The Call


The Call                                                                                                                   
Semester 1

As we think about Call...we realize it is a very personal journey. As we look at De La Salle's call in the Source material and read the personal stories of others, our hope is that it will lead you to a reflection on your personal journey, to help you articulate that which calls, your continuing response, and the faith and trust it takes to share that story with others. Ours is a specifically Lasallian journey that calls us to mission. Our stories are shared with others to accompany them on our shared journey.

Part One: Fall

The focus of the first part of this module is the initial call, people in process and the ramifications of decisions made in following call


Part Two: Spring

The focus of the second part of this module is the cost of following call, moments of doubt and the renewal of call.

You, then, whom God has called to this ministry, work according to the grace that has been given to you to instruct by teaching and to exhort by encouraging those who are entrusted to your care, guiding them with attention and vigilance8 in order to fulfill toward them the principal duty of fathers and mothers toward their children.

(Meditations for the Time of Retreat, 193.2. De La Salle)

The Call
Part One

Video presentation on the life of St John Baptist De La Salle, presented by Brendan Carroll. The video is 7 minutes in length.






















Move on STEP 2.

Explore the definition of vocation in this animated short (2:42) developed and produced by The Fund for Theological Education.

The Call
Part One

Continue on to Step 3

Life is full of choices and every choice we make eliminates others.  Sometimes we wonder about the Roads we did not take.  But the roads we choose become our life.  Robert Frost speaks to this in his poem, THE ROAD NOT TAKEN (2:28).

The Call
Part One

Go to Step 4
In the Memoir on the Beginnings De La Salle reflects on his association with the school. Click on the image to the left to read the document.

Move on to STEP 5

The Call
Part One

It was undoubtedly for this reason that God, who guides [conduit] all things with wisdom and serenity, whose way it is not to force the inclinations of persons, willed to commit me entirely to the development of the schools. God did this in an imperceptible way and over a long period of time, so that one commitment led to another in a way that I did not foresee in the beginning.

The Call
Part One

Read My Story, Your Story...a personal reflection of a vocational journey by Brother Michael Fehrenbach.

Click on STEP 6 and go to the next step!

Using De La Salle's "Memoir on the Beginnings" as a template, reflect on your own vocational journey incorporating the other source materials.

Respond on your choice of Flipgrid or Padlet with essay, poetry, short story, a dialogue, photography, painting, music - do it your way.


How is De La Salle's Memoir on the Beginnings a story of vocational journey?


What surprised you in De La Salle's description of his own journey?


Do you see any similarities between De La Salle's ongoing call and your own?


What have been the stages of your own vocational journey?


Robert Frost speaks of the road not taken.  Have you taken a lesser traveled road?  How has your road made all the difference?


Do you agree with the definition of vocation (another word for call) in the short video?


Do you ever think of your work as a calling?  What makes it a vocation?


Who influenced your call?




Go to STEP 7

The Call
Part One






You can add your evidence now, but DO NOT SUBMIT until after Part Two

The Call
Part One

Go to Badgelist to submit you evidence. You will be awarded your badge when you finish Part Two in the Spring.

That's it. You're finished with Part One of The Call!

For Communal Dialogue - Semester One


Using De La Salle’s “Memoir on the Beginnings” as a template, reflect on your own vocational journey incorporating the other source materials.


How would you describe the movement of the Spirit in De La Salle’s life?  How was he led to a vocation?  What was the Road Not Taken in his life and what might he have become had he taken it?


What surprised you in De La Salle’s description of his own journey?


What was the transformation that took place in De La Salle?  What have been the transformational moments in my own life?


In his comments, De La Salle exposes the internal wrestling match he underwent.  He concludes that the vocation to the canonry left him before he left it.  It is possible that our vocation is evolutionary.  What are the stages you went through, what issues did you/do you wrestle with as you live your purpose in the world?


Robert Frost speaks of the road not taken.  Have you taken a lesser traveled road?  How has your road made all the difference?


Are you comfortable with the definition of vocation in the short video?

Do you think of your work as a calling?  What makes it a vocation?

What are the gifts you bring in response to the needs of the world?


Who are the people who influenced your path in life?  What was the nature of the relationship you had with them? Why were they so influential?


