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Message from Br Visitor: International Women's Day

Dear Lasallians.

“Young people need good teachers, like visible angels.”

St John Baptist De La Salle quoted this - and many centuries on, it remains as relevant today as it was then. As we celebrate International Women’s Day it reminds me of the women across our District and globally who like these visible angels he spoke of, are playing an integral role in helping young people navigate through the struggles of life with grace and strength.

International Women’s Day is more than just a day of celebration. It is also a time of reflection - a time to consider how far women’s rights have come, but also how far we still have to go. In our very own District, in particular, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea, it is still difficult for women to be afforded equal opportunity in education and work, and far too often are not afforded the basic necessity of safety. I am proud of the educational resources and opportunities we have been able to bring to the women in these sectors through our ministries, but we must not stop there, for true change can only come from equality in participation and voice.

Brother and Sister to all is not only a Lasallian Value it is at the very heart of who we are.

The women in my own life who have, and who continue to walk beside me are a constant support. I am sure that is true for so many of us Brothers, it was certainly very true for the Founder. There is a long list of women who played a crucial role in our Lasallian history. Mme Maillefer is one of them. Mme took an interest in the education of poor young people and co-founded a school for girls with Adrien Nyel. She asked Adrien to go to Reims to set up a school for poor boys, which is where he met John Baptist de La Salle. Without her initiative, it is unlikely that John Baptist would have turned his attention to the effective education of impoverished youths.

From our very beginning to today, and into the future we have much that we owe to the women who walk beside us, and importantly who walk beside young people. So as we celebrate and acknowledge International Women’s Day, I encourage you take a moment to ask yourself if you are mindfully making space for the women in your life to shine? and acknowledge those women who have so positively impacted our lives, bestowed wisdom upon us, and helped guide us to success.

Today and every day I give thanks to all the women engaged in the Lasallian Mission. Thank you for your joy, creativity, wisdom and challenge you bring to our shared Mission, we are all the stronger for it. You have inherited a powerful legacy from the women who inspired and supported John Baptist de La Salle during the founding of the Institute – Perrette Lespagnol, Madame Maillefer, Sister Françoise Duval, Madame des Croyères, and Sister Louise, they would be extremely proud to see what their efforts have borne. 


(Author: Br Timothy Peter FSC, Br Visitor)