Br. Ben Consigli - Leaders for a Global Family
During the Chapter in Rionegro last fall, the Brothers elected the new Superior General and his General Council. It is these leaders of the Institute who, during the next eight years, will put into practice the Institute's appeal: “Journeying together as a Global Family.”
Members of the new government were invited to introduce themselves and tell how the challenge of this new mission has been so far. Below is an introduction of Br. Ben Consigli, from the United States Province.
Br. Ben Consigli
I grew up in Queens, a borough of the city of New York, the youngest of three sons born to working class parents. My father, originally a police officer, worked in the city court system for over 35 years as a court clerk. My mother, originally a seemstress, stopped working to raise her children. My oldest brother, originally a bio-tech salesman, is currently a teacher of science and is married with an adult daughter. My other brother, who is not married, is a New York City attorney and law secretary to a judge. My first experience of the Marist Brothers was in secondary school (Archbishop Molloy High School), and they impressed me as extraordinary teachers. They helped ignite the spark of my wanting to be a teacher and work directly with young people. In university, I majored in American History and minored in Philosophy, while helping out with my alma mater’s student retreat program. My post-graduate degrees are in Non-Western History and Educational leadership/Administration. Throughout my years as a Brother, I have been fortunate to have ministered in Marist schools in the States of New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Florida, and have worked with a wide variety of students, both inside and outside of the classroom. I also have worked for the past 30 years with deaf children at our summer camp in Esopus, New York.
How was your experience of your election?
I must admit that I was overwhelmed by my election to the General Council. There were a lot of mixed emotions. I felt enormous support from the Brothers at the Chapter, and their confidence in me helped sustain me over the initial days after the election. While I experienced a sense of excitement and anticipation at the task facing us as a new Council, I also became more acutely aware of my own limitations, my own doubts about my abilities to assist the Institute in setting a path for the future of Marist life and mission over the next eight years. What has been clear is God’s urgings and revelations that I am not alone, that God is with me and my Brothers of the General Council as we move forward. This has given me much peace and confidence, even as I try to learn another language!
How are you experiencing your new life in the General House so far?
Like all transitions, my transition from the States to the General House in Rome has had its “ups and downs.” Leaving my community, my ministry, and my students in Florida was hard, but at the same time, I was welcomed warmly by the Brothers and lay men and women here at the General House. Over time, I am becoming more comfortable with the rhythm of life here and learning how to navigate my life in Rome. Having the support and good humor of the General Council community has made the transition more authentic, and in some ways, fun!
Considering the reflection of the General Chapter, what do you think should be the Council’s line(s) of action of for the next eight years?
As a Council we have begun reflecting on what the calls of the General Chapter are asking us “to be” and “to do” as a leadership team. While we are just beginning our mandate, I do believe that for the vitality of our Marist life and mission we are called to be an interdependent global family which reflects God’s mercy and love. Anything that we can do to foster or nurture that will assist us as we try to make real a “New LaValla” for today.