Respond to the two questions posed in the reflection: My Story-Your Story.


As a member of a community dedicated to the education of youth, do you think it is important to help students identify, embrace, and own their particular gifts?  Do you believe the formation of the whole person is important as teaching math, language, science, art or any other subject matter?


What kind of relationships do your students need to help them develop as whole human beings?  How would you characterize your own relationship with those entrusted to your care?



The Call                                                                                                                   
Semester 2

As we developed part 2 of The Call  we noted that we often experience a second call in our vocational journey. We are "re-called" to our original ministry or sometimes, as in De La Salle's case, called from his position as Canon to head a group of school masters and later in his life called from Parmenie back to leadership. We ask you to reflect with us.


Continue to step one.

Lasallian Reflection 4: Lasallians: Hearts on Fire

On the WAY They were heading home to Emmaus, back to ordinary life, to their normal occupations and certainties. They both felt confused and defeated as they left Jerusalem behind, looking crest- fallen as they walked. Jesus of Nazareth and his message had given meaning to their lives, but everything was sadly over. Returning home to their predictable lives was the best thing they could do. But something happened along the way... Like them, we ourselves are always going from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Pilgrims like them, we experience breakthrough moments in our lives. Men and women, each of us walking at a different pace, we have different motivations in life and face our own aspirations and circumstances. But we move on together and by association, discovering that God walks alongside each Lasallian. What attitudes, beliefs and values underpin our Lasallian journey?

A year of Jubilee

Love casts out fear.  St. John tells us that God is LOVE.  At the heart of all creation is love.  So what are we afraid of?  What holds us back?  Become like little children - trust - shine - know that love is who you are.  Be liberated from fear and let your love shine forth.  Do so and you will liberate others.  Isn’t this salvation?  Listen to Marianne Williamson speak about our fears and the power of love and take the 10 minute challenge. This is a video montage with quotations spoken by the author Marianne Williamson, music by Gary Malkin and cinematography by Louie Schwartzberg. (4:41)


After watching the video continue to step two.

The Call
Part Two

So you don't want to Teach Anymore? Here are 7 Guesses Why


We’ve all had those days when we’re overwhelmed, frustrated by administrators, faculty, parents, or students.  We are overworked and usually underpaid.  Sometimes we just want a 9-5 without the challenges teaching demands of us.  Remember how De La Salle felt this way too?  “But if these are the reasons you might leave, here is the reason you might stay: the kids, man. The kids.”  Check out this blog and see what you think.


Read the Blog here.





After completing the reading go to step three.

The Call
Part Two

Lasallian Reflection 4: Lasallians: Hearts on Fire

Engaging in dialogue and accepting ACCOMPANIMENT The two disciples shared their life journey as they walked. They talked and posed important questions. Sad and desolate, their eyes were sightless. But a stranger came up alongside them. He seemed to be unaware of what had just happened in Jerusalem. “It was Jesus, but their eyes were not able to recognize him”. Jesus listened to them, dialogued and paid attention to their concerns. Everyday life is like a pathway along which we ask questions, express doubts, find certainties, and engage in important debates regarding our faith and vocation. Some of us allow people to question our certainties along the way; we listen to them, engage in dialogue and accept their accompaniment. Some of us move ahead with energy and a positive vision, with stamina ready to overcome difficulties, with hope trying to lead a meaningful life. But still some of us, we must admit, are walking in darkness like the disciples of Emmaus at the beginning of their journey. We wander around as if we were in a labyrinth, without knowing in what direction to go, unable to find the way out. We live moments of confusion, fear, doubt and emptiness, as if the embers that kept our hearts burning had died down. We feel unprotected, abandoned and hardly find answers to the questions arising in our hearts. The answers we did have are no longer useful, as Mario Benedetti says: “When we thought we had all the answers, suddenly all the questions changed”.

The Call
Part Two

A walnut tree can take between up to 80 years to produce walnuts.  But those wonderful nuts make great cookies, cakes, and nut butter.  Nothing really worthwhile in life happens quickly.  Learning to be a good teacher takes years of practice.  But when a teacher masters her craft - the results are beautiful.  Teilhard de Chardin knew this so well and he saw it in the evolution of the universe.  Read what he says.


