What does it mean to be a part of the Lasallian tradition?
The Lasallian Brothers teach more than 900,000 students in 80 countries around the world. The work that we all do at Bethlehem University is guided by the Mission Statement and by the five core principles set forth by St. De La Salle:
- Faith in the Presence of God
- Respect for All People
- Quality Education
- Inclusive Community
- Concern for the Poor and Social Justice
Ten Commitments of Lasallian Schools
The Lasallian spirituality of education calls forth ten basic operative commitments that are based on foundational Lasallian convictions rooted in the writings of St. John Baptist de La Salle, and they are manifested in consistent practices throughout the schools for the past 300+ years. Each commitment is presented in the form of an attribute or quality of a Lasallian school.
The Spirit of Faith
1) Centered in and Nurtured by the Life of Faith: De La Salle's overriding concern in all that he did was the life of faith, the reality of God's saving presence in the midst of daily experience. Lasallian teachers readily share their faith life with their students, both in their zeal for education and in their daily personal encounters. In a Lasallian School, God's presence gradually becomes an evermore living and appreciated reality.
2) Trusting Providence in Discerning God's Will: De La Salle confidently rested in a complete and radical trust in God's providential care for him, for the Institute, and for its work of education. Lasallian teachers share this radical trust by recognizing God's face in every school or classroom situation. In a Lasallian School self-sufficiency is not the final voice. The work is God's work, first and last.
3) With Creativity and Fortitude: De La Salle's commitment to the Christian Schools led him to make bold, creative moves in response to God's Will. Lasallian teachers demonstrate the creativity of God's Love through their daily resourcefulness and resilience, imagination and determination, ingenuity and persistence. In a Lasallian School, the continual pursuit of innovative educational programs is the rule, not the exception.
4) Through the Agency of the Holy Spirit: De La Salle often prayed to the Holy Spirit for guidance and urged his teachers to do the same. Christ's life is brought into the school by Lasallian teachers, who are animated by the Spirit and willing to act accordingly. In a Lasallian School, the challenging, unpredictable, hidden life of the Spirit is given attention and heeded.
5) Incarnating Christian Paradigms and Dynamics: De La Salle educated the young in order to make God's saving presence a reality in their lives. Lasallian teachers seek and reveal God's presence in the minutiae of the exercise of their ministry. In a Lasallian School, Gospel maxims and Gospel norms provide the basis upon which its organizational and relational structure is built.
The Spirit of Zeal
6) With Practical Orientation: De La Salle recognized the real needs of youth and taught what they needed to function in society. Lasallian teachers prepare students for their vocation and profession, for their personal life commitments, and for service to society and the Church. Lasallian Schools are realistic in their approach, methodology, and goals.
7) Devoted to Education, Accessible and Comprehensive: De La Salle provided an education that was available to all who desired it and that comprehensively prepared youth to participate in their society. Lasallian teachers affirm that education consists of more than facts, figures and skills; that true education forms a person towards Christian maturity and responsible character. Lasallian Schools intentionally educate a diverse range of students and provide a wide-ranging, comprehensive curriculum.
8) Committed to the Poor: De La Salle's concern was for the poor, the neglected and the overlooked. Lasallian teachers give greater attention to the neglected, to the marginalized, and to the less appealing students. Service projects and outreach programs bring the poor's voice into the lives of students. Lasallian Schools are schools where programs that address the educational needs of the poor are an evident, clear priority.
9) Working in Association: De La Salle's efforts with teachers became more and more effective as he united them into a group with a common vision, a shared mission. Lasallian teachers come together as brothers and sisters associated with bonds of mutual respect, cooperation, generosity, patience, humor, and humility. Lasallian Schools are not autonomous schools but operate in collaboration with others to accomplish their common ministry of education.
10) Expressing a Lay Vocation: De La Salle established a group of teachers who were to be dedicated to teaching as "Brothers" without directly being part of the clerical structures of the Church. Lasallian teachers reach out to their students in companionship, as older brothers and sisters, guiding their developing life of faith and modeling the identity of a lay person in the Church. Lasallian Schools advance the role of the laity in the Church by educating towards responsible, active participation in the life of the Church.
From Touching the Hearts of Students: Characteristics of Lasallian Schools (1999, George Van Grieken, FSC, Christian Brothers Publications, Landover, MA)