Sunday evening was our first official gathering of all participants of the Lasallian Global Women’s Symposium…and the opening ceremony called us forth in the tradition of the people here. We were all welcomed with a traditional Maori Powhiri ceremony! Two women chanted greetings in their native language back and forth across the foyer as we moved together to the gathering space. In the inner room where we were called together, young people from the LaSalle School, expressed their welcome with an unusual and powerful chant with shouts and tonal voices I cannot fully describe. As a part of the ceremony, I was invited with others to press noses – one to another – with the young people that had welcomed us. In their culture, this is a sign of sharing our breath… breathing one another’s story and expressing gratitude for being a part of the journey. It was a most moving experience.
We were then introduced to our facilitation team and shared a lovely evening meal of roast lamb, pumpkin and spinach lasagna, mixed greens and chocolate layer cakes. We all joined in conversation and getting to know one another for the first time – erasing borders and finding so much in common. Br. David Hawke welcomed us as well and our dinner speaker, Superior General Br. Bob Schieler gave the opening address. His expressed hope is to listen and learn from each of us…and take back thoughts and ideas to keep the Lasallian mission alive and growing.
Following his remarks, we had an opening ritual calling of the roll, in which each woman in attendance was called by name and answered “I am here!” in their own native language.
Yes, I am here – each of us is here… to learn, to share, to carry our stories around the world and as Br. Bob encouraged…our work shall lay seed to the promise that we are Lasallian and our mission will live on and continue to grow…showing others daily that Jesus does live in our hearts… forever!
I arrived in Auckland just hours ago and already met three new friends who are joining in this wonder-filled global symposium. Realizing our days are different when you cross the international dateline, we met in the lobby of our hotel, shared a few stories about flights and asked about Sunday services since it is now Sunday, July 16th.
Together, we walked three and a half blocks to the beautiful Cathedral of St. Patrick and St. Joseph to join the New Zealand parish for their 11:00 a.m. Mass.
We’ll all take a bit of a rest before registration begins and then share an opening ceremony at about 6:00 p.m. I’m already filled with hope about all we’ll learn together! So – keep watch, I’ll keep you posted about this incredible symposium here and on the page link, Women of Zeal! You can find this link listed under the Categories column to the right of the main page screen for News and Events if you want to follow this ongoing experience daily.
**Pictured above are Anna (Papua New Guinea), myself, Sally (England) and Bestina Papua New Guinea).
A very special thank you to all my friends and family for your prayers and blessings for my upcoming journey!
Following three flight legs on my trip, and a little over 32 hours of combined flight time and airport wait time…the next time you hear from me, I’ll be at the symposium in Aukland, New Zealand with Lasallian women from all over the globe.
Ka kite ano (“until I see you again” – in Maori, the second language of New Zealand).
I tucked things into a suitcase this weekend thinking about the fact that next weekend, I’ll be pulling things out of the same suitcase in Aukland, New Zealand. I look forward to meeting other women from around the world to share ideas and new ways of spreading our Lasallian charism!
The email communications from the symposium planning team have been coming through this past week, helping us all prepare for the agenda and details regarding our stay. Here’s a sneak peek at what we’ll be talking about:
In just three short weeks, I’ll be boarding my flight to attend the Lasallian Global Women’s Symposium 2017 on behalf of the Midwest District. This gathering is July 16-19, 2017 in Aukland, New Zealand. In a recent letter from Superior General Robert Schieler, FSC – we were encouraged to reflect on where we find community, what gives the deepest meaning in our lives, what causes and concerns move us to action, and where we find God in daily moments. This gathering gives each of us an opportunity to “come and tell” things we learn, share and bring back to our various communities.
This blog will give you a constant peek into our days together; a place where you can come and hear me tell about events, conversations, new ideas and paths in the journey we’ll be sharing together as Lasallian women! Together, we’ll spread the true zeal of our charism and plant seeds of newness for future journeys and growth!
How appropriate that this event is being held in beautiful New ZEALand. I look forward to sharing with all of you!
