The Lasallian Labyrinth

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 22 May 2017)

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God.

Every Freshman Spirit Orientation Day, Mr. McGinn teaches incoming freshmen  about the legends of La Salle, saying that if the walls of 612 Academy Ave. could talk, they would tell tales of those who made the most of their experience here at La Salle. Of more practical importance, however, Mr. McGinn guided me on our first official tour of La Salle, teaching me to navigate the Lasallian Labyrinth.  I can imagine that many of us were intimidated by the sheer size of La Salle and wondered how we could possibly find our way each morning.  That day I vowed to take a walk through La Salle each morning until I knew the layout of the school like the back of my hand. To this very day, I continue this tradition and I would like to take you on my daily tour of La Salle this morning.

Each morning, my walk begins just outside of Campus Ministry. It is when I stand outside of Campus Ministry that I am reminded of La Salle’s purpose.  La Salle Academy is surely an excellent institution that prepares students with the skills necessary to succeed in life.  More importantly, however, La Salle teaches us to live lives of service to each other.  It is in Campus Ministry that we recall  “we are in the presence of a loving God” 5,040 times over the course of four years. Photos of students doing good in our local community or on service trips remind us of the incredible acts of charity many of our student body have already participated in, as well as the future philanthropic works in the years to come. Campus Ministry serves as a reminder of our mission at La Salle, and how we have not only nourished our minds with knowledge but have cultivated the seeds of charity.

If one takes a left at the top of the second floor of the Science Building, he or she will  face a magnificently large window overlooking Cimini Stadium, Cronin Fields and the Mac. When one overlooks these facilities it reminds us of the determination La Salle has instilled in us, both on and off the field. High school can be a challenging time, and every one of us has experienced one of the unglamorous nights of cramming for a test or finishing a paper late in the evening.  La Salle precipitates the determination that is necessary for success in the world beyond. The fields remind us of those wonderful memories shared as a community, whether in the Beehive or field.  Those fields remind us of our times together, with “heads held high with one desire” and the collective determination it takes to succeed.

It is almost impossible to walk into La Salle in the morning and not be greeted by a teacher. It is those greetings that remind us of the dedication the faculty and staff have for us, the students of La Salle. The teachers of La Salle have made us into the people we are today. Although there may have been  times during which the coursework seemed overwhelming, they forced us to grow as individuals. Many teachers have been available before or after school to ensure their students’ success, and it is that sacrifice of time and energy that reminds us of the great gratitude that we should have for our teachers. As we walk through the halls each morning we recognize how grateful we are for your service, because through your efforts we have been educated in both mind and spirit.

By now, my tour of La Salle has reached the ground floor. As many of us walk by each and every day we hear music emerging from the band room and we gaze at the magnificent works of art constructed in our studios. Regardless of whether one is able to draw an accurate self portrait or not, I believe that we can all agree that La Salle has made us into more expressive human beings. Perhaps it is because we are just freshman on our first day of school, but through our time here we have matured and become the people we aspired to be. We have been educated at La Salle, not indoctrinated, and it is here that we have become capable of conveying our thoughts and values in our works of art or for many of us, simply  in the discussions we have each day.

By now, there is a crescendo of chatter that has emerged from the building and the silence of early morning develops into excited conversation. As each student enters the building, our building comes alive. Although our teachers are superb and our facilities stately, La Salle would be nothing without its students.  All of us, from the sixth grader at De La Salle to my fellow seniors, have become a central part of the Lasallian community. Seniors in particular have seen themselves develop from timid freshman into empowered seniors ready to face the world beyond.  To every underclassmen, no matter how many years until your graduation you will find this change in yourself as well.  We should be proud of our accomplishments because we have embodied what St. John Baptist de La Salle sought in his students, young men and women who seek to live lives of service to each other.

My daily tour of La Salle ends where my first tour began: at the Hall of Fame. When I was a freshmen it seemed almost impossible to visualize graduation; the finish line seemed simply too distant. Now only 17 days until graduation, I along with the class of 2017 have found ourselves become part of that very legacy.  To the class of 2017—when the last school bell rings tomorrow..Don’t be late.  Our future lies ahead.

