Across two days in March, President Colleen Hanycz and La Salle University hosted Brother Gustavo Ramírez, FSC, General Councilor for Association and Mission, and Brother Rafa Matas, FSC, General Councilor for Lasallian Family and Vocations, in a rare meeting to explore the ways the university is fulfilling Lasallian association. The Brothers traveled to the U.S. from Rome, the headquarters of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The General Councilors assist the Brother Superior General in the leadership of the Institute and the larger Lasallian world.
“The focus of this visit was on how we are living out this Lasallian notion of association”, said Brother Ernest Miller, FSC, Vice President for Mission at La Salle University. “Brothers historically take five vows, one of which is the vow of association. The larger concept of association is how Brothers and our lay partners work together to achieve the Lasallian mission. St. John Baptist de la Salle founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools to be associated for mission. Brothers Gustavo and Rafa were interested in getting a sense of what are the various ways in which in our Philadelphia area, and in our individual ministries, we keep this association for mission vital and vibrant”.
In addition to meeting with University officials, the General Councilors met with members of the Philadelphia Area Lasallian Ministries (PALM). PALM is a grassroots group of Lasallian educators made up of both Brothers and lay partners, who share a desire to deepen Lasallian Association in service of the shared educational mission.
“Participants from PALM were honored to have the opportunity to meet with Brothers Gustavo and Rafa during their March visit to La Salle”, said Kate Ward-Gaus, PALM’s representative on the Association Committee and Assistant Vice President for Wellness Services at La Salle University. “The group gathered for an Evensong prayer service, and after a social and dinner, there was a discussion with the General Councilors about the founding and importance of associative groups such as PALM in the lives of lay partners in Lasallian Ministries in Philadelphia”.
Brothers Gustavo and Rafa visited only two Lasallian universities during their time in the U.S.: La Salle University and St. Mary’s College of California.