April 25, 2019
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DR#: 23 The Leader’s Finest Hour: Realizing Value To and From Leaders


In his book Developing The Leaders Around You, John Maxwell states that none of us are where we are solely because of our own efforts. We have all gotten a lot of help along the way. Maxwell refers to this help as adding value to a person’s life. He maintains that adding this value is life changing and expands the life purpose and capabilities of everyone involved.

We can certainly find a similar belief in our founder, Father Coindre. In his letters to the Institute’s first leader, Brother Borgia, we find a realism, circumspection, and wisdom expressed through a fatherly solicitude that today we recognize as a mentoring in the principle of subsidiarity.

In one excerpt from those letters, we can sense the value Coindre’s approach adds to Borgia’s nascent leadership. “Instill in your brothers a love of their vocation. Recognize their simplest good deeds so that they may be valued and loved. Honor, fidelity, and gratitude must bind them to you and to me. The love of God and of Providence must bind them above all to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. This is their banner; they must never forsake it.” (André Coindre Writings and Documents p.89)

Put in Maxwell’s words, we find several qualities in Coindre’s mentoring of Borgia: modeling, vision and direction, encouragement and affirmation, belief in himself, willingness to try new things, personal development, commitment to personal growth, empowerment and being a part of something greater than themselves.

The result for the Institute and for those two individuals reflects Maxwell’s premise that the mentoring experience is life changing and expands the life purpose and capabilities of everyone involved.

Through this directed reading, participants will:

  •  gain a better understanding of the life-changing potential mentors possess in the lives of those they mentor;
  • more clearly recognize the founder’s imperative to develop great-souled leaders who will accept responsibility for his vision and mission;
  • deepen their awareness of the life-enhancing presence of mentors in their own experience.
  • Developing The Leaders Around You, Chapter Nine, “The Leader’s Finest Hour: Realizing Value To and From Leaders”, pp. 181 – 196
  • André Coindre Writings and Documents, pp.43-44
Suggestions for Journal Reflection
  1. Three of Father Coindre’s most often quoted aphorisms are: courage and trust, this is my motto; man is a poor clock that must be rewound each day, but oh so gently; and, when a person has done all that he can, he has done all that he must. How do the attitudes expressed in these sayings compare with the attitudes expressed in the nine qualities listed by John Maxwell?
  2. “People become empowered when you provide them with three things: opportunity, freedom and security.” Has this ever been your experience? Who empowered you through opportunity, freedom and security? What did you learn about yourself through the experience? Has the experience affected your relations with others?
  3. John Maxwell said, “To live a worthwhile, meaningful life, a person must be a part of something greater than himself.” Father Coindre said, “God invites a faithfulness which is not metaphysical but moral.” What do these two statements mean to you as they relate to our mission? What do these two quotes say to leaders in our mission regarding the mentoring of new leaders? How does all this relate to how you mentor others?

A Meditation:

A reading from a letter of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.

We would like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new, and yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability-and that may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you. Your ideas and values mature gradually. Let them grow; let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don't try to force them on as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances and acting on your own good will) will make you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit, gradually forming within you, will be. Give God the benefit of believing that God's hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.


André Coindre Writings and Documents

The letters of Father Coindre include a host of turns of phrase which are tantamount to maxims. He possesses a particular talent for synthesizing in a few words a notion which is tailor-made to capture the imagination and to chisel itself upon the memory. Set into an anthology, these aphorisms fit conveniently into three categories:

  •  miscellaneous maxims:
    • Courage and trust, this is my motto.
    • Holiness, action and work, and all will be saved.
    • Activity, courage and perseverance.
  •  pedagogical advice:
    • Temper force with gentleness; nothing excessive.
    • Show force without bitterness or inflexibility, and goodness without weakness.
    • Trust and a bit of fear, these are the two reins with which to drive your cart.
    • Envy and pride are better incentives than punishments.
    • Let us never ask of the men what is beyond them.
    • Man is like a poor clock that must be rewound each day, but oh so gently.
    • Men are only as good as the formation they receive.
    • When a person has done all that he can, he is doing all that he must.
  •  moral or spiritual reflections:
    • To seek to do more than one can is absurd!
    • God invites a faithfulness which is not metaphysical but moral.
    • Responsibility often causes us to leave God for God.
    • The more you have to suffer, the more you will be configured to your Savior.
    • Rest is not for this world; combat is.
    • There is nothing more presumptuous than ignorance!
    • Parsimony never engenders generosity
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