September 25, 2011

Back to the Future

The prayer of every Lasallian
About two years ago, a group of teachers, staff, administrators, and board members of Trinity had a series of meetings to discuss our school's mission.  Out of those discussions arose an enhanced mission statement as well as our current media efforts led by Mrs. Henning.  We also talked about how as a diocesan school, we don't really have a spirituality or charism that permeates our school.  A school like Bishop Guertin High School has a spirituality as they were founded and are run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.  We haven't had a religious order working in our school since the Lasallian Christian Brothers left in 1978.

Around the same time, we were celebrating our 40th anniversary.  As we looked back at our history and planned our anniversary events, we reconnected with our founding order, the Lasallian Christian Brothers.  A few of the brothers came to our school last winter to visit and some discussions ensued about perhaps Trinity and the brothers working together again on some projects.  Our summer trip with 130 Lasallian high school students from the East Coast has been the real highlight of these discussions and one of the biggest influences on us.  One thing led to another, and we started asking ourselves if we wanted to adopt (again) the Lasallian Christian Brothers spirituality as our own and become a part of their network in some way shape or form.  We're not talking about becoming a school run by the brothers but rather a school that is in a way affiliated with them, their spirituality, their history, and their network of schools and ministries.

As part of our discernment, we have been talking and meeting with the brothers and other folks who work in their schools and ministries.  Yesterday, as part of those discussions, myself, Mr. Mailloux, Ms. Risdal, and Mrs. Henning headed down to Narragansett, RI to meet with Bro. John McMahon, FSC (who taught at Trinity and Bishop Bradley from 1967-1972) and others and to see their work down there.

The chapel of the Brother's residence
in Narragansett, RI

We pulled onto their beautiful property around 10am and Bro. John was out front waiting for us.  He treated us to coffee and muffins and then took us around the grounds.  They have a brother's residence, a wonderful chapel, and a school called Ocean Tides.  Ocean Tides (which gets its name from a Shakespeare play) is a school for delinquent high school boys who are court ordered to seek help for their wayward ways.  They stay at the school for about a year before being reunited with their families and their old schools.  It's a very successful program and one of the best rehabilitation facilities for high school boys in the state of Rhode Island.  The president of Ocean Tides is Bro. Brendan Gerrity, FSC who taught at Bishop Bradley in the 1960's.

After a great tour, we had lunch with the community (about 12 brothers live there) and a group of brothers and Lasallian Volunteers from New York City who were in town for the weekend.  We then headed over to the brother's retreat house about a mile down the road where we had some nice discussions with Bro. John and the New York City crew about Lasallian life and spirituality.  We then took a quick ride to the ocean and then walked around the community's cemetery where Mr. Mailloux saw the graves of many brothers who taught at Trinity/Bradley (including the one who gave him his only F).  We then topped off the day with a wonderful social and dinner with the community.
Bro. John McMahon, FSC (left) and Mr. Mailloux over-
looking the Atlantic Ocean at Port Judith in Narragansett,
Rhode Island.  It was Bro. John who inspired Mr. Mailloux to become
an English teacher!

I can't tell you how excited we all were taking part in this day and meeting these amazing people.  My hope is that many other faculty and students will take similar trips to get to know the brothers and their schools.  The folks from New York City invited us to visit them and spend time at their schools as have folks at the Lasallian high schools in Rhode Island.  There are dozens and dozens of Lasallian schools on the East Coast so the opportunities to visit and learn are endless.  The future is indeed bright and full of hope.

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