the religious education specialist for the Archdiocese of Denver and has been a Fraterna for 15 years. When she entered the community, she didn’t fully understand what it meant to be part of them, but this 25th anniversary has helped to put things in perspective for her.

“Looking back on these past 25 years, I am humbled to remember all the love God has for us, to see his providence in our journey and also the strong presence of Mother Mary during these years,” Jimenez said. “25 years may not be long for the life of the Church, but for most of us it is already a life devoted to God, to our brothers and sisters and to our Mother Church.”

As the superior of the local chapter of the Fraternas and someone who was there very early on, Agama feels blessed and grateful to be celebrating 25 years.

“It fills me with gratitude to have been part of most of this history, and of the growth of that very small seed,” Agama said. “This anniversary is a special moment for me to give thanks to God with my whole life and to renew my deep desire to love Him always, filled with the certainty of his love and fidelity.”

To learn more about the Marian Community of Reconciliation, visit their official website.

COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

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When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.