Legacy

Writing new narratives

2023-2024

This dynamic fidelity to the Founder consistently follows its own internal laws. It is marked first of all by the community character of our search. Although confided to us as persons, the institution and its purpose are not in the hands of individuals. Fidelity to the Founder is entrusted to the Institute, that is to say, the community of the persons who constitute it. A living community in dialogue is the locus par excellence for the presence and the action of the Holy Spirit.

The Declaration,revised 1997

Part One: Fall

Laying the foundation for sustaining the mission is the focus in this Module.

 

Part Two: Spring

This module examines the movement of the Spirit in the Lasallian World.

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Semester 1

Community Prayer

 May Sarton: After a Winter’s Silence Along the terrace wall Snowdrops have pushed through hard ice, making a pool. Delicate stems now show White bells as though The force, the thrust to flower Were nothing at all. Who gives them the power? After a winter’s silence I feel the shock of spring. My breath warms like the sun, Melts ice, bursts into song, So when that inner one Gives life back the power To rise up and push through, There’s nothing to it. We simply have to do it, As snowdrops know When snowdrops flower.

Legacy

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Legacy

Part One

The Brothers, from different generations and with different experiences, somewhat from the nature of things, learned to work together, to imagine their future, and, obviously, made some mistakes in their efforts. It is striking to note how often in Blain’s biography, he tells us that the Brothers in Paris met to make a decision, to evaluate, to discuss and to write... In a certain manner, they ratified and, as it were ‘owned’, the commitments of 1691 and 1694.

 

The person of Brother Barthélémy stands out firmer and more clear-sighted about what was at stake in the decisions to be taken to give the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools its full scope. Undoubtedly, he also absorbed into his experience of God the complete newness of “uniting myself and living in Society, with... in order to... ”.

 

The “body of the Society” realised that “to unite and live in Society” was the key to its future. It was by deepening and living this feature of its commitments that it had found salvation. The Institute was now ready to put into practice the decision of 7th June 1694: to choose a Superior from among its members, someone who “would have been associated with and would have made vows with them”. It was also ready to take on the particular spirituality which animated John Baptist de La Salle, and which he had transmitted to them and continued to transmit, throughout his life. That experience of God had become their own; it has become ours.

 

(Brother Jean-Louis SCHNEIDER
JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE (1711 – 1714)

or “THE TEMPTATION of PARMÉNIE”
page 36-3

The Conduct of the Christian Schools, written in 1706, gives a “nuts and bolts” approach to De La Salle’s vision laying out the areas of importance as well as the means to achieve them.

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Legacy

Part One

The specific ministry of John Baptist de La Salle was not quite the same as that of the Brothers. His ministry was directed towards the animation and life of the Community or Society; for them, as for us in our day, the ministry is directed towards the Christian School (Christian education), a salvific ministry integrated with the Church’s ministry. The Founder’s ministry In situating God’s work, John Baptist de La Salle’s ministry, within the Church, the Brothers understand the place of their ministry and their existence as a Society. It is within the Church which is the instrument in time and place of God’s Salvation History, and which is on-going. The Brothers would say to Monsieur de La Salle that for him as well as for them the existence of their Community can not be separated from the Church’s mission. They regard themselves as part of the Church where in the faith, God speaks, acts, takes up his people’s cause and constitutes them as a redeemed People. This is the work that is “the holy work of God”. The charism and ministry of John Baptist de La Salle for the Community and the charisms and ministries in which the Brothers engage when they attend to the needs of youth, of the Church and of their Community, are all one. The Brothers looking at their development together see and proclaim the place as well as the determining role of John Baptist de La Salle as the executor of God’s plan: this “holy work of God which is also yours, you have always carried out with much success and edification”. They were fully aware of the vocation of the Founder and Mentor of the Brothers and of the way in which he had lived this vocation with and for them Since it has pleased the Lord to make use of you to establish it and direct it for such a long time.../... and since God gave you and still gives you the graces and talents needed to govern properly this new Society.

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What John Baptist de La Salle had lived through was understood as the holy work of God. God was present in this life. He was the beginning and end of it: the greater glory of God, the holy work of God, it has pleased God to make use of you, God has given and still gives you... God is present in this work, in this History, in this society.