Let us pray. We can trace a common heritage here and no matter what walk of life we pursue years from now, we will always remember the lessons we learned both in and out of the classroom.  Today we pray especially for the guides in our lives (in my own life, my first tour guide at La Salle, Mr. McGinn) and all of the faculty and administration here at La Salle. Most especially let us pray for every student at La Salle, no matter where we may be on our journey.  Let us make every morning, even the seemingly most mundane and ordinary, a distinctive memory that will be etched into our minds. When we leave these hallowed halls, let us be sure that, if the walls of 612  Academy Ave. could talk, our legacy will be  remembered by our kindness, our dedication, and our love for this absolutely tremendous community.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle. Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever.

John Larsen–Class of 2017

 

Serendipity AND Choices

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 19 May 2017)

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God…

Serendipity – The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way… I’ve always been fascinated with coincidences, with chance… how one single moment can literally change the rest of your life. Let me give you an example. On March 17th, 1990, Anne Nunes was on a plane ride home. She sat next to a guy with goofy oversized glasses, wearing a Celtics jersey and basketball shorts. His name was James Fleet. And from there, we, meaning my brothers and I, became just a possibility. So, what if my mom was late and missed her flight or what if my dad sat just one row back?  Then I wouldn’t be here. My entire family would cease to exist, all based on the seat number on an airplane ticket. So… what are the odds?

I’m sorry Mr. Pereira, I can’t say that I did any statistical math calculations for this one; some probabilities simply can’t be calculated. But I want everyone to ask themselves this question: What if you had never been in the same home room freshman year as one of your best friends now, would you still be friends with them? Or what if you decided to try out for soccer instead of basketball, would you have sat at a different lunch table, with completely different people? Every choice, every coincidence has brought you to where you are today. Some choices are bigger than others like choosing La Salle or choosing where you want to go to college.  We seniors know how tough that choice is a little too well; but, even the tiniest choices impact our lives, even as small as which way you decide to walk to class. I switched up my route to Spanish this week and it completely changed the faces I saw in the hallway. I saw some juniors that I hadn’t seen in awhile, had different conversations with different people, all because I chose to walk on the second floor rather than the 3rd, one seemingly insignificant choice.

I could tell you that choices and coincidences are all we need in life, but it’d be a lie. In order to truly embrace life it matters how we react. We must be open to experience something or someone new.  Throughout the years at La Salle, as I’ve taken pictures at anything from football games and school dances to Christmas at La Salle, I’ve come to know people I never would have talked to before. Had it not been for photography, there are freshman and sophomores, friends of friends, spike-ball ambassadors, artists, other photographers, that I probably never would have met. Choosing to take pictures at football games was certainly exhausting, especially when I’d have 10 texts before I even got home asking when the pics would be up, but through my lens I came to know so many different people… One single choice brought me to hundreds of people. I never once regretted it because I knew every time I brought my camera somewhere, I would meet someone new as long as I was open to the idea.

Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit, in the people we talk to, the routes we take to class, the lunch tables we sit at. If there is anything I have learned through my experience at La Salle, it is that each and every single person has something to offer, but you will never know what it is until you give them a chance. So open yourself up to new opportunities and people. La Salle has given me more friends than I could have ever imagined, but most importantly it taught me to be open to any opportunity that comes your way. There is always going to be someone new to meet, to have a conversation with; make them feel special too. Try to mix things up a little every once in awhile, even if it’s just going left instead of right, up instead of down or not planning where you sit at the assembly, because let’s be honest we all wait to meet up with friends before we sit down. You never know when one single moment could lead to a lifelong friend or simply a new perspective. I mean, just ask my mom, I’m sure she’ll tell you she didn’t think that 30 years later she’d still be with the goofy guy in seat 27C.

Now, let us pray, dear Lord, thank you for the gift of La Salle – for every new opportunity and experience it has brought us… For every friendship that it has given us. Let us always be open to life’s coincidences, its chance encounters. As we move forward in our lives, whether it is next year here at La Salle or the many places we will spread across the country, let us always remember the value of both a lifelong friendship and a brand new one. Let us always appreciate the people you put into our lives. And let us embrace the serendipity of life.

St. John Baptist de La Salle …. Pray for us

Live Jesus in our hearts… forever

Izzy Fleet–Class of 2017

La Salle Chose You—-Now You Must Choose La Salle

(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 18 May 2017)

Good Morning, La Salle!

Let us remember that we are in the presence of a loving God.

