Throughout October, the Brother John Johnston Institute of Contemporary Lasallian Practice’s fourth cohort gathered again by District to explore Lasallian pedagogy and best practices. As participants continued their formation with this second gathering, the three presenters shared in both the impact of the program, as well as the community it has cultivated.
“Engaging with Regional Lasallian communities is a rich privilege. Encountering the living devotion to our Lasallian journey and listening to stories in the context of our shared growth in mission is humbling and enlivening,” shared presenter Scott Sorvaag, Ed.D. “I have received the gift of the beloved community that reveals the loving network of connection that we cannot escape.”
The fall gatherings began with District of San Francisco New Orleans (SFNO) participants in Loranger, Louisiana, followed by the Midwest District at the La Salle Manor Retreat Center in Plano, Illinois, and ending with the District of Eastern North America (DENA) in Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania.
Brother Ernest Miller, FSC, led participants through the first session, “Educators and Witnesses within the Reign of God,” which delved into greater understanding of the overarching purpose, philosophy and foundation of being a Lasallian educator. He commended the participants’ commitment to Lasallian education, evangelization and social justice.
“In the midst of the diversity of ministries where they serve, and the variety of roles they exercise in their ministry, this cohort gives witness to what a community of Lasallian educators should be,” shared Brother Ernest, who serves as founding director of the Adrien Nyel Project in the District of Eastern North America.
Sue Hines, Ed.D., started the gatherings’ second day with her two-part session titled “Revealing the Lasallian Teacher Within You,” which explored The Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher as a resource to impart guidance of daily Lasallian practices and interactions with students, colleagues and parents.
In reflecting on her sessions, Hines, professor, doctor of education in leadership program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, acknowledged the uniqueness that Lasallian pedagogical immersion provides, sharing, “Lasallian pedagogy is an important topic for Lasallians because, no matter what our role is at our ministry, we are educators. Immersing ourselves in what it means to be a Lasallian educator and ways to practice Lasallian pedagogy provides a framework to think through that is unique to our Lasallian mission.”
Sorvaag led participants in a two-part session, “Loving, Leadership, and Legacy: The Heart of Lasallian Practice,” which emphasized the great opportunity and practice of interiority. He explained this time for reflection as being beneficial for both teachers and leaders in approaching both ministry and personal life. Sorvaag, professor and chair of the school of education at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, shared his takeaway that “the mission is alive and well in the hearts, minds, commitments and actions of our Lasallian community.”
The gatherings each concluded with sharing of best practices, Hines’ closing session “Continuing Your Lasallian Pedagogical Journey,” and checking in with participants on their capstone projects.
“Because of these wonderful and highly engaged Lasallians, there was great energy in the room, collaborative conversations and wonderful community building,” shared Hines. “Everyone seemed to come together to create a close community of learners and a network of colleagues who were ready to return to their ministries re-energized, rejuvenated and motivated to try new ways of engaging in their Lasallian work. It was so fun to be part of and contribute to their two-day journey.”
The fourth cohort will gather again in March 2023. Their first gatherings took place earlier this year and focused on the Founder’s story and vision.
Johnston is a two-year Regional formation program focused on deepening participants’ understanding of Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s story and vision, Lasallian pedagogy, the Lasallian promotion of justice and Lasallian spirituality while utilizing contemporary texts to inform and influence current and future Lasallian practice.
Photos provided by Andy Kuffner, Sarah Laitinen, Justin Martineau and Brother Chuck Gregor, FSC