Being Builders of Hope

Sarah_croppedBy Sarah Laitinen, Teacher, The San Miguel School of Providence, RI

We are two days into the 3rd International Symposium of Young Lasallians and it has been a transformative experience to gather with Young Lasallians from across the globe. We have had inspiring speakers and meaningful dialogue around topics that are allowing us to build hope together. As we met with our Regional groups on Sunday evening, I was amazed how quickly we all reconnected after our pre-symposium meeting prior to the Huether Conference. It was great to be back together and continue on our journeys together as we began the Symposium.

When the opening ceremony began on Monday morning, it was a moving experience to have all delegates accompanied by Brothers gather in the main chapel. As we processed to the altar, it was powerful to have the relics of Saint La Salle in our background. The Founder’s actions to serve those most in need is one part of the founding story where we can find ourselves and become images of De La Salle. As we all individually have all our own hopes and dreams for Young Lasallians, we are blessed to be a part of this symposium so we have an opportunity to allow our dreams become a collective dream. It is our hope that these dreams become a part of our shared Lasallian identity.

As I was preparing for the symposium, I found myself reflecting on the theme of Building Hope Together. I love being a Lasallian because of our community. We are called to our vocation by God to share the Lasallian Educational Mission with thousands of men and women around the globe. We are not alone and as Brother Álvaro said in his session, “we work together to build a world that is more livable and attentive to the needs of the poor.”

Young Lasallians are coming from diverse ministries and searching for God so our hearts may be opened to serving those most in need. Brother Thomas Johnson, Vicar General, challenges us to identify the poor in our own reality. How do we respond to the needs of the poor as an individual? As a community? As the Institute? We respond by allowing our hearts to become opened so that we may be witnesses to each other and accompany each other on our shared journeys. This empowerment is giving a voice to the young and allowing them to be seen, heard, and loved within our Lasallian Family.

As we start to look toward the future of Young Lasallians, I am empowered by the building of hope that has occurred in the first two days of the symposium. We are building bridges between our Regions and responding to our vocational call as a new community. We heard a song from Papua New Guinea with some lyrics that I will carry with me as a lifelong Lasallian “In this world you and I are called to give every young life the hope to live.”

Let us all remember to continue to be builders of hope for all those who have been entrusted to our care.

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