I had always been set on coming to La Salle since the time I was in the 6th grade.  It was around then when my father and grandfather started telling me about their own high school days when they came here as well.  It seemed like a cool idea that if I went to La Salle, I would be a third generation student.  So I used the last two years of middle school to work on my social, academic, and athletic abilities in hopes that, when I came to La Salle, I could offer it something in return for what I knew it would give to me.  After all, my dean Mr. McGinn said, “La Salle chose you, and now you must choose La Salle”.  You see, La Salle is not just merely the best college preparatory school in Rhode Island, rather, it has been the place where for the last four years, I developed my personality as a young adult and focused myself on the things I wish to achieve in the distant future.  And I can thank my family, teachers, coaches, and all of the new friends I have made for supporting me through it all and encouraging me to be my best every day.

I loved La Salle from day one.  Each and every day presented me with an opportunity to discover who I am as a person.  I learned that through hard work and discipline, it is possible to refine one’s self in a positive light.  The idea of constantly rising up to new challenges and giving a 200% effort each time says a whole lot about someone’s character.  My high school career has been marked by a record of successes and impressive milestones, both academic and athletic.  And as my senior year draws to a close, I look back on my experience and am happy because I can officially say that, “I chose La Salle” by involving myself within multiple aspects of our Lasallian community for the past four years.

At the end of the day, I learned that in order to succeed at anything, you must be supported by those around you.  It is the interactions between individuals that shape one’s character.  And whether you encounter someone who is nice or mean doesn’t really matter.  What is important is that we learn to see that God reflects His image through some aspect in every single human being.  So seniors, can you hold your heads up too and say that you chose La Salle?  The positive experience we have witnessed as the class of 2017 can only do us good for the rest of our lives.

Let us Pray…

Dear Lord, we thank you so much for our time here together.  For all the friends we have made, for all the days of laughter and fun, and for all the times of great discovery and learning. We thank you for all who have given of their energy and skill so that we can graduate:  our teachers and mentors, our family and loved ones.  As this chapter of our lives closes, so a new one begins.  We present ourselves like an open book before You.  Come and write your words of life into ours that we might eternally love and serve You this day and every day.  In your name we pray, Amen

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…..Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Hearts…. Forever

David Acciardo–Class of 2017

Lasallian Kinship

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday, 15 May 2017–Feast of Saint John Baptist de La Salle)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.

On the teacher’s desk in room 116 is a yellow post-it note with a quote from an inspirational man named Greg Boyle that says “No kinship, no justice. No kinship, no peace.” Let me say that again … “No kinship, no justice. No kinship, no peace.” What is kinship? The dictionary tells me that it means a kind of family relationship between people. Relationships. With seniors nearing the end of their high school experience and the rest of us looking towards the end of the school year, many of us are thinking about relationships or trying not to. The relationships that we have with family, with friends … with teachers, with students … with husbands, with wives … with boyfriends, with girlfriends … with the person whose locker is next to mine, with the person I park next to every morning … with strangers, with people we’ve never met. In this world of instantaneous and constant contact, a world that seems to encourage thousands of Twitter followers instead of a handful of deep relationships, I wonder how often we really dedicate ourselves to deepening the important relationships in our lives. “No kinship, no justice. No kinship, no peace.” I think the single thing that I love the most about being part of the La Salle Academy community here in Providence and the Lasallian community around the world is our emphasis on relationships – deep, one-on-one, smartphone-less relationships. Everything we do here is based on relationships – students, teachers, administration, guidance counselors, administrative support staff, coaches, security guards, maintenance staff, lunch room staff, campus ministers – lay people and Brothers of the Christian Schools. We are something in this world because of the “kinship” that binds us together.

The Brothers of the Christians Schools celebrate today our Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle. 350 years ago, Fr. John Baptist de La Salle’s life was completely changed by relationships, some ordinary and some extraordinary – his relationships with Jesus Christ, with his family, with Adrien Nyel, with the early Brothers, with their students. Those relationships defined his life. We know him 298 years after his death because of those relationships and the effect that they had on the generations of young women and men who have been touched by them. What I’d like you to do today is to put down your phone or your laptop and think about this question (PAUSE): “What deep, one-on-one, smartphone-less relationships am I nurturing and putting work into now that will affect the way I am remembered 298 years after I die?” Relationships are everything. Humans are built for relationships. Without relationships we are nothing. “No kinship, no justice. No kinship, no peace.”