 

To establish it and to direct it for such a long time, the talents needed to govern properly: these are the gifts that God granted to John Baptist de La Salle so that he should carry out his work in the Church for this new Society, for the benefit and good of the Church. The Brothers emphasize the length and permanent nature of this gift of God: over such a long period God has given you and still gives you the graces. Again we must turn to the Meditations for the Time of Retreat in order to find out how and why God acts:

 

  • God desires all to be taught this knowledge, that their minds may be enlightened by the light of faith. (MR 193.1)
  •  In his Providential care... God has called you to this ministry... (MR 193.2)
  •  God has made you his ministers... (MR 193.3)
  •  He has had the goodness to call upon you to procure such an important advantage for children. (MR 194.1)
  •  You are the ambassadors and ministers of Jesus Christ in the work that you do, you must act as representing Jesus Christ himself. (MR 195.2)
  • Jesus Christ has chosen you among so many others to be his co-operators in the salvation of souls. (MR 196.2)
  •  It is a great gift of God, this grace he has given you to be entrusted with the instruction of children, to announce the gospel to them and to bring them up in the spirit of religion...this is the work of God. (MR 201.1).

 

The link, established by John Baptist de La Salle in his Meditations between the active ministry of the Brothers and the active presence of God in his work, is seen by the Brothers in the work of their Founder. The establishment of the Society of the Brothers is understood as a salvific act in which God speaks and allows himself to be seen.

 

 (SCHNEIDER, 33-34)

Legacy

Part One

God led John Baptist de La Salle into the desert and Monsieur de La Salle discovered him again in the Promised Land of the Community, in Grenoble, and in the letter of the Brothers in Paris. The word of the Community shed light on his life. As a result of this, roles were somewhat reversed. Those who were enlightened by him in their lives now did the same in the life of the Founder. So well had they assimilated the plan of salvation they had lived with him that their word could become a sign.

 

John Baptist de La Salle had doubted his own efforts when he saw that all his attempts throughout his life to establish the Institute seemed to have come to nothing. Those efforts of his had been directed towards bringing into existence the Society, which seemed to have broken apart. The Brothers had made a vow of association and the Society was breaking up into independent community groups. Even more seriously, the rapport between John Baptist de La Salle and several Brothers appeared to have disintegrated, as well as the overall work they had, up to that time, accomplished by their united efforts. He had tried to be a true Father to his Brothers, and had reached a stage where he was led to believe he was incapable of governing, being rejected by them. But, lo and behold, the Institute came to exist in its own right: the members assembled on their own initiative, the Society was alive, it willed to confront the problems facing it. This was evidenced by their taking up the ‘word’. The association stood firm; it was in its own name that the Brothers came together; they relied on association to recall their Founder. The Community was capable of re-reading its History, with him, and to tell it back to him. It was capable of understanding its own commitment, and the unique commitment of the Founder as a ministry given by God.

 

He was not alone. He was still one of their number. The Brothers following in the footsteps of John Baptist de La Salle, read their History from a mystical point of view: God, his plan, his action, his will. They understood how the Founder had corresponded therewith. It was his plan, his action, his way of seeing God’s will and being disposed to obey it. They said that, in reality, God’s work was being done in this Society, by John Baptist de La Salle and by what they had accomplished and still wanted to accomplish in union with him. God was present in their individual histories as in the common history of their Society. This history was also a history of salvation within the Church.

 

 (SCHNEIDER, 35)

Legacies BY NIKKI GIOVANNI her grandmother called her from the playground “yes, ma’am” “i want chu to learn how to make rolls” said the old woman proudly but the little girl didn’t want to learn how because she knew even if she couldn’t say it that that would mean when the old one died she would be less dependent on her spirit so she said “i don’t want to know how to make no rolls” with her lips poked out and the old woman wiped her hands on her apron saying “lord these children” and neither of them ever said what they meant and i guess nobody ever does

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The Ascension of Jesus. So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs. from the Gospel of Mark 16:19-20

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Semester 2

Community Prayer

“As we prepare for the real future, what may be more difficult in our lives is letting go of something beautiful that we ourselves have helped to create; accepting that this should be abandoned, not because it has lost its beauty, but because its time has passed and another new beauty is forming”* We Lasallians are called to form this new beauty.
Bernard J. Lee, SM, The Beating of Great Wings: A Worldly Spirituality for Active, Apostolic Communities. (New London: Twenty-Third Publications, 2004), p. 32. as quoted in Lasallian Reflection 3.

