Pedagogical-lasallian training day in Rumania

Saturday, November 26, took place the first pedagogical-lasallian training day for teachers and educators during this school year. The theme of the meeting was: A Call, several voices: Living spirituality in a secular world.

Besides the debates on the essay with the same title, presented by Br. Vicenţiu Ghiurca, the day schedule also included moments of prayer and personal reflection and a brotherly meal.

At the end of the same week, Ms. Cercel Teofilia who is a teacher in our school participated in Salzburg, Austria at a pedagogical-lasallian training session organized by Lasallian Academy Central Europe.

Brother Daniel Ciobanu and Claudia Dimişca, from the Placement Centre “House La Salle” in Iaşi also participated at this training session.

25 años de la reanudación de actividades en Rumania

Estos 25 años representan un capítulo importante en la historia de la presencia de los Hermanos en estas tierras “mioríticas”, historia que comenzó a escribirse hace 155 años, en 1861, año en el que llegaban los primeros Hermanos a Bucarest, capital de los Principados Unidos de Moldavia y Valaquia.

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La caída del régimen comunista en 1989, la restauración de la democracia, así como el establecimiento de las libertades cívicas garantizadas por la nueva Constitución de 1991, hicieron posible la reanudación de las actividades pastorales y educativas brutalmente interrumpidas por los decretos de abolición de las órdenes, congregaciones e instituciones educativas confesionales y privadas de los años 1948-1949.

Gracias al apoyo y ánimos recibidos de Monseñor Petru Gherghel, Obispo de la diócesis de Iași, los Hermanos pudieron retomar su actividad al servicio de la educación de los niños y jóvenes, especialmente de los más necesitados, tras más de 40 años de interrupción.

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Después de la reanudación de sus actividades en el año 1991, los Hermanos desarrollaron su misión, hasta el año 2000, en Oradea, donde colaboraron en la consolidación de la formación teológica greco-católica de la localidad.

En la actualidad, los Hermanos tenemos dos comunidades en la diócesis de Iași y dos obras socio-educativas: una en Pildești, en la provincia de Neamț, y la otra en la ciudad de Iași.

România – Bread and Salt

Romania is known for its hospitality. Moreover play Bread and Salt an important role. Florin Catalin describes it shortly “Hospitality rituals, Bread, Salt”. The pictures show how bread baking rituals were practiced in the Technical Gymnasium “St. Ioan de La Salle”, Pildesti as the pupils welcome the guests by the schoolmaster meeting in November 2015.

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In Romanian tradition bread and salt play a crucial role. The bread, ancient symbol of life, and the salt, “mother of God” as it is called in the peoples’ sayings, were for Romanians, two elements with sacred significance. According to historians, the first evidence of this ritual of hospitality are pre-Christian and offering bread (initially were grains of wheat) and salt was a sign of accepting those who visited someone’s house or land. Bread and salt also stand for a lot of other beliefs and customs.

The most famous ritual that includes both remained that of welcoming guests with bread and salt as a sign of love, kindness and humanity. Bread is the daily food and salt is the flavor of the food and therefore both are important in human nutrition. Also, bread (wheat) symbolizes the field’s wealth and salt was the true gold of antiquity, being, for millennia, the most expensive item of commerce. Therefore, welcoming guests with bread and salt emphasizes the Romanians’ hospitality, kindness, joy to welcome guests and treat them as friends.

Another use known to Romanians is the wedding ceremony when the young couple is welcomed by the groom’s parents with bread and salt symbolizing prosperity for the grooms, but also the parents’ joy who welcome the young couple in the family.

Generally, important guests are greeted with bread and salt. Usually, they are greeted by girls dressed in traditional costumes that have in their hands a round braided bread and a container of salt. We also use this tradition in our school and we welcome important guests with these primordial meaningful elements.

Lasallian Intercontinental Collaboration Project: California-Romania

The title sounds pompous, doesn’t it? But it really happened. The State of California, U.S.A. , represented by students and two professors from St Mary’s College of La Salle University, came to Europe, even as far as Iasi in Romania and spent a few weeks in LaSalle Boys Home, run by the Association of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

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The purpose of this collaboration was for the University students to complete the stage of international voluntary service required by the academic programme for January in the academic year. The students are given the opportunity to choose from a series of socio-educative project in different continents: Africa, Asia, Europe or Central America. Anne Whipple and Jin Su Seo opted to go to Iasi in Romania, to a Boys’ Home. They were accompanied by two professors/monitors, Jane Joyce and Ginny Prior. The two students are in the last year of study at St Mary’s College of the LaSallian University in San Francisco. The statue of their Patron St John Baptist de la Salle standing in front of the College Chapelbears St Mary’s Motto “Enter to Learn, leave to serve”.

To prepare for their graduation and to follow the College Motto, Anne and Jin chose to do their voluntary service helping the boys and young men with social and educational problems who are being looked after by the Brothers in their Home. They participated in the daily activities, assisted the educational team wherever needed, engaged the boys in English conversation, experienced a new culture and religion. In addition, they had time to enjoy the beauty of the region.

The positive experience of these two students has opened the way for further collaboration of this type. This first presence of two American students at the LaSalle Home has impressed the boys here in many ways, as shown by the expressions used even in writing: “A group of American volunteers has stayed with us and their presence among us was a great pleasure. We really enjoyed having them with us, sharing the time with us, making it easier for us to learn English. We would be glad to welcome them again. We are grateful.” “What I liked most was that I learnt English better with them, being deeply impressed by the patience they showed with us. Most of all I liked Ginny since she was so patient and understanding with me and the others; I became very attached to her. I hope she returns next year to continue to help us.” “At first, they seemed strange to me because they did not understand a single word of our language. But we quickly began to understand each other better because they were so willing to communicate with us. They also got involved wholeheartedly in our activities and followed the rules much better than we did. They proved they were very well educated, setting a very good example for all of us.” “The American volunteers worked very hard and they were happy to join in our games in spite of the age difference. Though this was their first visit, they settled in quickly to help us, and I liked that very much. I would like more American volunteers to visit us as that would help me to learn English better.”

Jin Su, Anne, Jane and Ginny also visited the Technological High School “Saint John Baptiste de La Salle” from Pildesti. The time spent there was a great experience for the high school students. They had the chance to interact with persons from another part of the world and to experience a reality a bit different than theirs. The students were excited to meet Jin and Anne; they welcomed them with open arms and had a lot of questions. Anne and Jin were happy to answer to all their questions and felt the students’ hospitality every step of the way. Jin and Anne shared information about their time at Saint Mary’s College and wanted to know more about the Romanian high school life. They took a tour of the school and interacted with a great part of the students and with the teachers.

They also had the opportunity to go in a small local trip. The brothers’ community from Pildesti wanted them to experience a bit more of our culture and traditions so together with some students they went to visit the home of one of our greatest writers, Ion Creanga, and one of our most beautiful monasteries, The Agapia Monastery. The brothers wanted to give them a little taste of our great history so they also visited The Neamt Fortress.

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During the trip the brothers and the students from Pildesti had the chance to interact with Anne, Jin Su, Jane and Ginny a little more and they had a wonderful time together. They really felt the connection between them and they had a great time comparing the differences and similarities from our countries. They felt they each gained something from their experience together and they really hope they will have the chance to meet them again and also many other members from our community all around the world.

Br. Iosif Beda – Prof. Alina Blaj

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