Brother David Caretti, F.S.C., Ed.D.
As a Lasallian Family, responding to the situations that exist both in our country and in our world, we are called together in prayerful unity, to seek a full end to slavery in our world, to any and all situations where it currently endures, and also calling for an end to its traumatic influence within our own country and our world.
Slavery’s scars continue to be present in continuing injustice, in existing inequality, and in the persistence of racism. We acknowledge that, while we may have inherited a world and a country that abolished the enslavement of people years ago, all of us live in a world marked by slavery of the past, and many have been affected in more severe ways than others. Our present diversity that we prize so much, itself reflects the diversity of ways that the one human race is diversely affected by one of the gravest injustices that has ever been allowed to exist both legally and illegally.
Each year, on September 27th, the worldwide Lasallian Family—a family of the Brothers, lay teachers, students, alumni, a family in which you belong—celebrates the life and legacy of Brother Scubilion Rousseau.
Brother Scubilion spent 34 years of his life as a Brother serving the people of the small island of Réunion, off the eastern coast of Madagascar. As he arrived in 1833, he noticed a great disparity between the French colonists, the native Créole people, and native Black people, a significant number of whom were enslaved. This would have been a very different experience for Brother Scubilion and the other Brothers arriving on the island, because 19th Century France was not an ethnically diverse society, especially where the Brothers conducted schools.
The Brothers were so successful with their schools on Réunion Island, that they soon needed more Brothers to serve in the classrooms, and they began to recruit a diverse group too, from among the native Créoles, the Whites, and they also welcomed the first Black postulant ever in the history of the Brothers’ Institute. His name was Alfred Ducap, and upon reception of the habit of the Brothers, he took the name Brother Ladolien.
Within a short time, and having won the respect of many different people for his kindness and approachability, Brother Scubilion established an evening school to serve the educational needs of the enslaved, and when the slaves were freed in 1848, he turned his attention to ensuring that those now free had an education that allowed them to best live this new life of freedom.
During the canonization process, Bishop Aubry wrote the following in support of Brother Scubilion’s possible sainthood:
Brother Scubilion] brought a boldness born of the gospel to the very heart of a society that still regarded as normal the institution of slavery, which in the long run destroyed the human dignity of the masters as well as of those who served them. By his educational work, and through his Christ-like poverty that made him always available to others, this Brother was able to win the confidence of the disinherited and to conquer all hearts. … By his love of God and of people, he made himself the slave of the slaves.”
Rather prophetically, Bishop Aubry continued, “Today it is important that in our schools, where different social classes and different races come together, it be always recalled that Jesus Christ is the reference point for the equality among us. This is truer now at a time when, in the course of political battles, some groups would like to profit by the deep currents of racism and the old wounds from the period of slavery. Rekindled hatred can never be the source of a decent future or a motivation for brotherly love.”
Veneration of the remains of Saint Scubilion
May our God who loves us, be with us, and hear our prayers on behalf of those who remain bound.
May God open our ears, eyes, and hearts to accept and love everyone hurt by slavery.
Blessed Brother Scubilion, pray for us.
Photo credits: Rome, Generalate of the Brothers of the Christian Schools