Anticipating an influx of interest in faith and related vocations around World Youth Day, the De La Salle Brothers have launched an unprecedented website that details intimately the life of a De La Salle Brother.
Opening up a brotherhood that has been previously shrouded in mystery, the site uses technology and evocative imagery to speak directly to youth, raising awareness of the extraordinary work done by the brothers, while offering insight and inspiration to those who may consider it as a life choice.
In a bold new approach for a religious order, the website tackles tough questions around vows such as poverty, celibacy, and living in community, with a frequently asked questions section and an interactive personality quiz that helps an interested applicant ascertain their suitability to this life. There is extensive information on the two-year training process involved and inspiring work experience opportunities in remote communities across Western Australia and Papua New Guinea, which provide a real sense of their work and life.
Brother Mark McKeon, who is leading the campaign for the De La Salle Brothers, says the pope’s visit and World Youth Day activities are expected to draw more people than New Year’s Eve, the Olympics and APEC put together.
‘Much of this interest will come from youth who have shown more regard for spirituality and enrichment through unique life experiences. Although not for everyone, the life of a brother can be extremely fulfilling and can offer the sort of rewarding experience a young man may be looking for. Traditionally our culture has been such that many don’t know about the work we do. We felt that this would be the best way for us to open our community on a wider scale and share some amazing life stories.’
The De La Salle Brothers, who were founded in 1680 by John Baptist De La Salle in France, began their mission in Australia in 1906. Since then, the order has established countless schools across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, building an exceptional reputation for teaching excellence and producing some of Australia’s most notable high achievers such as former Prime Minister Paul Keating and actor Bryan Brown.
The brothers are also responsible for the welfare work of BoysTown, Australia’s largest children’s charity including Kids Help Line and other initiatives, as well as the Lasalian Foundation which funds projects for disadvantaged youth across Asia-Pacific.
The brothers’ mission is to provide education, guidance and inspiration to youth in need, particularly the poor and marginalised. This sees the brothers working in roles that extend far beyond the classroom in welfare, employment agencies, universities, prisons, education offices and non-government organisations.
The new website will be supported by an awareness campaign using posters, leaflets and small print ads that will contain thought-provoking imagery depicting the adventures, challenges and adverse situations brothers face when dealing with troubled and disadvantaged youth.
‘Although rewarding and one to be proud of, the life of a brother takes some deep consideration,’ Brother Mark says.
‘It’s imperative that the option is presented to young men in an informed and honest way so that they can make an educated decision about taking this extraordinary path.’
In the De La Salle Brothers’ 320-year history, thousands of men have accepted the challenge to support and work with underprivileged youth and the marginalised. Today, there are over 5,000 brothers across the globe actively working in 80 countries in education and welfare.
For more information visit www.delasallebrothers.com
In New Zealand, Br Peter Bray runs the Wellington Catholic Education Centre, Br Pat Lynch is the CEO of the NZ Catholic Education Office and other De La Salle Brothers are at Francis Douglas Memorial College, New Plymouth and De La Salle College, Mangere East.