During Catholic Schools Week various Lasallians have been invited to offer prayer for the school community on the Public Address system on the theme of the week: “Enter to Learn–Leave to Serve.” On Tuesday morning, 28 January, an alumna offered the prayer.
Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God.
I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Karen Clements, but many teachers here know me as Karen Carty. I am a member of the La Salle Academy graduating class of 2003. It’s hard to believe that just 11 years ago, I was sitting in the same seats you sit in today. Like you, I benefited from receiving the top notch Catholic high school education that La Salle Academy has to offer. As you know, La Salle individually challenges its students to succeed academically, athletically, and artistically. But more importantly, La Salle allows students to develop personally, emotionally, and spiritually. Through the three Lasallian pillars of faith, community, and service, students at La Salle develop more than just a sense of pride for their school. They develop an identity… a Lasallian identity. La Salle has played a major role in shaping me into the woman I am today. It has led me on a journey of unexpected events and has helped me to discover who I am and why I am here.
After graduating from La Salle, I went on to study education at Temple University in Philadelphia. Despite the fact that I was no longer attending a Lasallian school, I carried the values I learned at La Salle with me. La Salle helped me to identify a sense of responsibility in helping the poor. I discovered that I could best accomplish this through education. I was determined to dedicate my life to providing kids from challenging circumstances with a quality education. Now, I could have accomplished this goal anywhere, but God works in mysterious ways. Just before graduating from Temple University with a bachelors in Elementary and Special Education, I received an unexpected phone call from my brother, Mark Carty, whom many of you may know. He told me that his coworker, Ms. Elissa Cerros, who also happened to be one of my former teachers, explained to him that there was a 5th grade teacher position open at San Miguel School, which I’m sure most of you know is also a Lasallian school. Ms. Cerros told Mr. Carty that I should apply. I was hesitant to fly back home to Providence, right before graduation, for an interview. However, I was curious to find out more about this Lasallian school, which at that time, I knew very little about.
Now if any of you have ever been to San Miguel, you know exactly what I experienced when I walked through those doors. To my surprise, 64 fifth through eighth grade boys walked right up to me, looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and welcomed me into their school. This was no ordinary school. This was a Lasallian school. I felt the same sense of respect for others and community that I experienced as a student at La Salle Academy. I was hooked. I was hired as the fifth grade teacher at San Miguel School and have been working there now for seven years. I am proud to say that I am not just a teacher. I am a Lasallian teacher.
Over the years I’ve discovered that being Lasallian doesn’t end once you graduate from La Salle Academy. Being Lasallian is a way of life. I consider myself a life-long Lasallian. I may have entered the doors of La Salle in 1999 to learn, but I left in 2003 to serve.
Our founder, Saint John Baptist De La Salle, once said, “God led me in an imperceptible way and over a long period of time so that one commitment led to another in a way that I did not foresee in the beginning.” I believe that I have found my purpose in life. Every step on my Lasallian journey led me to the next. It led me to a deeper commitment to Lasallian education and a deeper understanding of the Lasallian mission. As Lasallians, we are here “to do God’s work”. Each of our Lasallian journeys may look different, but we must be open to the unexpected ways in which God is knocking at our door.
Let us pray (in the words of Brother Nicholas Hutchinson, FSC).
Your presence is interwoven throughout each day of our lives.
As we continue on our Lasallian journey,
touch our hearts and open our eyes that we may recognize you walking beside us.
Lead us to live in such a way that we discover you
In the quietness and in the spaces,
As well as in the busyness of our lives each day.
Continue to call us your friends
And accompany us
To where we shall see our Creator, face to face.
St. John Baptist De La Salle, Pray for us.
San Miguel, Pray for us.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts, Forever.
Karen Carty Clements, LSA Class of 2003