PJ Thompson, Professor’s Choice – Saint Mary’s Press
“Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.” -Brene Brown
The Midwest District welcomed a visit from General Councilors Brother Gustavo Ramirez and Brother Rafa Matas this past March. This visit was part of their tour of RELAN, Lasallian Region of North America, to deepen their understanding of how association for the mission is lived in the Midwest District. During their visit, they visited Lewis University, Christian Brothers Services, De La Salle Institute, the Novitiate, and the Midwest District Office. They also had the opportunity to meet the Brothers and Lay partners at the different ministries, District Council, and the Lasallian Mission Council.
The days are flying by here at the conference in Rome. The international community has been fantastic. The food in Europe has no calories – it can’t because it seems we are constantly being fed. Today’s presentations asked us to look at the current reality of our world and how the global situation impacts the kind of formation we provide our teachers and how we structure our curricula. Dr. Quebengco, from the Philippines, presented us with many ideas. Here are just a couple that I extracted from her talk. We might ask, if our schools are about salvation – how might we define that?
Superior General Br. Robert Schieler specifies what we as role models should be, as credible promoters of our Lasallian mission to those entrusted to our care… “to be human amidst a world that is increasingly indifferent at best and hostile at worst to the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger in our midst.” Br. Antonio Botana identified what he calls the three pillars that should be present for a ministry to be Lasallian:
1. A certain style of educator – one who lives interiorly (from his spirit) in God’s presence… dedicates his body and soul to education… fraternal relationship with his students2. A certain style of educational community – guarantor of the educational project, community as teacher of the educators, community as sign of Christian fraternity thru the relationships of its members3. A certain style of educational ministry – tailored to the poor, quality pedagogy which educates in a Christian manner.
In more contemporary and integrated terms, Br. Luke Salm states that “St. La Salle insisted that his schools be of quality, with a person centered learning environment, providing opportunities for a smooth entry into a larger society through productive careers.” The students should be led to address four major concerns:
1. Major questions concerning the meaning of their existence
2. Recognize the seeds of destruction in society and themselves
3. Become aware of the major inequities in social and political life; and
4. Appreciate the futility of a life centered on pleasure, wealth, and power
Yesterday was the culmination of a weekend of celebration for the canonization of St. Solomon. The statue of St. Solomon in the foyer of the Generalate was blessed and it was followed by a high mass celebrated by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. A grand celebration was conducted afterwards, including pizza from a pizzeria in Naples (alas no photos because it was so good and I didn’t remember to take pictures). What follows are several pictures from the mass and the Generalate.
Announcement of the Mass.
Banner of St Solomon outside the Generalate.
Statue of St Solomon in the Generalate foyer updated to announce his Sainthood.
Today was a special day for all Lasallians around the world. Blessed Solomon (Nicholas) Leclerq was canonized by Pope Francis to be enrolled “among the Saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church”. His life and hid sacrifice for the Church is something from which we can all take a lesson. It was truly a special and wonderful day and I hope these pictures capture what was felt in St Peter’s Square on a sun filled Sunday morning.
Blessed Solomon was one of seven inviduals being canonized today.
Some of the items we received as part of the representation of the Midwest District.
Arriving in St Peter’s square approximately three hours before the start.
Another early view of the Square.
Crowd is filling in prior to the mass.
Pope Francis has started the mass
Blessed Solomon is now a Saint. His picture is in the center of the Basilica. The young girl who was cured through the intercession of Blessed Solomon has placed a relic on the altar.
The tremendous crowd his morning.
Pope Francis after the mass.
Today was a truly special day with the canonization and a reception back at the Generalate. We we were able to meet the girl who was cured by Solomon and made him a saint.
Sunset over the chapel at the Generalate
Full moon rising over St Peter’s
Your hosts: Scott Kier, Brother Micheal Fehrenbach and Maryann Donohue-Lynch (DENA)
Alas only one last item to post. Tonight the Superior General called on us to make the lives of the poor better. The file was too big so I’ll find another way to share.
As I have mentioned, Brother Mike and I were guests of Brother Claude Reinhardt and his community while we visited Reims. I wanted to share with you the stained glass windows from the chapel of the school founded by the Brothers.