"The experience of Association in the District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea (ANZPPNG) is unique and reflects the diverse realities of our District. From secondary schools in Australia and New Zealand, scattered across rural and urban settings and staffed almost entirely by Lasallian partners for many years; to remarkably remote primary schools and urban teachers colleges and high schools in Papua New Guinea; to the daily witness of peaceful community at schools for both Christian and Muslim students in Pakistan; to the breadth and depth of services for children, young people, and families delivered by Yourtown1 - welcome to our end of the world! Please enjoy these reflections from Lasallians all over ANZPPNG as they express what living Association means to them." (Amanda Proulx)
EXPERIENCING A SENSE OF VOCATION
"Moving from having a job within a Lasallian organisation to having a Lasallian Vocation is not something 1 planned or indeed recognised as happening, until at some point it just became my way of being. It feels like I got here through each interaction, through each formal and informal formation activity where I learnt a little more about the Mission and about myself. I am not sure there will ever be an end point..." (Tracy Adams, CEO, you rtown, AU) "My story is perhaps very similar to other educators in the Lasallian world in that I was educated by the DLS Brothers at Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth, New Zealand. It was here that I learned how to navigate throughout life. The benefit of returning to teach at a Lasallian school was that I had witnessed the Brothers in action. I live my life hoping that I add value to the lives of our good college men who walk in, then out of, the gates of FDMC." (Tim Stuck, Princi-pal-elect, Francis Douglas Memorial Col-lege, New Plymouth, NZ) "In the PNG context, unlike the other three Sectors, most of the Lasallian teachers work in non-Lasallian institutes, especially the primary sector. Through association I am able to discover my Lasallian vocation. That has shaped my life in such an extraor-dinary way. I was and am able to discover new encounters that challenge me to be creative and innovative for the mission to the service of those entrusted to my care." (Aloysius Jalapuin, Principal, Ibab Primary School and Lasallian Family Area Coordina-tor for East Sepik Province, PNG)
EXPERIENCING A SENSE OF BELONGING
"Overall, Lasallian Youth Gathering 2019 wasn't like anything I have experienced before. Never before have I been in a community where everyone is so welcoming and in unity. The highlights for me were meeting new people, students, teachers, volunteers and leaders alike." (Student, LYG 2019) "[Lasallian Student Leaders Seminar] as a whole was hands down one of the most amazing experiences of my life. LSLS allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and perform with confidence for the first time, and allowed me to overcome my fear of meeting new people and connect with complete strangers in amazing ways. It made me want to do good for the world and speak up. I now have the confidence to fulfill my role as a student leader and make change." (Student, LSLS 2020) "Eight years ago I participated in a Lasallian Heritage seminar as an orientation to the Lasallian char-ism. We were asked when we felt most Lasallian, and I replied that I was a Sister of St Joseph and too enmeshed in that Charism to ever feel anything else, but I could understand why I felt at home with all things Lasallian. Fast forward four years. I was in Pakistan with a group of women teachers, Christian and Muslim, from the school at Faisalabad. Many had worked at the school for years and I asked them why. They spoke of feeling at home, of serving the poor, of shared values. I found myself saying 'of course, that is what we Lasallians do'. In that moment I realised it was possible to embrace and en-mesh two charisms and to feel at home in both. My sense of belonging is born of acceptance, respect, hospitality and mutuality. Deeper than that even, is the intuitive recognition of a shared Charism and shared values. The knowledge that somehow these are my people." (Sister Antoinette Baldwin, RSJ, Health Care Coordinator for the Brothers, ANZPPNG) "During this pandemic most of the time I have spent in the community with the Brothers. It has given me an opportunity to spend very quality time with them. We pray together, eat together, do our online assignments, and in the evening we play together and have fun. Being a Director of the community I have a responsibility to look after my Brothers. Thanks to technology I have also been in regular touch with most of our students, assisting them in different matters. This time has allowed me to grow deeper in my relationship with God and with my community." (Brother Rehman Javed, Vice Principal LaSalle Higher Secondary School, Multan, PK)
EXPERIENCING A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MISSION
"I am a first generation Maronite Catholic, my parents fled Lebanon to give their family a promising future in Australia. Fast forward 20 years and I am a graduate of a Catholic university where the Brothers were instrumental in its de-velopment and I am a beginning teacher at a Lasallian School. From the moment I accepted the position I was graced with wonderful relationships where the Mis-sion unites lay partners and Brothers, equally... Giving opportunities to young people and accompanying them as they take the leap from school into the world is such an honour." (Joanne Nehme,
Lasallian Volunteers Coordinator, ANZPPNG) "Working in this District and being part of the Young Lasallians Team feels like you belong to some-thing bigger than the school you work in and even bigger than the country you are in, and there is a very real sense that collectively you are working towards something greater. This feeling is most evi-dent at large gatherings, where there is a variety of people from different backgrounds, all bound by the one commonality. I have also been in a remote village in India and felt extremely comfortable with the people I was with given that we shared this Lasallian background. That is what Association is all about." (Joel Harriss, Youth Minister and former Lasallian Volunteer, St James College East Bentleigh, AU)
COMMUNAL EXPERIENCES OF ASSOCIATION
"Br Ignatius Kennedy was a lecturer at Holy Trinity Teachers' Col-lege in 1997 when he saw the need for teacher training which included Lasallian For-mation. Today there are over 500 teachers who embrace the Lasallian charism spread throughout this geo-graphically rugged and culturally diverse coun-try. Family is a very im-portant cultural principle in Papua New Guinea, and to be the "Lasallian Family" means that we are bonded and connected by our love for children and young people, for teaching, for serving God, and for providing a quality Christian and Human education. The Lasallian charism is a living hope for teachers in this beautiful developing country." (Grace Wrakia, Lasallian Family PNG National Coordinator).
John Paul College Rotorua Signum Fidei Community. "The inspiration to form SF rose from several staff members wit-nessing the work and dedication of a community of Brothers based at John Paul College in the late 90's. Br Ambrose Payne invited a group of teachers to form the community, and we were accom-panied through 12 months of dis-cernment by Brother Ray Khan
who supported and encouraged us. The JPC SF community includes members from many faith denom-inations. Our common bond is to serve those students "entrusted to our care." This is not limited to their academic needs, we want to be witnesses of faith, supporting the students in their faith journey, showing care to those most in need. We see our SF journey as a walk of Faith and Service in building up our Community." (Bernadette Frederickson, Campus Minister/Lasallian Facilitator, JPC Rotorua, NZ).
Increasing Recognition of Benefactors and Invitations to be Affiliates. "My life has truly been blessed as an educator at Oakhill College. I have been given so many opportu-nities by the De La Salle Brothers to share in their amazing work where each individual student is at the heart of the work we do. To be made an Affiliated Member of the Brothers of the Christian Schools is a real honour and privilege. It is an honour that I share with my supportive family, the Mission Oak-hill team and the amazing colleagues that accompany me 'to fight the good fight.' Most importantly, the students of Oakhill College are the true heroes in my Lasallian journey." (Chris Goodman, Director of Mission, Oakhill College, Castle Hill, AU)"
Thank you to each of you who have reflected your Lasallian vocation in this communication. We thank Amanda Proulx, Director of Formation for the District for compiling these reflections.
Two questions to start the dialogue with your group or community 1. What does each of these testimonies inspire you? 2. How can you continue to deepen the sense of Association in your ministry?
Live Jesus in our hearts!
Ms. Heather Ruple Gilson and Br. Paco Chiva Co-Secretaries of Association 15 October 2020