February 4, 2015

Building faith in education

In 2001, Bro. Paul Ackerman, FSC and other Christian Brothers from the Midwest Province accepted the invitation (after much prodding) of Little Flower Parish in Browning, MT to start a school for the Blackfeet Indians in Browning.  This was despite the fact that Bro. Paul and the brothers had no experience with elementary schools, Indians, or rural areas!  But, they put great faith in the Lord and almost 15 years later the school is alive and well.  St. John Baptist de la Salle, the founder of the Christian Brothers, told the brothers that their schools would succeed if God wanted them to so they must indeed be doing God's will!

Bro. Paul speaking with freshmen
For a number of years, high school and college groups have been spending a week at De La Salle Blackfeet School as immersion students, spending time working at the school and being models and mentors for the students, many of whom might not see the value in education.  This April will be the third year students from Trinity High School have spent a week at De La Salle Blackfeet with Mr. Arnold and Ms. Foley leading the trip.

Each winter, Bro. Paul, who now travels on behalf of the school fundraising and spreading the good news about the school, comes to Trinity to meet with the students going on the trip as well as their parents.  In addition, he spends time speaking to all the freshmen in their theology classes talking about the school and the hope it has brought to Browning and the Blackfeet.  Bro. Paul arrived in Manchester this past Saturday and after a day trip to visit donors in Vermont, he was back in Manchester but his visit was pushed back a day due to our snowday on Monday.  He spoke with the students on Tuesday and then after speaking with the group and their parents, he watched the second half of the Trinity girl's basketball game with me and Ms. Foley.

I always enjoy Bro. Paul's visits and to have the chance to spend time catching up with him.  He has had an amazing life which has taken him all over the United States and Kenya.  Please keep him and the De La Salle Blackfeet School community in your prayers.

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