Posted by Br John Cantwell
on 5 July 2021
Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre, on the bay at Ormiston in Brisbane, once again provided the peaceful and appealing environment for Exploring Our Lasallian Heritage, on June 20-23.
Three Assistant Year Directors from St Michael's College Adelaide, and a Visual Arts and Religious Education teacher from De La Salle College Revesby joined a group of people from several yourtown services: counselling, research, people and culture projects, job placement, talent acquisition, and learning and development, to learn from one another and to reflect on our work as Lasallians.
We shared our experience of the strengths and vulnerabilities of young people, considered some of the relevant research, including the data emerging from young people's calls and emails to Kids Helpline, and reflected critically on a helpful attempt to define 'wellbeing'.
As in previous years, a highlight of the program was the visit of Tracy Adams, CEO of yourtown, with Julie Kleidon. Tracy spoke with her accustomed passion and challenge about the stated Lasallian values of yourtown and foreshadowed the imminent listing of another value she recognises as fundamental. We look forward to hearing even more about it! Tracy's discussion paved the way for us to give further consideration to Lasallian values, especially as they are evident in the work of yourtown and the two schools represented.
The first years of John Baptist de La Salle's journey, and the emergence of the first community of Lasallians, provided another perspective from which to consider our values.
We also had a welcome and encouraging visit from Br Tim Peter, Auxiliary Provincial and well-regarded member of yourtown, who was able to spend some time with the yourtown people and meet some of the school personnel for the first time.
As usual, the program allowed plenty of time for personal relaxation and reflection, as well as the opportunity to get to know one another. One fruit of the personal time was for each of us to commit to actions over the coming weeks that would enhance our own wellbeing, and also further the flourishing of a young person or a colleague.
Philippe Dulawan and John Cantwell are grateful not only to the participants, but to Tracy, yourtown managers and college principals who enabled such a great group of people to come together.
Hear what participants had to say:
"I am feeling grateful for the opportunity to have time to connect with other Lasallians. I have really valued hearing about what yourtown truly is and the role it plays in educating and caring for vulnerable young people. I have been reminded of the importance of having time to replenish and to refill the cup can't pour from an empty one. Br John and Phil have been glorious so personable, authentic and friendly. It has all just felt so positive, so real. The social aspect combined with some solitude has been perfect. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
"This retreat provided a valuable opportunity to reflect on my personal values and then reflect on the values of Lasallian heritage. The opportunity to stop, reflect and focus on your own wellbeing has also been very valuable. The reminder of who our young people are, their values, concerns and challenges is something that will improve my own practice. Both presenters were fantastic and made the experience very valuable."
"I was surprised and energised by the flexibility and universality of faith-based discussions (and the openness of the presenters). I am energised to continue to look deeper and find what serves me."
"A wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Lasallian heritage and how that translates into all of the incredible work that happens through yourtown and the Lasallian schools. Beautifully paced over the course of the three days. It provided me with a chance to rest and reflect. A beautiful location. Thank you for the opportunity."
"I am so incredibly grateful to have been a part of this experience. Rarely in our lives do we have time to slow down, reflect on who we are, and be curious about what we stand for. I have learnt so much."
"To be given a safe space to learn and reflect was such a valuable experience for me. The membership of the group was very valuable yourtown (client facing, L&D, corp.) schools. The right pace, content, facilitators. All of the above made a great recipe for success. Thank you."