On August 24, faculty, staff, and coaches, attended SJC’s annual opening school year retreat.
This year, St. John’s was honored to welcome Bro. Robert Schieler, FSC, as this year’s retreat facilitator. Bro. Robert is the former Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and 27th successor of St. John Baptist de La Salle, Founder of the Brothers in 1680. Prior to his election, he was the General Councilor for the United States and Canada (RELAN) from 2007 until 2014 and Visitor of the Baltimore District from 2001 to 2007.
A missionary to the Philippines for 11 years, Bro. Robert has served in a variety of administrative positions from assistant principal to superintendent of schools. He was a member of several boards, including Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Bethlehem University, and St. John’s College High School. He is a graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA, where he has also served on the board of trustees. In 2018, he was one of two Brother Superiors selected by Pope Francis to participate in the Bishops’ Synod on Faith, Youth, and Vocational Discernment at the Vatican. He holds a masters’ degree in modern European history from Notre Dame University and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
After the opening prayer led by Campus Minister Robert Gilmore, SJC President Jeff Mancabelli introduced Bro. Robert. The theme of the retreat, The Gift of Teaching. Bro. Robert shared that through the gift of teaching, teachers have the chance to start over each year with new students, learning from the challenges of the previous year. As educators paused to reflect, they were encouraged to ask themselves, “How can we grow from those relationships?”
As the faculty reflected on their experiences as Lasallian educators, they shared personal metaphors about teaching including teachers as “second parents, compasses, gardeners, and thunderstorms.” The groups’ responses led Bro. Robert to create a metaphor for the SJC faculty and staff: “common room.” The wisdom of the communal room experience is that as educators, we listen to and learn from one another as we plan our lessons and engage one another in how best to guide the students entrusted to our care. He stated, “Our words should not return to us empty. They’ve got to bear fruit.” (Isaiah 55:11) He also introduced La Salle’s metaphors of teacher as good shepherd and guardian angel.
Following Bro. Robert’s closing words, the community attended Mass, remembering in a special way our new and returning Cadets, as they embark on an exciting and fruitful school year!