On Tuesday, 1 October 2019, Mr. Rafael Morera and his wife, Mrs. Vivian Morera, received Letters of Affiliation to the Institute at the Generalate in Rome. Mr. Morera is a former student from La Salle in Cuba and, together with his wife, they have helped to build and improve various Lasallian educational centers: The Center for Girl‘s Promotion in Anosibe (Madagascar), classrooms for kindergarten and primary education in Trujillo and Lima (Peru), and the Guadalupana Sisters‘ school in Rwanda. At this moment, they also support various educational activities in Cuba. His generosity is great but his love and passion for the Lasallian mission is even greater. The Letters of Affiliation were requested by Brother Timothy Coldwell on behalf of the RELAN Region and presented to them by Brother Robert Schieler, Superior General.

Mr. Morera thanked the Institute for this distinction in a letter sent to Br. Timothy. The following contains excerpts from this letter.

The special affiliation with the La Salle Christian Brothers Institute that was granted to us . . . is a blessing that we will receive with humility and joy.

The La Salle Brothers and their message have been for me the center of my life; our children and grandchildren know that La Salle has been my rock.

I attended the Brothers school in Havana since I was five years old until 1960 when I was fourteen. That was the moment when the Cuban government declared itself communist and closed down all Catholic schools. All priests and brothers of different orders running the schools were expelled out of the country.

It was literally in the La Salle School attending classes that day when a crowd came in and started ransacking the school and took the Brothers to prison, an experience that cannot be forgotten.

Soon after I left Cuba to come to the U.S. under Operation Peter Pan for unaccompanied children. At seventeen I ended up in New York City to start a new life and get a job at Saks Fifth Avenue right next to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. It was at St. Patrick’s that God connected me again with La Salle. There is an altar in the cathedral dedicated to our Founder and it was in those pews in front of the altar that I spent lots of time over my whole life thinking and praying to guide me. I felt that La Salle never left me and continued to be with me during my life.

This affiliation was scheduled to coincide with the Year of Lasallian Vocations, which marks the 300th anniversary of Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s entry into eternal life and celebrates the impact of the mission he started. The 300th anniversary offered a special opportunity to recognize, honor and celebrate these Lasallians whose hearts are on fire for the mission.