The Chapter’s Path:
A Journey Made During a Pandemic
and members of the Lasallian Family,
The road that has brought us to this presentation of the documents of the 46th General Chapter has been a long one, longer than usual.
On May 2, 2019, the Chapter journey began when Brother Superior General and his Council announced it and appointed a Preparatory Commission, seven Brothers who would meet a few months later to design the Chapter process. A year later, on April 30, 2020, when the COVID pandemic – a health situation that was to change everything – had just begun, the General Council published Circular 476, formally convoking the 46th General Chapter. By that time, the Preparatory Commission, based on recommendations from the General Council, had designed a different kind of Chapter, shorter than usual and intended to be fresh, inspiring, outside the realm of what was considered familiar – our usual comfort zones, our own structures – in a “new environment in which to renew our hearts and minds, discerning a new pathway so as to respond to the invitation of Pope Francis to exercise barefoot leadership. The location chosen was Pattaya, Thailand, and the motto of the Chapter was Building New Paths to Transform Lives.”
After the publication of Circular 476, the process of electing the delegates and appointing other participants began. There would be 70 capitulants: 11 by right, 50 elected by the Brothers of the Districts, and 9 appointed by Brother Superior. To this were added 13 consultors and 2 invited Lasallian Sisters. The Preparatory Commission also decided, in order to follow a different style, that a person from outside the Institute should facilitate its development and propose a different methodology. Sister Leslie Sándigo, a religious of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, accepted our invitation to be the facilitator. She proposed that we follow the methodology of “Appreciative Inquiry”, which builds from the recognition of the good things that we already have, celebrating these with the joy of thanksgiving. It then moves boldly into an articulation of our own truth, identifying what gives us life and what will bring us to the future that we desire.
The pandemic, however, altered our plans, delaying the process by a year and changing the Chapter’s location. There were months of confinement, difficulties of all kinds, death and hope, irreparable losses, contagions and vaccinations, along with virtual meetings that tried to replace personal ones. Creativity was put
to the test. After various doubts and hesitations, it was decided to return the location of the Chapter to Rome. The Preparatory Commission still underlined its desire that the spirit of renewal that had brought us first to Thailand should continue to permeate the Chapter in Rome. And on Sunday, May 1, 2022, we had the solemn opening of the 46th General Chapter at the Casa Generalizia.
The process and methodology proposed by the Preparatory Commission was quickly approved and adopted by the Chapter delegates. It also led us to a new vocabulary, with different terms replacing our traditional “proposals.” The Chapter identified the challenge and its conditions, along with the dream and the values it requires. They determined processes of conversion that we have to undertake to overcome our fears and allow ourselves to be challenged by the Gospel. The final step was to design paths of transformation and synodality that will shape and define our future. There were three proposed themes: Association for
Mission; Leadership, Sustainability, and Governance; and Life of the Brothers. These facilitated our introspection and opened up paths for reflection.
Among the various activities were “Marketplace” sessions, distributed over several days, whereby different Secretariats were able to present their achievements since the last Chapter, as well as share their perspectives and proposals for the future. Each phase contributed to the final results.
In this document, we provide the results of the 46th General Chapter, a Chapter that proposes an Institute that is more prophetic and ecological; an Institute that lives in solidarity and has clear objectives; an Institute that is a bearer of hope, fraternal and synodal; an Institute that is dynamic and open to the new; an Institute that is a place of welcome, sensitive to the needs of those on the human peripheries. The Chapter also chose a team of Brothers to lead these life-transforming journeys into the future, to encourage us to live the authenticity of our vocation, communion in diversity, and a solidarity that sustains us in our fragility. May the fruits of the tree that we have planted and nurtured together be abundant and sweet.