Over three weekends in July, the third cohort of the Brother John Johnston Institute of Contemporary Lasallian Practice had their first gatherings. During their time together, participants engaged in conversation and reflection on the founding story and vision. They also had time to form community through prayer and socials, which will grow as they spend time together over the next two years.
The District of Eastern North America came together July 8-11, at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. Michele Wilson, assistant clinical director at Tides Family Services in West Warwick, Rhode Island, described her time at the gathering, “There was a definite bond created throughout this gathering and I hope that the same people will be able to continue this dynamic Lasallian journey together. The energy of the room was amazing. Between the educational perspective shared by the leaders of Johnston, coupled with the association with fellow Lasallians, a definite fellowship was created and cultivated.”
Sera Maraka, a student at Bethlehem University in Palestine, who interned over the summer at Christian Brothers Conference, attended DENA’s gathering. Read Sera’s reflection on her experience at Johnston >
The Midwest District met July 13-16, at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois. Patrick Walsh, executive director of strategy and student life at Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Missouri, particularly enjoyed the leadership team of the Johnston Institute. “The leaders created a very positive and comfortable vibe. I really appreciated that. I enjoyed the entire experience, but was most impressed by the presence and engagement of program leaders. They did more than simply stand and present; they participated throughout and were present for every session during the three days. Additionally, Brother Michael Fehrenbach, FSC, Visitor of the Midwest District, was an active participant as well. It was great to speak with him and experience how he models Lasallian leadership.”
On how this experience will help her to grow as a Lasallian, Monica Kocourek, math teacher and department chair at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, shared, “Reading the biography of Saint John Baptist de La Salle was inspiring and spiritual. It increased my motivation to teach underprivileged students (28% of the students at my school qualify for free or reduced lunch). I was also inspired to remember God’s role in my work and to rely on his providence and guidance.”
The District of San Francisco New Orleans spent July 18-21 together at St. Joseph’s Camp in Duncans Mills, California. The next Johnston gatherings will occur in October. The Johnston Institute is a two-year Regional formation program with five District gatherings and one Regional gathering.
Top photo: District of Eastern North America gathering. Courtesy Brother George Van Grieken, FSC