Let us pray:

Lord God – you who are Three in One, you who are relationship by your very nature – open our minds and hearts to one another. Truly open us to each other so that we can develop relationships that will echo through eternity, like our Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle did. Lord, be close to those who feel most isolated today and inspire those around them to reach out to them in love. We ask this through Christ the Lord. Amen.

St. John Baptist de La Salle … pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts … forever.

Charles da Silva–Religion Teacher

Remembering: With Eyes–With Ears–With Heart

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 10 May 2017)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.

For the next few minutes, I invite you to try something different.  Close your eyes.  Push all the other thoughts you were just having out of your mind.  Listen to these words again.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “to remember” means “to bring to mind” or, “to think of again.”  We are invited to think of the fact that we are in the holy presence of a loving God at least five or six times a day here at La Salle, but depending on how you go about remembering, it is easy to forget.

Wait, what did I just say?  Depending on how you go about remembering, it easy to forget.  If remembering that you are in the holy presence of God is something you do with just your mind, remembering can end as quickly as it starts.   At any moment, there are so many stimuli competing for your attention.  A smirk from the person sitting next to you.  The buzz of a text message in your pocket.  The thought, drifting unbidden through your mind, of the really excellent bagel you ate for breakfast this morning.  That’s all it takes, and remembering that you are in the holy presence of God is over, and it doesn’t have a chance to change the way you approach your day.

Instead, today I invite you to remember in a more physical way.

Remember with your eyes.  When you see something beautiful, like the canopy of pink flowers covering the walkway from Academy Avenue to the entrance by the chapel, stop, look up, and take a moment to appreciate this beautiful spring in Providence, a reminder of God’s creation all around us.  You have 5 seconds to do that.

Remember with your ears.  When you hear someone using words that you know are hateful or vulgar, take a moment to stop, turn around, and say, “Hey, don’t use that word.  We don’t do that here.”  You have 30 seconds to do that.

Remember with your hearts.  La Salle Academy gives us countless reminders of how to be our best selves each day.  For students, you can take to heart the following words from St. Paul’s letter to his young companion Timothy, the first few of which are carved in Latin above the front doors to the school on the corner of Smith and Academy:

“Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.”  If you’ve never noticed this, take a look and think about what it means to you after school today.  You have 15 seconds to do that.

For faculty and staff, you can take to heart the wisdom of St. John Baptist de La Salle delivered to us via daily email, such as this reminder, which I saved last October: “To deal with young people very harshly is to forego all hope of effecting any good.”  If you haven’t been reading those emails lately, open the one today.  You have 15 seconds to do that.

So, when you open your eyes after prayer — they’re still shut, right? — see the world around you with new, more observant eyes and ears and a more open heart.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father,

Help us to approach ‘remembering’ that we are in your holy presence, in a new, more intentional way today and help it to bear fruit in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

St. John Baptist de la Salle — Pray for us!

Live Jesus in our Hearts — Forever!

Lia Wahl–Mathematics Teacher

“It’s An Incredible Joy!”

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 2 May 2017)

Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God!

Good Morning,

Yesterday, May 1st we celebrated the First Religious Brothers Day.

The idea for such a day came out of a group known as “The Brothers Think Tank” of which I am a member.  The Think Tank was formed about 5 years ago to look for ways to make BROTHERS better known.

One of the first things they did was to petition Pope Francis to declare a year of Consecrated Life – Consecrated Life is Religious life – members of Religious Orders – men and women who serve the Church in a special way………..And he did it.  And 2015 was that year.

Last year the Church headquarters in Rome – what we often refer to as the Vatican – published an official Document entitled: “Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church.”

Here are two lines from that document: “Rooting his life deeply in God, the Brother consecrates all creation, recognizing the presence of God and the Spirit in creation and daily events.  Because the Brother recognizes this active presence, he can proclaim it to his contemporaries.”

The Think Tank members were very happy with this document and decided to make it the focus of their “National Symposium of the Religious Brother in the Church“ which was held just a month ago at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

Another thing the Think Tank members decided to do about a year ago was to have a Day designated as “Religious Brothers Day.”  Yesterday, May 1st – Feast of St. Joseph The Worker – was that day.

