Autore: Maex Joke
Professional advisor on lasallian identity and pastoral care
Last month of November 2019, the Delegation of Belgium North decided to complete the tricentenary by a three day Assembly for all the schools of our network reflecting on what it means to be a network of school associated around ‘one heart, one commitment, one life’.
On this occasione about one hundred pupils, teachers, headmasters, members of the Boards of Governors and professional advisors gathered at ter Helme, a residence near the Belgian coast, to work together for three days. The goals of the three days were:
- To value the uniqueness of each of our schools based on a genuine commitment to the lasallian educational mission in loyal community with the larger network of schools within VLP.
- To acquire a stronger interiorisation of the lasallian mission and its present day challenges.
- To appreciate a participative school policy as an added value specific to the school and to our lasallian network.
Each and every school has its own story, based on the schoolcontext, but all our schools have one story in common – the founding story of Jean-Baptiste De La Salle. The challenges De La Salle faced in his time could only be adressed by a community of people who called themselves brothers, associated for the transformative human and Christian education of the young, especially the poor. Today in our schools the Brothers have disappeared, lay teachers have entered the schools and the school policy. From their dedication to education, they work together and in mutual solidarity on an educational project that offers opportunities and creates a world which is more beautiful, more tolerant and warmer.
Together we’ve reflected upon this dedication as a vocation, as a work we do together and in association. Lectures, workshops, silent and guided meditation, reflections in the school team and exchanges with other school teams brought us, as a group, closer to our mission. If we want to work in favour of the most vulnerable, we must be able to hear their voices in our schools. This demands an inclusive school culture, and a participative school policy, based on the charism of our founder.
But we’ve also celebrated the tricentenary. An exhibition of artworks on ‘being a lasallian school today’ was opened in the presence of Brs. Alberto Gomez and Herman Lombaerts. Fourteen artworks were presented, created by fourteen different teams of artists – teachers, pupils, headmasters, members of the schoolboard and professional advisors – each with its own connection to the lasallian mission and its own language to express it.
At the end of the journey each school of our network received a new symbol of their belonging to the network of lasallian schools in Belgium North: a bright lasallian star, shining for the next decades.
The first lasallian schools were established in Saint-Hubert in 1791. Others in 1815 and in 1830 (after Belgium became indipendent). The belgian district was officially Founded in 1834 and in 1840 there were 124 Brothers in the schools.
In the second half of the 20th century, a crisis of religious vocations affected the District. In fact is now a Delegation.
At the moment there are 44 Brothers and 2,168 teachers (1,584 women and 584 men). The istitutions are 31 and the total amount of students is 17,921.