Brother Robert Schieler, General Councilor for the United States-Toronto Region reports on the recently concluded month long meeting of the Institute’s General Council in Rome.
During the month of February 2009, we met with all the secretariats and services, dialoguing with them on the Institute’s plans to accomplish the recommendations and outcomes from the International Assembly and the 44th General Chapter.
Our time together overlapped with the special CIL (International Lasallian Center) session where 36 Brothers and 32 colleagues from around the world explored and delved deeper into the development and evolution of Lasallian Association. The global experiences in association are varied. From Africa, where much work remains to be done, to communities in Spain where colleagues-single and married-live in community, share financial resources and make public commitments to the Lasallian mission, in some cases, for life.
Responses to a survey on the status of Lasallian Association in the Districts are being received from Visitors around the world. This important study will provide the Institute with the latest understandings and experiences of association. The Lasallian Family and Association Secretariat will analyze the information and prepare a report for the Superior General and General Council. The Council will spend a week in June reflecting on the report’s findings and propose some concrete next steps fostering a better understanding of Lasallian association across the Institute.
The Church and the Institute in Africa
The General Council also spent some time on the reality of the Church and Institute in Africa. We are blessed with vocations to the Brothers’ life in Africa but face many challenges-financial, social, cultural and political-to the work of the Institute and Church on this vast continent with so much potential. The General Council met with the Visitors of Africa in Nairobi last November. At our meeting this month we held two days of formation for ourselves listening and dialoguing with two Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) who have had a long experience in Africa. We also sent a response to the Visitors of Africa addressing their concerns and offering recommendations in the area of formation, finances, collaboration and re-structuring so as to make the Lasallian mission both more efficient and effective. The mission in Africa must remain a priority for us all. A hopeful sign is the collaboration of many religious congregations to meet the health and educational needs of the people of the Sudan. A new Brothers’ community is being established comprised of two Australian Brothers and one Indian Brother. They will be involved in an education endeavor.
Brother Rober Schieler, FSC