District Brothers pose with newly elected Superior General. Pictured (l to r): Brs. Richard Galvin, Armin Luistro (Superior General), Robert Schaefer (Provincial/Visitor of DENA), Michael Andrejko, Robert Schieler (former Superior General), and Ernest Miller.
Brothers Gather from Around the World
From May 1 to May 22, 2022, eighty-eight Brother delegates and select Lasallian Partners representing every Region, District and ministry type gathered in Rome for the 46th General Chapter of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
The General Chapter, which has occurred every seven years since 1700AD, is the most important governing assembly of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools…together with the International Assembly of the Lasallian Educational Mission (IALEM) they constitute the representative assemblies that evaluate, discuss, and plan the future of the Institute. Guided by the Global Compact on Education and the Declaration on the Lasallian Educational Mission, the General Chapter will define our paths to continue transforming lives. Our District was represented by delegate Brs. Robert Schaefer (Provincial/Visitor), Richard Galvin, Michael Andrejko, as well as Ernest Miller (Preparatory Commission) and Robert Schieler (Superior General).
The General Chapter has a direct impact on the life of the Brothers, the governance of the Institute, and the development of the Lasallian educational mission, which was examined and discussed in depth by the IALEM. The General Chapter includes all thirty-three Districts of the Institute. In preparation, Brother delegates consult with Districts, Communities, individual Brothers, and several international Lasallian committees.
In one of his final acts as Superior General, Br. Robert Schieler, FSC committed the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools to the Global Compact on Education (GCE) proposed by Pope Francis.
“The Pope’s proposal for a Global Compact on Education draws on the deep wells of our experience and, more importantly, our charism to provide a human and Christian education to the young, especially to the poor according to the ministry which the Church has entrusted to it,” said Br. Robert.
Brothers gather in the chapel in the Motherhouse in Rome. Prayer plays an important part in the decision-making process.
The GCE expresses the commitment to the new generations and to the care of the common home by renewing the passion for a more open and inclusive education, democratizing access to knowledge, and promoting attentive listening, constructive dialogue and mutual understanding. These aims are set out in the seven key commitments derived from the GCE:
- To make humans the center
- To listen to the voices of children and young people
- To encourage the full participation of girls and young women in education
- To consider the family as the first educator
- To educate and be educated in order to embrace the most vulnerable and marginalized
- To find new ways of understanding economy and politics, in the service of humanity
- To safeguard our common home
During the General Chapter, the delegates of the Chapter had an audience with Pope Francis. While meeting the newly elected leaders of the Institute, he thanked the Brothers for their support of the GCE, and encouraged them to continue “evangelizing by educating, and educating by evangelizing,” recalling that “a Christian educator is above all a witness of Christ, and is a teacher to the extent that he is a witness.”
General Chapter, an international gathering hosting delegates from around the world, uses a translator system similar to that used in the United Nations. Translators can be seen in the windows above the portraits of the former Superior Generals.
New Leadership of the Institute, Next Steps Forward.
On May 18, 2022, Br. Armin Luistro, FSC, was elected Superior General of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. He is the 28th successor of St. John Baptist de La Salle, and the first Filipino Brother to lead the Institute.
In absolute silence, the new leader was chosen by seventy delegate Brothers who were eligible to vote. After the vote, the hall was cleared, and as the name of the new Superior General was announced, all the Brothers present, including those who were not eligible to vote, were invited to re-enter and congratulate their newly elected leader. To accompany the solemn moment, the sanctuary bells of the Generalate joyfully rang to celebrate the election. At the end of the day the new Superior General, accompanied by the Brother delegates, Lasallian Partners, and Generalate staff, went to the sanctuary to pray before the relics of the Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle.
African Brothers have fun taking selfies in the council hall during a break.
In subsequent days, Br. Armin chose his new leadership team, first appointing Br. Carlos Gómez, FSC, to the position of Vicar General. Br. Armin then appointed his six General Councilors, including Br. Christopher Patiño, FSC, from our Lasallian Region of North America. Blessings to Br. Christopher, and prayers of thanksgiving to Br. Robert Schieler, FSC, for his work and dedication over the past eight years (extended one year due to the pandemic) as Superior General.
With the Brother Delegates now home in their respective countries around the world, it will be the responsibility of District leaders, along with Brothers and Lasallian partners, to enact the mandates of the General Chapter. As a first step this summer, the Visitor/Provincial of DENA, Br. Robert Schaefer, FSC, along with District leadership, are planning a District Assembly. They are inviting the Brothers, ministry leaders, Board chairs, and many other key Lasallians who are deeply involved in the mission, to celebrate Brother Jubilarians and learn about the future direction of the mission. As other plans are solidified, we will share them with you here, and on our website.