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18.02.2016 16:57:01 2138x read.
Education, Teaching, Formation: A Waning Tradition within the Congregation?

Education, Teaching, Formation: A Waning Tradition within the Congregation?
By. Bro. Valentinus Daru S., FIC (Indonesia Province)
The Founders and their work.
When Mgr. Ludovicus Rutten started the FIC Congregation he set a big aim which includes the following: “Through such an institute immortal souls may be saved....” (Projet and Autobiography Mgr. L.H. Rutten p. 4.). To achieve this aim, Mgr. Ludovicus Rutten led the Congregation to develop three areas of service: schooling (education), feeding (social welfare), and healing (health care).  In his diary (journal) of 1841, Bro. Bernardus among others wrote: There was not at first any clear cut or definite aim fixed, the future being left entirely to Providence, they were to educate and teach children, take care of orphans, minister in hospitals etc. It was believed that through these three areas of charitable services the aim of the Congregation, to save immortal souls, would be achieved.
At that time services in health care, however small in scale, were considered necessary. Therefore when in 1855 the Brother General Superior Alexius wanted to take it out from the list of activities done by the Brothers, Mgr. Ludovicus Rutten did not agree. In keeping the health care services, Mgr. Ludovicus Rutten had hoped that should the Brothers not be allowed to work in the area of education, the caring for the sick would guarantee the continuation of the Congregation (Cf. Bagaikan Biji Sesawi, pgs. 77-78). Work on health care was completely stopped when Brother Bernardus replaced Bro. Alexius as general superior from 1857 to 1880.  Even though Mgr. Ludovicus Rutten did not agree, Brother Bernardus was firm in his decision and confirmed that the main work of the Congregation was educating and teaching children (Cf. Bagaikan Biji Sesawi, hal 91)
The focus of services done by the Brothers then became clearer: education and teaching, as the main apostolic work. As time went on, the work on education and teaching continued growing. More and more schools were opened. Then the need for more Brothers with a teaching certificate was also felt more and more. New candidates to the brotherhood were mostly without a teaching certificate. Instead of sending them to teacher training colleges run by other institutions, it was better for the Congregation to have its own teacher training college and thus admit other students.  (Cf. Bagaikan Biji Sesawi, hal. 74).  
In 1853 a teacher training college was opened in Weert, and in 1863 it was moved to Maastricht. The college had a strategic value for the Congregation, not only in the area of apostolate, but especially also in forming new cadres that could live out and even impart to others the FIC-charisma. With this college the Congregation formed reliable educators to the brotherhood to continue the tradition of education - the original aim of the FIC Congregation. The college produced not only Brothers but also non brother-teachers with high apostolic and Catholic Spirit. (Cf. Bagaikan Biji Sesawi hal. 92)
Education as the main apostolic work in Indonesia.
The reliable “product” of the teacher training college in Maastricht spread and reached Indonesia. In 1920 the Brothers came to Indonesia and started basic education for the indigenous children. In the hands of those qualified educators the work on education grew rapidly.  Like in Maastricht, the Brothers in Indonesia at the beginning also opened what we may call “work of feeding” by starting an orphanage in 1939 in Boro. Then, in 1967 they started social-work, Soegijapranata Social Foundation that among others ran a number of polyclinics.  Yet this work on the orphanage and polyclinics did not grow as fast as that on education. The work on education and teaching that was started in Yogyakarta, in the form of two basic-schools, has now grown to become an Educational Foundation called “Pangudi Luhur Foundation” (YPL).  The Foundation manages schools from pre-primary level to senior high. In the past the Brothers also had three teacher training colleges. From these colleges many young people were trained to be highly qualified teachers and educators. They were trained by Brothers who had gone through the Brother’s teacher training college in Maastricht. These Brothers imparted not only knowledge to the young people but also values of teaching and educating. Quite a number of them even felt called to become Brothers. Then a time came when the government closed down all teacher training colleges in the country. 
At the moment YPL is running more than 80 schools. Many educators and teachers are engaged in them. This year 2015, there are 1587 registered teaching personnel. Among them are 71 Brothers some of whom are already in their retirement age. It is good to let these Brothers continue to dedicate themselves in the area of education and teaching. It is not just because of the fact that they still have the strength and capacity to do so, but also because of the reality that there are not enough younger Brothers who are suitable enough and possess the right character needed to work in schools.
The waning tradition?
During the past few years in Indonesia, the early stage of the Congregation seems to repeat itself. Candidates to the FIC-brotherhood are few, and mostly have no educational back-ground to be teachers. To become educators they have to attend an advanced teacher training college run by other institutions with their own colors and interests. This somehow requires FIC’s openness to work with other institutions which have the same attention and concern for education. The FIC’s horizon and experience is enriched when touching those different colors.
On the other hand, when the FIC has no more educational institutions to train / prepare teachers, the Brothers loose the chance to transfer FIC educational values to the next generation, including their own Brothers. When we have no more means to implant the soul and spirit of FIC through education, we may gradually loose our main tradition of education, teaching and Christian formation. Our tradition is waning when we fail to produce cadres who are imbued with FIC Spirit. Well, it is true, we have more than 80 schools, and we may be able to open more, yet the FIC Spirit is not alive there since we do not have cadres formed through our own educational institutions.
At the moment, if Brothers who are past students of FIC teacher training colleges are still the policy holders, and if our schools are still spear-headed by past students of FIC training colleges, the waning of our tradition may not be so apparent.
Looking ahead.
Up to now we are successful in developing our schools and we receive good name from the society. Yet I am afraid, we are on the way to failure in developing the heritage of our Founders. We are successful in our external mission (missio ad extra), but internally (missio ad intra) we are weak. By offering young Brothers the chance to study in higher educational institutions run by non-FIC institutions, we do get Brothers who are teachers. Yet it is questionable whether there is also an opportunity for them to find the soul of FIC in education. We fail in creating young “executives” because our Brothers do not experience inheriting values handed down by their fore-brothers. They get the heritage from “third party” who do not know who we are and why we dedicate ourselves to educating, teaching and forming the young. 
Isn’t it necessary that we start seriously studying the “history” that was created by Brothers Alexius and Bernardus when they decided to open a school for teachers?  That time to open a school to train teachers was not an easy matter. Yet they had strong motivations and reasons. They considered seriously the importance of internal as well as external developments. In the book “Bagaikan Biji Sesawi” it is written: “The execution of the intention should be thought of seriously, because it will surely cost a lot. Besides, there is still other difficulty: How to get the teaching staff? Since there was a strong push from other corners to start as soon as possible, therefore in 1853 the General Council decided to open a School for teachers in Weert … The name “Teacher Training College” was indeed great. But in reality it was not all that great. For a number of years all the activities were carried out in one classroom only. Brother Aloysius, the director, did not have yet the qualification to head the school. Yet, just like at the start of the Congregation, with all the limitations experienced, this new project grew gradually well ...” (p. 74). 
At the moment when FIC is marking 175 years of existence, is it possible to create a history?

14.03.2016 18:31:27
A beautiful write up that enlightens many on the activities of FIC in general and Indonesia province in particular. well done Valentinus D

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