 

 

Legacy

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The “body of the Society” realized that “to unite and live in Society” was the key to its future. It was by deepening and living this feature of its commitments that it had found salvation. The Institute was now ready to put into practice the decision of 7th June 1694: to choose a Superior from among its members, someone who “would have been associated with and would have made vows with them”. It was also ready to take on the particular spirituality which animated John Baptist de La Salle, and which he had transmitted to them and continued to transmit, throughout his life. That experience of God had become their own; it has become ours.

 

(Brother Jean-Louis SCHNEIDER, JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE

(1711 – 1714) or “THE TEMPTATION of PARMÉNIE”, page 37)

In accordance with the tradition of OUR INSTITUTE

 

Lasallians, by tradition, have gone beyond the borders.  This creative impulse comes from our foundation, when John Baptist de La Salle, going beyond the social and religious borders of his time, brought together a heterogeneous group of lay teachers that, in the spirit of partnership was first transformed into community, then into society, and finally into Institute.  The Lasallian model was the prototype of all the brotherhoods of education which, in the middle of the 19th century, became the fastest growing movement in the church.  During its more than three centuries of existence, this Institute, which has twice been on the verge of disappearing in France, his country of birth, has spread today to 79 countries where nearly a million students are educated.  What are the fundamental principles that have allowed it to continue with such vitality for so long?  What can we say about the successful application of these principles in so many and such varied countries and cultures, allowing it to transcend the pre-set differences of race, gender, language and religion?

 

In general, we could talk about two fundamental principles: the constant preoccupation with the education and empowerment needed to enable the disadvantaged to live with dignity, and the spirit of gratuity and service in the training offered and received in our educational works.

The last General Chapters and International Mission Assemblies have provided remarkable shades of innovation in the application of these two principles …

 

 

Legacy

Part Two

The Lasallian DISCERNMENT process

 

Like the Founder and the first Brothers who were deeply moved by the human and spiritual distress of the children of artisans and of the poor, we today need to effectively respond to the needs expressed in the metaphor of the “border”.

This metaphor makes us feel uncomfortable and challenges us.  How are we to respond?  In Jesus we have the model of one who lets himself be challenged in order to discern.  With the fierceness of her faith, they Syrophoenician woman challenged the response-ability of Jesus.  It depended on the miracle of listening, abandoning prejudices and allowing himself to be transformed by the power of truth.

In the Gospels, this is the only case where we see a Jesus that changes his mind.  John Baptist de La Salle likewise let himself be challenged for he, too, needed to discern.

 

Lasallian discernment broadly follows three steps:  becoming aware of personal and local reality; shedding light on that reality by the Word of God through prayer and dialogue with prudent people; and making decisions aware of the personal and community implications.  Reflecting on John Baptist de La Salle’s vocation, we could say that these steps were:  he went “beyond his borders” to meet with Nyel and with the world of the education of the poor; he entered into dialogue with Nicolas Barre and Nicolas Roland with a view to bringing about the establishment of the first schools and the first society of teachers.

 

After more than three hundred years of Lasallian presence in the world, we are invited today to discern with responsibility and audacity and respond to the challenges of the educational mission in the different contexts, particular cultures, different religions and complex variety of social conditions.  Today more than ever, the Church and the world are calling us to go beyond the borders.

t helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

 

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

 

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent

enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of

saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

 

No statement says all that could be said.

 

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

 

No confession brings perfection.

 

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

 

No program accomplishes the Church's mission.

 

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

 

This is what we are about.

 

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

 

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

 

We lay foundations that will need further development.

 

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

 

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

 

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

 

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an

opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

 

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master

builder and the worker.

 

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

 

We are prophets of a future not our own.

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This prayer was first presented by Cardinal Dearden in 1979 and quoted by Pope Francis in 2015. This reflection is an excerpt from a homily written for Cardinal Dearden by then-Fr. Ken Untener on the occasion of the Mass for Deceased Priests, October 25, 1979. Pope Francis quoted Cardinal Dearden in his remarks to the Roman Curia on December 21, 2015. Fr. Untener was named bishop of Saginaw, Michigan, in 1980.

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