Lasallian Global Women’s Symposium
Auckland, New Zealand
Capturing Each Other’s Breath
The lobby of the Crowne Plaza in downtown Auckland looked like a human rainbow as we gathered from Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, PNG, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.
We were welcomed in a traditional sacred ritual called the Maori Powhiri. This ritual consists of calls and responses by the leaders, to which the welcoming Maori conduct a ritual dance to acknowledge their ancestors (who these lands belong to) and to welcome us and our ancestors to this land. The ritual culminated with the touching of noses by which you capture the breath of the other and thus become welcomed friends. It was magnificent!
After we entered the room, the planning team conducted a role call. Each participant’s name was called and the person responded in their native language “I am here.”
Sitting in a room of Lasallians from across the globe and knowing that each person brings with them the hearts and thoughts of other Lasallians it provided a deep sense of the richness of this mission and the transformational role of women that has emerged in the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools over the past 50 years. The recognition that the Holy Spirit calls many to enter into the vineyard of teaching as a vocational response to Her promptings is a gift of the Brothers to the Church.
We are privileged to have Brother Robert Schieler present with us for the Symposium. Brother Robert address the gathering last evening and told us that he is here to be “present, to listen and to be of support.”
Associate Director, DENA Office for Mission and Ministry