Pope Francis recently addressed the Lasallian Brothers, formally known as the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, gathered for their 46th General Chapter.

The congregation was founded in France in the 17th century by Jean-Baptiste De La Salle and is the largest order of religious brothers dedicated to education in the Catholic Church.

Pointing to the theme of the general chapter, ‘Building new pathways to transform lives’, the pope noted that for the De La Salle Brothers these “new pathways” are, above all, educational paths they walk in the many schools, colleges and universities they run in some 100 countries across the world.

The pope said this is a “big responsibility” for which to be grateful because “educational work is a great gift”, first of all for those who do it. “It demands a lot but also gives a lot. The constant relationship with educators, parents and especially with children and young people is an ever-living source of humanity, despite all the hardships and problems that it entails,” he added. 

Pope Francis further highlighted that with their work, the Brothers of Christian Schools offer the values of their rich pedagogical tradition. “You educate to responsibility, creativity, coexistence, justice and peace. You educate to the interior life, to be open to the transcendent dimension, to the sense of wonder and contemplation in the face of the mystery of life and creation. You live all this and interpret it in Christ, and translate it into the fullness of humanity,” the pope said.

“I am reminded of the motto of St John Paul II in Redemptor hominis: ‘Man is the way of the Church’. You implement this motto in the educational mission,” he said.

Noting that the world is experiencing an “educational emergency”, which has been made more acute by the consequences of the pandemic, Pope Francis drew attention to the two great challenges of our time: that of fraternity and that of caring for our common home, which, he said, can only be addressed through education. “The educational pact has been broken and now the state, educators and families are separated. We must seek a new pact and work together.”

He remarked that the Christian community is not only aware of these challenges, but also committed “to build new ways to transform lifestyles” and that the De la Salle Brothers are an active part of this process. “Indeed... you are on the frontline in educating to pass from a closed to an open world; from a throwaway culture to a culture of care; from pursuing partisan interests to pursuing the common good,” he said.

You are on the frontline in educating to pass from a closed to an open world; from a throwaway culture to a culture of care; from pursuing partisan interests to pursuing the common good- Pope Francis

“As educators you know all too well that this transformation must start from the conscience, or it will only be a facade. And you also know that you cannot do this work alone but by cooperating in an ‘educational alliance’ with families, communities and ecclesial groups.”

Pope Francis encouraged the De La Salle Brothers to continue “evangelising by educating and educating by evangelising”, recalling that “a Christian educator is, above all, a witness of Christ and is a teacher to the extent that he is a witness”.

(This article was first published in Vatican News and is being republished with permission.)


De La Salle Brothers in Malta

In Malta, the De La Salle Brothers run two colleges – De La Salle College in Cottonera and Stella Maris College in Gżira. The Brothers also run a retreat centre in Mellieħa.

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