“Accepting the first invitation to attend Saint Mary’s started my life on a path I would have never expected.” – Ms. Alisa Macksey
“In the gospel, the risen Lord calls his disciples to a new future. Lost and uncertain about what to do, they decide to return to their former lives as fishermen. But as is often the case, Christ interrupts their routine to renew their call to follow him. Despite all that he had taught them before, they still needed to learn more. We might apply a modern lens to his invitation and call it a mandate for continuing formation. As Lasallians we too are called to cast our nets over the ‘right side of the boat’ and not to return to our former ‘lives’ …lives that afforded us the comfort of the ‘known.’ No, Christ is now ‘interrupting’ our Lasallian journey with a new mandate to explore roads untraveled in faith and zeal.” – Circular 461, 1.2
My Lasallian journey can be described as a series of invitations. As a student at Saint Mary’s College of California, I was invited to consider getting involved with campus activities. It was an invitation from my Anthropology professor to be a part of a pilot study abroad program that took me to South Africa for a semester. It was an invitation to run for student body president that provided me with the opportunity to become more involved with student life at Saint Mary’s. It was an invitation from the Brother President to consider joining the Lasallian Volunteers.
It was that last invitation that took me from Concord, CA to Kansas City, MO as a Lasallian Volunteer. Living in community with the Brothers, working with adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses during the day, and tutoring middle schools students in the early evening, that exposed me to the Lasallian Mission and provided me with a deep appreciation of the Lasallian tenants of Faith, Service, and Community. Through this experience I grew in my faith, learned professional skills, and experienced the true meaning of Lasallian Association for mission. It was the support system the Lasallian Family provided that gave me the courage to stay in Kansas City and work for a local non-profit organization working with Latino youth. Regular dinners at my former community continued, as well a chance to build community with other Lasallians at the Lasallian community Holy Family Catholic Worker House allowed me to find a place in the Lasallian Family, and really understand my vocation to live as a Lasallian Educator. I had found a “home” that gave me a sense of belonging and purpose.
A year later came another invitation, to consider applying for a job with the Lasallian Volunteers as the Associate Director. Again, it was the support of the Lasallian Family that gave me the courage to pack and move from Kansas City, MO to Washington, DC. My Lasallian journey continued and four years later, it was the invitation to become the Director of the LVs. It was a rewarding experience working for a program that had given me so much support and formation in my early years in Lasallian Education. But, soon another invitation came my way- to be the Director of Regional Programs for Christian Brothers Conference as we moved into a new Regional Structure.
Accepting the first invitation to attend Saint Mary’s started my life on a path I would have never expected. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone of the “known.” Each invitation interrupted the path of my Lasallian journey and put me on a new path. A path of new challenges and opportunities. To help me through my journey has been the Lasallian Family. I have been accompanied by amazing and inspiring people. People who have taught me many things and helped me to grow professionally and personally.
Now it is my turn. To continually extend the invitation to others. To accompany them on their journeys. To invite others to experience this Lasallian Mission through the Huether Lasallian Conference, Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies, Brother John Johnston Institute for Contemporary Lasallian Practice, Lasallian Social Justice Institute, and to always look for new ways to invite others to the Mission. With every step I take in my Lasallian journey, I realize, with renewed faith and zeal, the importance of extending – and accepting – invitations. It is through invitations into the Lasallian Family, and accompanying those who accept the invitations, that we will keep the Lasallian Mission strong, relevant, and viable for years to come as we transform lives of those entrusted to our care.