By Brad Marchese, Spanish Teacher, St. Paul’s School, Covington, LA
“We must create these environments of hope, where people feel Loved and included. If they are sad let us encounter them in their sadness. If they are irritated let us encounter them in their anger. If they are not seeing clearly let us encounter them in their confusion.” – Brother Álvaro, Superior General, FSC
The Lasallian Family has been referred to many times as a Kaleidoscope, but as much as I thought I knew what that meant, I know now that my understanding of this metaphor was incomplete. I did not know the true depth of this statement until this week. These walls at the Generalate in Rome have been permeated by so much energy, Love, understanding, tolerance, and hope. It has been so eye-opening for me to get to know and learn so much about these Young Lasallians and their cultures. In many cases, our differences outnumbered our commonalities. Above all though, this week we celebrated those differences. We were united by our differences, and by our commitment to serving the youth and continuing our Lasallian Mission.
I believe my fellow RELAN delegate Chris Swain captured it so well when he said, “I’m humbled and inspired by what other young people are doing to forward the Lasallian Mission.” I share his sentiment. I feel inspired, and I feel connected. I feel confident that the path I’ve chosen, and that has been set before me, is the road I’m meant to be on. And although it may be “the road less traveled,” I trust the convictions that have led me here. I feel the words of the man whose inspiration led him to dream this mission into a reality. I’m inspired also by my own reality, by the faces of the students whom have been entrusted to my care. I, along with all Lasallians, have been charged with the duty and responsibility to devote oneself to being a living example and to teach not only with our words, but by our actions – to educate.
“If we want to reach the hearts of the young and keep hope alive, we must do this by witness and example, not by theories. We must march through the night.” – Brother Álvaro
I do not know why I’ve been thrusted into this position but I have to believe it was for a reason. What do I have to offer that can further the mission? I believe I have the power to be a voice, certainly not the only voice, but one of many who are working to be instruments of hope. I am here because there have been people in my life who have had faith in me, who have seen potential in me, even when I’ve had difficulty seeing it. I am here because someone believed in me. Just as someone has done this for me, we have the power to do this for our students, and the young people we encounter. We must believe in them, put our faith in them, invest in them. They are the future. As cliché and cheesy as it sounds, it is true. Joseph Gilson, the International Coordinator for Young Lasallians, reminded us of the role Adrien Nyel played in Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s life and said that we can be the Adrien Nyel for the young we serve, or for other Lasallians, of any age. We must invite them, and challenge them, and believe in them.
I am here for a reason. I am Lasallian.
Always remember to Love.