Before closing with a short prayer I’d like to share with you the words of a Young Brother I know who recently pronounced his Final Vows: He said “We Brothers can offer hope and stability in a chaotic society.”

He went on to say that he joined the De La Salle Christian Brothers because of their multiculturalism and their strong focus on education.  “Everyday” he said, “ you have the opportunity to share the love of the Gospel with young people…through teaching, , listening to young people, hearing their faith and reflections.  It’s an incredible joy.”

I want to tell you that as a De La Salle Christian Brother for 60 years,  my life has been filled with much joy. I hope that all students here at La Salle Academy will be Lasallians; I hope that some of the young men here may consider the call to be a De La Salle Christian Brother.

 

Let us pray:

God of mercy and compassion we thank you for the many blessings of our first Religious Brothers Day!  We thank you for the extraordinary life, witness and ministry of Religious Brothers in our Church.  We ask you to deepen our appreciation of Religious Brothers, their congregational charisms, and their commitment to vowed community life.  Grant all Religious Brothers the grace and perseverance they need to proclaim your Holy Word for the life of the Church and our world.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

Brother Robert Hazard, FSC–alum, former teacher and former principal of La Salle Academy

They Came for a Visit—Not to Stay

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 7 April 2017)

Let us remember that we are in the Holy presence of God

“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority”.  John 7:17

Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of our Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, the patron saint of Catholic Education.  The Institute that he founded in Reims, France in the late 17th Century, The Brothers of the Christian Schools, is now assisted by more than 100,000 lay colleagues and teaches over 1,000,000 students in 80 countries in the world today.

As a lay colleague in this shared mission, I am often amazed to be part of such a significant global movement.  I am humbled to offer some words of reflection on our Founder’s feast day.

When I began to reflect on what I might say, inspiration came from an unusual place.  On the side of the glass milk bottle we have delivered to our house it says, “They came for a visit not to stay.”  This saying is true of all of us as we were sent by God to visit during our human existence and then return to God.  The question then becomes “What do we do on our visit?”

St. John Baptist de La Salle was a man who continually prayed to God to answer that question in his life, i.e. what God wished him do on his earthly visit.  The answer was not easy for him as it moved him out of a comfortable and privileged life and would win him some true “Brothers” and some serious opposition.

The answer for him came in two parts.  The first part was most likely obvious to a man who felt a call to the priesthood at an early age.  The idea that God’s salvation is the greatest gift that anyone can ever receive would be clear to him.  The second, that a human and Christian education was essential for the young men entrusted to his care, most especially the poor and marginalized, came to him gradually and led him to commit more and more of himself to what became his life’s endeavor.

This idea that education can lead to salvation was not universally accepted and many in power in De La Salle’s time and even some in power now deny education to some for their own selfish ends.

Early in his priesthood De La Salle was invited to assist in opening a school for the poor boys of his hometown— Reims, France.  As he came to see what was needed in the schools, he also came to see that these young boys had very little understanding of God’s love in their lives.  He saw that they either had very busy and absentee parents or no parents, and thus they were unable to provide the time and education for their children necessary to understand God’s salvation.  Thus, he came to see that a truly Christian school must teach skills that allow students to obtain meaningful work and provide the students the time for the prayer and reflection needed to ascertain God’s plan for salvation.  So, De La Salle focused his schools on places where practical skills were taught and prayer was constant.

This pragmatic approach to education led him to become a true innovator in his educational approach.  Yet, perhaps the most important element of his method is that he knew he could not do it alone.  He knew he needed other men to be his “Brothers” in his work.  He also truly understood that the work he was embarking on was not his own but God’s work.

Truly this was a man who made the best of his visit.  He poured himself into God’s work.  And even though the work was not always easy and the path not always clear St. John Baptist de La Salle and his Brothers trusted the will of God and have driven forth this mission that continues 298 year past the end of his own life.

We at La Salle are able to see his work in action and reminders about his life are ever present.  My favorite reminder is in the cafeteria where his last words are written in the center of the cafeteria— “In all things, I adore the will of God in my regard.”

Let us pray…

Loving God, let us be inspired to make the most of our visit here on earth.   Let us listen to your will in our lives and have the courage to live it.  Amen.

St. John Baptist de La Salle … pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts … forever!

