A Little More Information
The Writings of the Founder
- Meditations. From the Lasallian Resource Center Website: “The collection of 208 meditations by St. John Baptist de La Salle, each in three parts, that cover a wide range of topics, saints, feast days, and matters directly related to the education of youth. Its focus is on the person of the teacher and the spiritual dimensions of an educator’s vocation. It is an inspiring guidepost to anyone in the ministry of education. Some of the sentiments in 17th century theology. But much of this book may be applied to one’s own journey as a Lasallian administrator and the demands that the responsibility makes.” Brother George Van Grieken, FSC, has also created a 10-minute video introduction to De La Salle’s Meditations that is also available on the LRC website.
- The Conduct of the Christian Schools. From the Lasallian Resource Center Website: “This book has served for three centuries as the basis for administering the Brothers’ schools, and it is universally held to be a milestone in the field of primary education. The organizational structure will be appealing to most Lasallian administrators, and modern equivalents might readily be imagined.”
- The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility. From the Lasallian Resource Center: “A book written by John Baptist de La Salle as a reader for inner-city boys, showing the way that they should comport themselves and behave in polite society. This is a classic work on politeness, and fun to read.” Note: a contemporary politeness book, also written by an educator, that provides a 21st century comparison to De La Salle’s work is The Essential 55, written by Ron Clark. Between these two works, one could lead a very engaging and enlightening discussion of important (but perhaps unwritten) rules of appropriate and civil behavior in our schools today.
- The Letters of John Baptist de La Salle. This collection of 134 letters written by John Baptist de La Salle (mostly to individual Brothers) are the few letters that remain from the voluminous correspondence carried on between De La Salle and each Brothers on a monthly basis from the early 1690’s until De La Salle stepped down as the leader of the Brothers in 1717. No letters written by a Brother to De La Salle remain, having been destroyed by De La Salle following the writing of his response. However, reading De La Salle’s response to Brothers and others gives us a flavor of the kinds of issues facing the Brothers in the early days on the teaching community – a number of which remain issues for educators today.
- The Explanation of the Method of Interior Prayer. From the Lasallian Resource Center: “A modern translation of a classic introduction to prayer that was provided by St. John Baptist de La Salle for his Brothers. It provides a detailed outline of the components and goals of the kind of interior prayer constantly advocated and practiced by him and by the Brothers.”
Other Helpful Resources for Use in Lasallian Formation Activities
- The Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher, by Brother Agathon (1785). From the Lasallian Resource Center Website: “This small booklet provides a contemporary translation of an insightful, heartfelt, 19th century exposition of a short of list of virtues originally provided, without comment, by John Baptist de La Salle. It is considered by many to be the most significant work in education in the Lasallian heritage, after “The Conduct of the Christian Schools.” According to the preface to the text, “Some 100 years after the first schools, it affords a kind of benchmark by which to judge the fidelity of the Institute to the founding vision. This significance is primarily because of the inherent value of the text itself but also because of it wide diffusion outside of the Institute [of the Brothers of the Christian Schools]. Translated from the original French into Italian in 1797 and into English, Spanish, Dutch, and German during the 19th century, the work was a major text in many Catholic colleges of teacher education until the 1930s.”
Resources Related to the Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher.
- Virtues Excerpts. Greg Kopra read through each of Agathon’s 12 virtues and pulled quotes that are readily applicable to today’s classroom, today’s teacher, and today’s student. For each virtue, he has created a list of these excerpts, along with a question or two for reflection. Also, he has configured each set of excerpts into a graphic that could be used instead. One virtue could be used in a 10-15-minute session in a faculty-staff meeting with great success. With Agathon’s full text, you (or your formation team) could engage in the same process of pulling statements out of the full text that you could use with your colleagues.
- Virtues Video. Ed Sirois of La Salle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island, has created a 22-minute video entitled “12 Virtues of a Good Teacher.”
