Today we brought the Chapter to a close. We began with another photo event in the cool of the morning before moving inside for a few procedural matters and an address by Brother Superior. In his remarks, Brother Armin noted ‘what we are experiencing today is not new to the history of the Institute.’ He used the image of the disciples who were encouraged to throw their net over the other side by the Risen Jesus. This call to renewal and recommitment is a familiar one at a Chapter and there is a palpable eagerness here to respond.
Even though this Chapter was shorter by comparison with others, the days were long and the weeks were intense—there were moments when we had to remind ourselves that when you’re in the middle of the forest, keep walking. Though it’s too early to ask, there will always be those asking what did this Chapter do? Don’t tell me about the inspired decisions, words and gestures, some will say, what is the impetus, the import? But it’s difficult to answer that question now, for the real story of a Chapter is written in the years following, less by those who were capitulants than by those who integrate its meaning into daily life. We are all too close to the event to describe what it has “done” because nothing is done until people do something with it in daily life.
Certainly this can be said: the Chapter has offered hope, one of the theological tent poles without which the Institute cannot thrive. And along with hope the Chapter has offered a fresh take on fraternity, one that seeks to deepen our sense of a “Lasallian We.” The words of Parker Palmer speak to the potential of these two dynamisms: “Imparting hope to others has nothing to do with exhorting or cheering them on. It has everything to do with relationships that honor the soul, encourage the heart, inspire the mind, quicken the step, and heal the wounds we suffer along the way.”
The paths to conversion, even if beautifully expressed during the Chapter, begin not with eloquent statements but with the simplicity of caring. May the relationships that are central to our community be deepened and broadened in the transformative paths we walk together.
Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC, served as General Councilor for the Lasallian Region of North America from his election at the 45th General Chapter on May 22, 2014, through the election of new Councilors at the 46th General Chapter, on May 20, 2022, which included Brother Chris Patiño, FSC, from the District of San Francisco New Orleans. Brother Tim has provided reflections throughout the 46th General Chapter, which were shared on Lasallian.info and on Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about the General Chapter here and from the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Search #FSC46GC on social media for more highlights. Visit the General Councilor’s page for previous reflections by Brother Tim >
Photo courtesy Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools Communications Service