Timothy Donovan–Social Studies Teacher

Touched by Sam’s Eternal Spirit

A Personal Remembrance of Sam Jenkins

Brother Frederick C. Mueller, FSC, Ed.D.

1 April 2017—A Celebration of the Life of Sam Jenkins

It was early in the first semester of the school year, Autumn of 2012—I am not sure of the exact date—but I am sure of the exact spot—a couch in the center lounge of Campus Ministry at La Salle Academy, that I met Sam Jenkins.  I know it was not the first time I had seen him in there as I passed through the space regularly for a few quiet moments in the Blessed Sacrament Meditation Chapel, but I became curious about this young man working diligently by himself on some school work—pen in hand and open book, no cell phone distractions.  In meeting for that first time Sam told me that he had transferred, that he had taken the Sophomore Religion course as a Freshman and that as a Sophomore at La Salle he was doing independent study using the Freshman Religion text.  As the conversation progressed he mentioned that he played hockey—was a goalie—and immediately I realized that I would be spending some time with this young man over the next few years in one of my roles at La Salle—that of Boys’ Hockey moderator.

 

Indeed I did spend time with Sam over those next three years and got to know something about him—how he was really bright (since I never had to call him into my office to talk about poor grades); how he was a young man of many interests—a young Renaissance man—who could move easily from the hockey rink to the Chorus Room as a member of Men’s a-Capella chorus, to the stage as a player in Othello, to the computer lab, to the English classroom and the debate team; how he had a perpetual smile, a cheery word, a firm handshake every time we greeted each other (sometimes a few times a day) as I engaged in my ministry of the hallways being present before and after school and between classes.

 

However, what I treasure more than knowing about Sam was coming to know Sam.  I discovered a young man who was comfortable in his own skin (on dress down days when students could be out of dress code, Sam would invariably appear in brightly colored or pastel shorts and shirts or with lounge pants with little boats or watermelons on them—a declaration by Sam of his individuality).  I discovered a young man of great loyalty and fidelity—never the starting goalie, Sam never complained about being a back-up or a 3rd or 4th string goalie; he was at every practice whether early in the morning or late in the evening doing what his coach asked him to and filling in whenever or wherever needed; even during his Senior year he was at almost every game and frequently in the locker room cheering his team mates on as they won the State Hockey Championship.  I discovered a young man who valued community—be it his family community so clear in his pride in his younger sister coming to La Salle or the school community itself.  One day early in the second semester of his Senior year he appeared at my office door (a frequent occurrence) and sat across from me excited to share with me the news of his choice of college—a massive search and plenty of open doors for him.  He proudly said, “I found a place like La Salle—small, a real community, a place where I feel I can belong—Swarthmore.”  And at Swarthmore he did indeed find a community where he could both fit in and be himself.  And finally, I discovered a young man of profound depth, great sensitivity, and deepening spirituality.  Later in that second semester of his Senior Year Sam came up to me in the corridor and announced, “I am thinking about becoming a monk!”  Quickly in my mind I am thinking—a Brother?  A Trappist monk?  He must have seen the pensive look on my face and said, “A Buddhist monk!”  I am sure he saw surprise flash on my face but the conversation ended there and he went on and I thought—how appropriate!  Sam loved the outdoors; he was an environmentalist.  Sam also loved the big questions.  Buddhism, which he was studying that semester, was a way for him to join in an organic whole the outside world and the inside world.  I never saw him in a saffron robe but it would not have been far-fetched.

 

Over the past year and one half that he has been away in college his frequent return visits (three times over the most recent Christmas break) revealed to me that Sam was continuing to grow—as someone secure in who he was, as a loyal and faithful friend, as a person who treasured family and community, and as a young man who had not lost his gift of deep reflection.

 

La Salle Academy will miss Sam—La Salle is more than bricks and mortar, more than alums returning to reunions; and, Sam will continue to be remembered as a treasured member of our Lasallian Family.  The Boys’ Hockey Program will miss Sam—forever he is a part of that team that broke the 38 year drought and that will never be forgotten!  And I will miss Sam and his on-going friendship.  Sam may be gone but there is a part of me that will continue to be touched by Sam’s eternal spirit.

 

I won’t say “Sam, rest in peace”—much too passive for Sam.  Rather, “Sam, continue to live—now and forever in the loving presence of that God whom you sought.”