In the fall of 2014, the Lasallian Volunteers received a grant from the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) to further develop and support current Lasallian Volunteers in their vocational and faith journeys and engage LV alum to walk with them as Spiritual Companions.
The FTE grant allowed for the Spiritual Companion Initiative to come to life, first by bringing together a wide range of expert and experienced spiritual directors and Lasallian educators to develop a curriculum for training those LV Alums who will be companioning current LVs. Then, after an application and interview process, LV Alums who said yes to the invitation to be Spiritual Companions, were brought together for a training.
Spiritual Companions will begin accompanying current LVs over the summer and next service year. The Spiritual Companion Initiative is one aspect of many in supporting the faith journey and development of current LVs and LV Alum.
Companions on the Journey
a reflection by Erica Sage Pitts, 06-08
“Let Us Remember…” are three words that unite Lasallians worldwide and were the words that opened our training. A group of eight LV alums gathered to learn more about what it would mean to be Spiritual Companions to current volunteers.
As LV alums over the past 24 years, we served all across the country and currently live all over the U.S. as well. We said “yes” to being the first cohort of LV Alum to walk with volunteers on their spiritual journey in this way. The gracious religious order of the Cenacle Sisters, whose charism is spiritual direction, housed us at their convent in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, IL.
Spiritual Directors, Brother Michael French and Marci Madary facilitated the training and offering time for meditation, journaling, prayer, and song so we might dig deep within ourselves throughout the weekend in the hopes of tuning our ears to better hear and serve others.
“I was reminded that not only is the physical, day-to-day work of being an LV a great challenge, but perhaps an equal challenge is trying to navigate emotionally, mentally, and spiritually through all the experiences one has as an LV, said Tom Cook, 02-04, who served in Kansas City, Missouri. “On top of all that, an LV is trying to discern what their next step is going to be after they finish the LV program.”
As an alum who has been out of the LV program since 2008 and has since given a great deal of energy and attention to her husband and three children, this retreat was a chance to take a step back from where God has me currently and reconnect with a program that influenced me in a great way. Nervous about my five month old daughter being away from me for hours at a time and unsure of how this position as Spiritual Companion would take shape, I was quickly put at ease with Brother Michael’s opening prayer and exercise on the many images of our good God. Throughout the weekend, I was reminded of the verse from James that calls all believers to “be quick to listen and slow to speak,” (James 1:19). As a group, we took part in multiple training sessions where we practiced improving our listening skills in an attempt to understand what it means to truly hear one another in a loving, nonjudgmental way. Our desire as believers of God and as Spiritual Companions is to be effective listeners who hear the cries of the hearts of current volunteers while walking with and speaking life to them.
“I felt thankful to be in the presence of generous LV Alums who are willing to give of themselves to serve the current LVs in our new roles of Spiritual Companions. I left thinking what a blessing it is to be part of our Lasallian family” said Tom Cook.
In much the same way that Saint John Baptist de La Salle did not intend for the Brothers to walk alone on their journeys as educators with the poor, we hope to encourage, affirm, and walk with LVs on their spiritual journeys.