Among the twenty-five seminars offered by National CRI between Jan 2018 and March 2019 are five one-week Seminars with the title, “Being a Superior Today: The Essentials.” We bring in competent resource persons, and look at the essential aspects of animation and administration which a religious superior should know. The anonymous written feedback after every seminar has been overwhelmingly positive.
One of the sessions I take in these seminars is “Tips for Superiors”—a sort of bird’s-eye-view of all that a superior needs to keep in mind today.
It may be useful—for present and future superiors, as well as others in leadership roles—to have a more detailed look at these tips. Let me start with the most basic—a clear vision.
Years ago, when a Salesian province in India published the ranks won by our pupils in every school, as well as the percentage of passes—showing a distinguished academic performance, one of our major superiors from Rome raised the question, “Is this your idea of a good Salesian school?” A very good question! If a school is concerned mostly about academic performance, it will be tempted to recruit cleverer students from better-off or well-educated families, rather than open its doors to the poor and to children of illiterate parents.
Whether a Catholic school or hospital caters more to the poor or to the rich, depends mostly on the vision of the founder and of the present superiors. The leaders need to be clear about this: What is the ideal institution we want to run?
The right vision is the issue here: What is a good Salesian school? The same goes for any Catholic school or any other work run by a religious order or diocese.
Right vision for an institution is like the roots for a tree. Roots are unseen, but they are more important than what is seen.
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Fr Joe Mannath SDB