Read and Reflect on the Following:


Trust in the Slow Work of God

Above all, trust in the slow work of God

We are quite naturally impatient in everything

to reach the end without delay

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something

unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through

some stages of instability-

and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you.

your ideas mature gradually – let them grow,

let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time

(that is to say, grace and circumstances

acting on your own good will)

will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself

in suspense and incomplete.

- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881-1955)



After your reflection, mover to step 4.

When times were tough....


As the Brothers expanded their work from Reims to Paris, they brought with them their tradition of association, gratuity, discipline, and effective teaching. But they soon ran into trouble. The pastor of the parish wanted to interfere with the running of the community and tried to change the religious habit the Brothers wore. Some Brothers abandoned their vocation. The Brother that De La Salle sent to study for the priesthood, and who was being groomed to succeed him as Superior, suddenly died. Then De La Salle himself became gravely ill and almost died. It looked as if the whole enterprise might collapse.


Once he was sufficiently recovered, De La Salle realized that he had been mistaken in preparing a single Brother to replace him as Superior. He also realized that the future of his Society should not depend on himself alone. His solution was to apply the principle of association to the leadership that would put the Society on a solid foundation. Choosing two of his most competent and trusted Brothers (Nicholas Vuyart and Gabriel Drolin), together with them in 1691 he made a vow of “association and union to procure and maintain the establishment” of the Society, even if they would be the only three to remain and if they would have to beg and live on bread alone. Know as the “heroic vow,” this first vow of association had its intended effect. Programs were put in place for the physical and spiritual renewal of the Brothers and a novitiate was opened that soon provided a steady supply of new members. By 1694 the situation was stable enough to develop a formal set of Rules and to invite selected Brothers to consider making perpetual vows.

(luke Salm)


The Call
Part Two

"Most holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, prostrate in a profound respect before your infinite and adorable majesty, we consecrate ourselves entirely to you, to procure with all our power and with all our care the establishment of the society of the Christian Schools in the manner that appears to us to be the most agreeable to you and the most advantage to the said Society.  And for this purpose I, John Baptist de La Salle, Priest; I, Nicholas Vuyart, and I, Gabriel Drolin, from this moment and for always until the last survivor, or till the establishment of the said Society has been completely achieved, make the vow of ASSOCIATION and UNION to bring about and maintain the said establishment, without our being able to abandon it, even if we were to remain just we three in the said Society, and that we were obliged to beg alms and live on bread alone.  In view of which, we promise to do unanimously and with a common consent, whatever we believe in conscience and without any human consideration to be for the greater good of the said Society.  Done this twenty-first of November, the day of the Presentation of the Most Blessed Virgin, 1691, in faith of which we have signed."

Proceed to step five.

Association in the time of De La Salle...


The Vows of the Brothers in the History of the Institute. Remember the Brothers now and at the beginning were and are a group of lay people coming together for the betterment of their students. Sound familiar? In what ways do De La Salle's commitments parallel the commitments you have made? Read the article with that in mind.


Click on STEP 6 to go to the next step!

The Call
Part Two

Lasallian Reflection 4: Lasallians: Hearts on Fire

One HEART De La Salle and his first companions made the birth of our Lasallian family possible. They let God touch their hearts, which started beating in unison with the hearts of poor children and young people. God touched the depths of their being and enabled them to walk along with others to set their hearts on fire. They became the source of a new charism for the Church and the world. Ours, like any charism, “is a grace, a gift (...), which is given to someone not because he is better than others or because he deserves it: it is a gift that God gives him, because with his freely given love he can place him in service to the entire community, for the good of all”. We have freely received a charism as a gift for those whom God has entrusted to us, and who are at the center of our mission: our students, especially the poorest among them. This is what our Founder says: “Act in such a way through your zeal that you give tangible proof that you love those whom God has entrusted to you” (MD 201.2).

You feel old, maybe you are...and then you receive this...


