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As a De La Salle brother, I walk in the footsteps of St. John Baptist de La Salle, the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools more than 300 years ago and the patron saint of all teachers. As such, I seek to work with people at Bethlehem University to create here an authentically Lasallian institution. This means we are sensitive to the needs of individuals and respect them as God’s beloved creatures. We are seeking to provide a human and Christian education for the young people entrusted to us.

At the heart of De La Salle’s mission was his awareness of living in the presence of God. Therefore, an important aspect of my life as a brother is to recall that, in the midst of the busyness of the day, I exist in the presence of God.

One aspect of this is De La Salle’s comment toward the end of his life. When it seemed as if all that he had devoted himself to establish was going to collapse, he responded: “Lord, the work is yours!” This is a mantra that has characterized my life here at Bethlehem University. So many times, I have been confronted with situations where I had no idea what to do. I sought advice, listened to people, read, prayed and reflected deeply — but in the last analysis, it was a step out in faith.

One thing that sustains me through all those times is the awareness that I am part of something much larger than my little agendas. This is God’s work I am about. So, with others, I seek to figure out the most life-giving thing to do, and then move with confidence and trust.

Being in Bethlehem has been a life-changing experience for me. It has been by far the most difficult job I have ever had because of the complexity of the situation, the unpredictability of life and the restrictions the Israeli military put on us. Learning to live with the ambiguity of the situation is an ongoing challenge.

However, it is only in the dark that we can see the stars. I have never been in a place where it is so obvious that what we are doing is worthwhile. To see secondary school graduates come here and watch so many of them grow into these amazingly confident, articulate, knowledgeable, principled young people means I can put up with all those things that make it challenging.

I am so blessed — and I am so grateful that I am so blessed!

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