Over 100 Come to SMC for Intensive Course in De La Salle's Teachings

Participants Say It’s an Eye-Opening Experience and an Affirmation of Their Work

Saint Mary's President Jim Donahue greeted Sister Jodi Min, right, and other Buttimer Institute participants at a Mass on the final day of the program.  Saint Mary’s has played host to a crash course in the teachings of De La Salle over the past two weeks, as about 120 teachers and administrators from Lasallian schools all over the U.S. and the world have come to the campus for the Buttimer Institute.

“It reaffirms that I’m here because it’s a vocation and how blessed I am to be part of this community and doing De La Salle’s work,” said Diane Aguilar, who teaches at San Miguel School, an independent Lasallian school for disadvantaged Latino boys in Washington, D.C. 

The institute is a rare opportunity for participants from far-flung schools to come together to study with well-known Lasallian scholars. The students live in community, just like the Brothers, and deepen their understanding of the Lasallian tradition. From morning prayers at 8:30 to classes all day long, Mass, dinner, evening prayers and a final gathering at 9 p.m., they live and breathe the teachings of De La Salle. 

It’s also a chance to connect with other educators and forge great friendships in the process.

As the participants neared the end of their stay, a few shared their feelings with us:

Edita Chico, taught at St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx, N.Y., for 20 years

“It’s an affirmation of how you are living the Lasallian life.”

Jan Ellis, teaches 10th grade English at De La Salle High School in New Orleans 

“It shows you how to teach in the Lasallian tradition, with the heart as well as the mind. It’s interesting to find out that what worked hundreds of years ago can be relevant today. De La Salle was very forward-thinking.”

Brendan Hogan, Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento

“I feel more connected to the mission, and I feel like I want to go back and share this with people at my high school.”

Leslie Welty, associate registrar, Saint Mary's College

“I met the kindest people from the United States and around the world who consist of my new community of friends.” 

Chris Trinidad, campus minister and choral music teacher at Saint Mary’s College High School in Berkeley

“It’s pretty intense. We all journey from different places to come to a singular place to explore these stories of De La Salle and to realize that we are a continuation of this story.”

About the Buttimer Institute:

The institute, named for Brother Charles Buttimer, the first American superior general of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (1966-76), is a series of two-week educational sessions over three consecutive summers run by the Christian Brothers’ San Francisco District. The first year focuses on De La Salle’s life and the Lasallian educator’s vocation, the second on the Founder’s teaching principles, and the third on his spiritual teachings.

This year’s faculty members were: Brother Jeffrey Calligan; Brother Fred Mueller of the La Salle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island; Greg Kopra of the De La Salle Institute in Napa; and Brother William Mann, president of Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota.

Teresa Castle
Office of College Communications