Last week, Pope Francis met the participants in the 146th General Chapter of the Brethren of the Christian Schools, the so-called Lasallians, named after the founder Jean Baptiste de La Salle, who through his congregation completed an educational project that began with a school in Reims in 1679. I 1682 began the religious common life. According to some data, Lasallians are present in about 100 countries on the five continents, there are about 5,000 religious distributed in 870 houses.
In his speech, Pope Francis took as his point of departure the theme of the general chapter ‘Building New Roads to Transform Life’: performed in schools, in colleges, in the universities that you perform in about 100 countries where you are present.
A big responsibility! I thank the Lord for that with you, for pedagogical work is first and foremost a great gift to those who do it: it is a work that asks for much, but which gives much! The constant relationship with educators, with parents and especially with children and young people is an ever-living source of humanity despite all the hardships and problems it entails. “
He recalled the educational tradition of the congregation: “In this relationship, on this journey you take with them, you offer the values of your rich pedagogical tradition: mission in responsibility, creativity, coexistence, justice, peace; educate for the inner life, to be open for the transcendent, to the feeling of wonder and contemplation in the light of the mystery of life and creation.
You live and interpret all this in Christ, and translate it into the fullness of humanity … It is your apostolate to educate in this way, your specific contribution to evangelism: to make man grow in accordance with Christ. In this sense, your schools are ‘Christian’, not because of an external brand, but because they follow this path ”.
And he reiterated the need for a renewal of the education pact: “The education pact is broken, it is broken, and now the State, the educators and the family are separated. We need to look for a new pact, which is communication, working together.
This educational crisis is becoming more acute by the consequences of the pandemic. The two great challenges of our time: the challenge of brotherhood and the challenge of caring for the common home, cannot be answered except through education. Both are above all educational challenges’.
This task is also entrusted to the Christian community: “And thank God the Christian community is not only aware of it, but is engaged in this work, for some time it has tried to ‘build new ways of transforming’ the style. of life.
And you, brethren, are part of this building site, yea, ye are at the forefront, and train to go from a closed world to an open world; from a one-time culture to a care culture; from a one-time culture to an integration culture; from the search for party political interests to the search for the common good “.
However, this pact must lead to an alliance with families: “As educators, you know very well that this transformation must start from the conscience, otherwise it will only be a facade. And you also know that you can not do this work alone, but by collaborating in a ‘pedagogical alliance’ with families, communities and church gatherings, with the formative realities that are present in the territory ”.
The Pope was a reminder not to forget his own ‘education’: “But to be good workers you must not neglect yourself! You can not give young people what you do not have inside you. The Christian teacher in the school of Christ is above all a witness and is a teacher to the extent that he is a witness. I have nothing to teach you in this, but only as a brother will I remind you: testimony. And above all, I pray for you that you may be brothers, not only in name but in reality. And so your schools are not Christians in name, but in fact ”.
And by receiving the participants of the international conference ‘Nature in Mind. A new natural culture for the protection of biodiversity ‘, organized by the Carabinieri command, the Pope emphasized the value of the’ care culture ‘, which is based on the’ education pact ‘:
“This culture is actually closely linked to an inclusive education that rests on the pillars of integrated ecology. Faced with the richness and complexity of the natural world, each teaching project offers an understanding perspective that aims to emphasize the interrelationships between man and the environment.
To promote truly sustainable development, creativity is needed to open up new, more integrated, common travel plans, directly related to people and their contexts.
In this way, everyone feels involved in contributing to the education pact, which tends to form mature people who are able to overcome fragmentation and contrasts. “Any measure will be ineffective if it is not helped and supported by an educational process that favors the care and protection of our common home.”
(Photo: Holy Chair)