Last Day of the General Superior’s Pastoral Visit in the Delegation of Rwanda
Sunday 23 October 2016
After the eight o’clock mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary’s Cathedral, the general Superior met the entire Delegation’s Brothers. All the Brothers of the delegation (29) were present with the exception of Brothers Ferdinand, in mission in the regional team, and Bruno. The Delegation also has 3 novices and 5 postulants. 18 Brothers are between 29 and 44 years, while 11 brothers are between 45 and 74 years. This shows we have a young Delegation.
The meeting with the Superior has been introduced by Brother Jean Bosco, President of the Delegation. After the usual vote of thanks, he made a brief presentation of the delegation. The Academy La Salle in Byumba, first school owned by the Brothers opened in 2007, it has 26 educators among whom 5 brothers and 494 students. Saint John Baptist de La Salle School in Kirenge, second school belonging to the Brothers, is located in a poor area. Three Brothers work there with 21 other educators; it has 291 students. The other institutions, Dioceses owned properties: Groupe scolaire de La Salle Byumba (TTC de La Salle Byumba) with 749 students, Nuyndo School of Arts, the only school in the country, with 355 students and the Butare Intiganda Center which welcomes 61 street children. 20 Brothers in total work directly in the various educational works; only 18 perceive a salary. The Delegation has in total 95 educators to take care of 1950 children and young people. The Delegation’s projects: extension of Academy de La Salle, construction of a community in Kigali…
The key moment of the meeting was the message of the Superior to the Brothers of the Delegation. He expressed delight over the good organization of his visit, the good communication the Delegation showed, evidence of good leadership exercised by its President, Br Jean Bosco and the Delegate of the general Superior, Br Anatole… He expressed his joy at learning that virtually all the Brothers teach and are not simply administrators. This is important for our credibility as Brothers of the Christian Schools. Quoting Saint Paul inviting to put on the new man in the Epistle to the Ephesians, he has also invited the Brothers to make the experience of a spiritual revolution. He encouraged them to question: why are we here? We have to show the world who Jesus is and who he asks us to be. What kind of presence do we want to be for students, our lay teachers, our neighbourhood so that they perceive the presence of Christ? The charism is a gift to the Church and we are all called to holiness. We must also make our partners in the education protagonists by offering them opportunities of training.
Which voices are calling us today? “One call, many voices…” Such is our year’s theme. The same call is heard through many voices: that of our students, our lay partners, parents, the Church… The Holy Spirit, without sound of trumpets, breaks into our lives under several forms. New sources of inspiration for our Brothers’ life are available for us today. These are among others: “The joy of the Gospel” of Pope Francis, the 2015 Rule, “the identity and mission of the religious Brother… “We need inspiration and accompaniment. How do we mutually support each other? How do we support the Brother Director? How do we support the brother in difficulty? When a year or two after the perpetual profession, a Brother request the dispensation of his vows, one wonders: What went wrong? What is wrong? What kind of formation, what accompaniment were given to him?
The Superior ended his speech by drawing Brothers’ attention on the four trends that he perceives in the Institute: 1) The revitalization of the invitation to return to the service of the poorest. 2) The sharing of the mission. 3) The centrality of our Vow of Association. 4) And finally the call for a personal and community conversion (going beyond the borders) that requires the service of the poor, the sharing of the mission and the reality of the centrality of our Vow of Association.
The brothers were then invited to react to what they have heard and to ask questions.
The discussions ended at 1:00 pm.