Release n. 19

A few days ago I had the opportunity to share with Lasallians in Mexico the celebration of the commitment of the Association of Lourdes Lavaniegos. Lourdes is a very involved Lasallian, she is also rector of the La Salle University of Pachuca. Since the beginning of this year a group of teachers began an experience of community in this Lasallian work. She has been accompanied in this process by Brother Pedro Orbezua. At the end of a retreat for more than 60 educators and Brothers he read the following text:

Association commitment form

God, One and Triune: you gave me the gift of life, you showed me how to live it and you accompany me along the way. Conscious of your presence, after a process of discernment and dialogue with my husband, before you and those around me, I want to answer your call.

And, for this purpose, I, María de Lourdes Lavaniegos González, pledge my commitment to:

Collaborate with the Brothers of the Christian Schools and lay Lasallians, together and by association, in the mission of educating the people you have entrusted to our care, paying particular attention to the poorest.
To watch over my spiritual development by sharing my faith with those around me.

To have my eyes fixed on your signs, my heart lighted by prayer and my
hands ready to answer what you might ask of me.

I promise to fulfill this commitment for a year.

Lord, grant me the humility, the prudence and the wisdom so that your greatness becomes visible through my daily work and contributes to the construction of the Kingdom of love to which you call us. Give me the strength of your Spirit, to be a faithful witness of your truth united to all Lasallians of the world.

In faith of the foregoing, I sign in Tetela, Cuernavaca on September 28, 2019.

At the end of the ceremony, I asked her to explain to me the motivations that had led her to take this step:

“The tasks for the Director of a Lasallian work, as I understand them, are threefold: first, that there be stability so as not to worry about petty matters and thus dedicate oneself entirely to education, as the Founder lived it; second, that “the school go well”, as he described it; and third, that there be a community of teachers who, living the charism, nourish and strengthen the relationships within the school.

The first task is accomplished with a good course of administration and is easily tested, auditing the financial results. The second is done with teacher formation and is tested, not so easily, through student assessment.

But the third, which offers background and depth to the other two and which is really the origin of Lasallian education, cannot be proven, because a true community is the union of the hearts that beat to the same thing  and that cannot be seen with the naked eye… There is no certainty.

When reading “It is a good standard of conduct not to distinguish between the affairs of the state and the problems of one’s own salvation and perfection…”. (R.P.3.0.3) and listening to Brother Schieler ask that we form faith communities. You can’t close your eyes and ears if you want to be a Lasallian.

That’s why I asked to make an explicit promise of association, detailing the reasons for my discernment:

  • Because I am weak and I need to make a serious commitment to develop my spirituality in order to spread it.
  • Because in Pachuca, although we are well accompanied by the community of Brothers in Mexico City; in the daily journey, there is no one who is “memory and guarantee” of the charism, and it is easy to err the path in an imperceptible way, for that reason an associated community would do an invaluable service.
  • Because the community of educators, in order to have an identity, requires us to make it clear that we are part of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and that, although this protects us, it also obliges us to an obedience in dialogue that allows us to remain united in diversity.
  • Because we need to reveal to the Brothers our circumstances as lay people, because sometimes they do not perceive them and ignore them.
  • Because our local Church needs to take us seriously as a community building the Kingdom of God.
  • Because the multi-religious society that shelters us must notice that our educational intention starts from the Christian inspiration that defines us and that it is an inclusive and pertinent option in today’s world.

A few days ago I made the explicit promise to associate myself with the Lasallians of the world, it was a day of strong emotions: nervousness, joy; but above all it was a day in which I was accompanied by the Brothers, by my husband and by the dear members of the community of associates that is growing little by little in our University.  I hope to be the first of many and well, someone had to start.

Just as I treasure my marriage certificate, because one day we feel the need to announce with strong and clear voices our identity as a couple, so I will treasure the certificate that I signed yesterday, because I have felt the need to announce that the Lasallian charism has penetrated to my bones and for me, to say it in a strong and clear way means “not to make a distinction between the matters proper to my state and those of my salvation.  Lourdes Lavaniegos. Pachuca, Mexico.”

As usual we invite you to reflect on some questions:
1.- How do you live to “form a community of faith”?
2.- What challenges you in this testimony? What affirms you?

Rome, 15 October 2019
Mrs. Heather Ruple Gilson and Brother Paco Chiva,
Secretaries for the Association.

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