When De La Salle was feeling worn out, alone, and as though he had failed, he left.  He decided the fledgling Institute would be better off without him.  His escape was to solitude and retreat to a small spiritual center - Parmenie near Grenoble. He loved the pastoral quiet and beauty of the place.  It was here that he met and interacted with a very influential spiritual director, Sister Louise.   Regarding his "failure" De La Salle was wrong.  More than failure it was utter exhaustion and misunderstanding with the brothers that had hold of him.  Eventually, the brothers realized how much they both wanted and needed De La Salle with them.  The principal brothers both requested and commanded De La Salle in view of the vow he made to return to them.  In conversation with Sister Louise and in the solitude of his prayer, he made the decision to return to his primary vocation - building the Institute for the salvation of young poor boys.  Read the letter he received from his brothers.


The Call
Part Two

 Sir, our very dear Father We, the principal Brothers of the Christian Schools, having in view the greater glory of God, the greater good of the Church and of our Society, believe that it is of the utmost importance that you take up again the care and overall direction of the holy work of God which is also yours, since it pleased the lord to make use of you to establish it and conduct it for such a long time. We are all convinced that God has given you and continues to give you the grace and qualities necessary to govern this new company well, which is of such great use to the Church, and that it is just that we should state that you have always directed it with much success and edification. This is why, Sir, we beg you very humble and we order you in the name and of behalf of the body of the Society to which you have promised obedience, to take up responsibility again immediately for the overall government of our Society. In virtue of which we have signed Done at Paris, this first of April 1714 and, with the deepest respect, we are, Sir and our very dear Father, your very humble and obedient inferiors... Have you ever been called back to ministry? Click on STEP 7 to go to the next step!

Educator Parker Palmer says we teach who we are more than we teach content.  Our lives are a journey and reveal who we are when we pay attention.  Our challenge is to be present to each moment as we are revealed to ourselves. Antonio Sims reflects on Parker Palmer's Book, Let Your Life Speak (Ch. 2)


After watching the video, continue to step eight.

The Call
Part Two

For reflection....


The Seven of Pentacles

by Marge Piercy


Under a sky the color of pea soup

she is looking at her work growing away there

actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans

as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.

If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,

if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,

if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,

if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,

then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.


Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.

You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.

More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.

Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.

Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.

Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.

Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.


Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.

Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.

Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,

a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us

interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.


Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:

reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.

This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,

for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting,

after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

The Call
Part Two

Psyche Entering Cupid's Garden, John William Waterhouse

For your response.


Reflect on the source material you have read and viewed.  Respond to one of the following questions - your way - writing, art, video, photography…however on either Flipgrid or Padlet.


Marianne Williamson says that our fears hold us back.  What do I fear?  Who will I be when I let go of my fears?  Did I take the 10 minute challenge and what happened when I did?


When was the last time (if ever) that I thought about quitting my educational ministry?  What keeps me involved in spite of my frustrations?


Who are the people in my life that nurture my CALL to be an educator?  How do they encourage and support my commitment?


Consider what you read in step 5 and step 6.  When times were tough a re-commitment was called for.  De La Salle and the early brothers responded with a clear expression of their stability and obedience to the mission.  They bonded together for the sake of the Institute and its mission of Human and Christian education - the salvation of the young poor.  When have you been asked to recommit to the mission?  What happened?  What was required of you?


When you reflect on your own life whether it be 21 years or 80 years long, what has that journey taught you about who you are?  If we teach who we are, what are our students learning?


The Call
Part Two

You have completed your work on The Call. Please record your progress in Badgelist and submit your work for review. This badge includes work from both semesters.

Lasallian Reflection 4: Lasallians: Hearts on Fire

After a unique on-the-road experience, e lightened by the breaking of the bread, the disciples of Emmaus set out immediately and returned to Jerusalem. The experience was so powerful that they were able to reconnect with the community and witness to what they had seen with their eyes and touched with their hands.


The world still needs to discover God’s love, which is closer to us than ourselves, and becomes evident when we walk together with others. There is much truth in this statement: “Man can set about organizing terrestrial realities without God, but closed off from God, they will end up being directed against man”.


Our world needs people who can witness to the tenderness of God. To do this, we must overcome the regrets and disappointments that assail us along the way to develop internal harmony and a purposeful life. Prejudice, fear and in-the-box thinking must be discarded before deciding how far we are willing to go when we go back to our own Jerusalem, where God has mysteriously sent us to bring about life. The energy to do this comes from within. We know that if an egg is broken from the outside, life ends; if it breaks from the inside, by the impulse of its inner energy, life begins.

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