- Circular 461: Associated for the Lasallian Mission – A Sign of HOPE. Written by the General Council of the Brothers of the Christian Schools in 2010, this document is the most recent official discussion of Lasallian Association, a key element of the Lasallian Charism. This document was written with groups in mind, intended to be read together and reflected on together. Each of its seven chapters can stand alone as a reflective piece. Greg Kopra has also created a study guide that provides questions for reflection for each of the chapters. (You will receive a hard copy of both the Circular and the Study Guide at the gathering)
- Bulletin 254: Stories of Hope – Associated for Our Lasallian Mission. Compiled by Brother Charlies Kitson, FSC, with assistance from the International Council for Lasallian Family and Association, this bulletin was written as a companion guide to Circular 461. It consists of statements from more than 300 Lasallians, Brothers and Lay Partners, worldwide, reflecting on various elements of Lasallian Association as articulated in Circular 461. As with Circular 461, the chapters in Bulletin 254 are short enough to be read and discussed together in relatively brief formation activities of 15-30 minutes. (You will receive a hard copy of this Bulletin at the gathering)
- In the Footsteps of De La Salle. An entire video series, hosted by Brother Gerard Rummery, FSC, taking the viewer to important places in the life of De La Salle and the earliest Brothers. (www.dlsfootsteps.org)
- Prayer and Formation Resources for Lasallian Groups. From the Lasallian Resource Center Website: “These sets of resources (all created by Brother George Van Grieken, FSC) around specific themes are meant to be used for prayer and discussion by Lasallian educators, administrators, board members, students, and others interested in pursuing their Lasallian identity. Many of these began with a Board focus and were adapted for use with school groups, teacher groups, Brother groups, and any groups of gathered Lasallians. If portions of them are used in other prayer services, it would appropriate to give proper attribution to the sources used.” Themes include:
- Lasallian Mission – Shared in Common
- Centered and Nurtured by the Life of Faith
- With Creativity and Fortitude Through Innovation
- Through the Agency of the Holy Spirit
- The Five Core Principles
- The Lasallian World of Association Today
- Evangelization and Catechesis
- Formation and Accompaniment
- Service with the Poor
- Sustainability, Accessibility, and Inclusion
- Brothers of the San Francisco New Orleans District – Videos. From the Lasallian Resource Center: “These brief 3-4 minute videos by Joseph Alexander-Short are wonderful, poignant, and inspiring insights into the lives of some of the Brothers of the San Francisco New Orleans District of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. They are part of an effort both to share the rich vocational heritage of the province and to make the vocation of the Brother more generally known and appreciated.”
- 100 Short Quotes by John Baptist de La Salle. Brother Nicholas Hutchinson, FSC
- Lasallian Videos – A Collection. Ed Sirois. From the Lasallian Resource Center: “These videos were created by Mr. Ed Sirois, a religion teacher at La Salle Academy in Providence, RI. There were made for the morning prayer times for the school’s student-body, focusing attention on a specific person, event, or commemoration that was the subject of prayer that day. Each video is short, poignant, and well-focused.” The LRC website also provides a link to Mr. Sirois’s YouTube channel.
- Lasallian Iconography – A Collection of Images from our Heritage. From the Lasallian Resource Center: A collection of 160 images and documents related to Saint John Baptist de La Salle that was prepared for the tricentenary of the birth of the Institute in 1680. They were provided as a set of large display-quality plates in an ornate blue box, and many of these are still to be found in Brothers’ communities, libraries, and elsewhere. There was also a boxed set of color slides, accompanied by a small booklet that explained each of the images. They are provided here as JPG and PDF files for the larger Lasallian family.
- Lasallian Reflections from the General Council in Rome. Every year since 2015, the General Council in Rome has written a brief reflection on a Lasallian theme. These reflections are short and include questions for reflection and discussion. Reflections published so far include: 1) A Gospel Adventure; 2) One Call, Many Voices; 3) Lasallians Without Limits; and 4) Hearts on Fire. They are meant to be used with a group and can be found at the following link:
Short Readings for Reflection and Discussion
The following readings have been used by experienced Lasallians for short formation activities in recent years and are offered to you as “tried and true” resources.
- Always on Holy Ground: Remembering the Holy Presence of God. Greg Kopra
- Are We Quick to Follow the Star? Ed Siderewicz
- Touching Hearts: The Greatest Miracle You Can Perform. Brother Jeffrey Calligan, FSC
- Spirit of Gratuity: Spirit of Opportunity. Brother Jeffrey Calligan, FSC
- One Commitment Leads to Another: Reflections on Our Journey of Faith. Greg Kopra
- A Prayer of Lasallians in Association: “Let Us Remember”. Brother Luke Salm, FSC. In AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education 8(1), 2017.
- Jesus in Lasallian Hearts. Brother Luke Salm, FSC
- The Five Core Principles: Their Origins, Integration with Catholic Identity, and Resonance Today. Brother George Van Grieken, FSC.
- The Lasallian Catechetical Heritage in Its Origins. Brother Gerard Rummery, FSC. In AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education 4(3), 2013.
- The Lasallian Catechetical Heritage in the United States Today. Brother Gerard Rummery, FSC. Brother Gerard Rummery, FSC. In AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education 4(3), 2013.
- Lasallian Catechetics and the Heart. Brother Gerard Rummery, FSC. Brother Gerard Rummery, FSC. In AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education 4(3), 2013.
- Evangelization and Catechesis: How to “Meet Christ”. Brother John Crawford, FSC. In AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education 7(2), 2016.
- Lasallian Spirituality and Association. Brother Michael Meister, FSC (in MEL 27, Lasallian Identity: Working Documents for a Workshop, May 2006, pp. 55-66).