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Virtual Gatherings Bring Lasallians Together

Despite not being able to gather in person for traditional summer programs, Lasallians in Regional formation programs remained connected online. The Office for Lasallian Education at Christian Brothers Conference hosted virtual  sessions  of the  Brother John Johnston Institute of Contemporary Practice, the Lasallian Social Justice Institute and the Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies. These opportunities allowed Lasallians to connect for prayer, community building, learning and sharing with one another. Over the course of the summer, more than 120 Lasallians met online in these formation experiences.

Lasallian Social Justice Institute (LSJI)

The Lasallian Social Justice Institute (LSJI) was held virtually July 20-22, 2021, for a program focused on creating awareness of the present reality of the Blackfeet American Indian Tribe, how this reality has been impacted by historical events and how the first step of creating awareness leads to addressing the Indigenous concerns in Browning, Montana. Participants spent time exploring the struggles of the Blackfeet tribe and engaging with members of the tribe. Participant Lisa Pollock from De La Salle College “Oaklands” in Toronto, Ontario, shared, “As a Lasallian, I remind myself of the core Lasallian values and the need to focus on equality and service to others. I am hopeful that through education and a willingness to work together with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, that societies can change.”

Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies

Participants of the Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies gathered virtually throughout June, July and August for informal programming. The virtual gatherings included a roundtable table talk with Brother Superior General Robert Schieler, FSC, a presentation and facilitated discussion with the co-secretaries of Lasallian Association Brother Paco Chiva, FSC, and Heather Ruple Gilson on various topics ranging from current thinking on association for mission and the lived experience of the Lasallian family. Participants also came together for sessions on the recently published A Conversation for the Lasallian Family, and building community through multi-media presentations. Participants went on a weeklong facilitated home retreat based on the book, Meditations for the Time of Retreat: A Lasallian Home Retreat. The retreat was facilitated by Brother Vincent Pelletier, FSC, author, and Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC, General Councilor, editor. “At the end of the week, I was inspired, enriched and renewed,” shared Greg Kopra, a member of the Buttimer faculty and a retreatant from the District of San Francisco New Orleans.

Brother John Johnston Institute of Contemporary Lasallian Practice

Participants of the Brother John Johnston Institute of Contemporary Lasallian Practice gathered as a Regional group July 12-15, 2021. The gathering was themed “Lasallian Vocation, Spirituality and Association.” Brother James Joost, FSC, and Janell Kloosterman, AFSC, presented on Lasallian vocation. The presentation included looking through the lens of the Lasallian worldview and developing a culture of vocation at ministries. Brother John Crawford, FSC, presented on Lasallian spirituality and asked participants to share how De La Salle’s life has guided and impacted their own spirituality. Dr. Mary Catherine Fox, AFSC, and Brother Michael French, FSC, presented on Lasallian association. They dove deep into the historical foundation of Lasallian association and how participants can identify future possibilities of association in their own lives, ministries, Institute, cultures and Lasallian world. Participant Alicia Valdivia from Justin-Siena High School in Napa, California, shared, “My biggest takeaway is that no matter what, I should always continue to grow in my faith and formation of who I am as a person but also as a Lasallian educator. Saint John Baptist de La Salle was so ahead of his time, and the mission of the Brothers is just as relevant and important today as it was over 300 years ago.”

Learn more about the formation and education programs from the Office for Lasallian Education >