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Buttimer Institute Completes Another Successful Year


The Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies was held at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga June 27 – July 9 with 87 participants.

Buttimer is an intensive formation and education program that studies the life and work of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the origins of the educational mission. Participants meet once a year for three years, focusing on the history of De La Salle in the first year, pedagogy in year two, and spirituality in year three.

Leslie Shultz-Crist, President of San Miguel High School in Tucson, AZ, entered the formation program this year. She has been school president for one year and wanted to get a deeper understanding of the Mission and the tradition. “It was amazing. It was spiritual. It was fun,” she said of the Buttimer experience. “It really gave me the opportunity to fall in love with De La Salle and his vision and his Mission. The camaraderie in our cohort was pretty impressive.”

Brother Thomas Lackey, Regional Director of Mission Formation, enjoys watching Buttimer I participants as they delve deeper into the Lasallian Mission. “It blows me away to see the development from the newbies who know about it–and that’s why they’re there–but really don’t know the depth of it. And to see how, even by the end of two weeks, it makes a lot more sense,” said Brother Tom.

Shultz-Crist said she looked at De La Salle’s story through the eyes of a leader. “I was flabbergasted–in a really good way–at the talent that he had to lead people. The time he took, the amount of listening he did, the amount of faith in providence,” she explained. “He did everything every good CEO is trying to now in our culture 300 years ago.”

Shultz-Crist will rely on prayer to keep her enthusiasm high between Buttimer sessions. She plans to use what she learned in her first year by holding more in-depth formation study at each SMHS leadership meeting.

Greg Derus, Director of Campus Ministry at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., completed his second year of Buttimer this summer. He teaches peer ministry to seniors, training them to become faith leaders. He plans to apply the principles and mandates that De La Salle used for his teachers with his own students. “Really, they are the educators to the younger students in the school and they’re the mentors. They’re the ones who are leaders.”

Both Derus and Shultz-Crist know they have a role in carrying on the Lasallian Mission as lay leaders. “I feel real confident. I feel real committed. I feel real involved as well,” said Derus, who also thinks part of his role as a leader is to encourage vocation.

Seeing lay leaders so passionate about the Mission is very powerful for Brother Tom: “It’s very affirming of my own Lasallian identity because I have no fear of these people carrying the Mission on and I know the Mission is going to go forward.”