Rome, Italy, May 21, 2014 / 15:18 pm
The French-founded Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools have elected Brother Robert Schieler, an American with extensive education experience, as their new superior general.
"I am humbled by this great challenge the brothers have given me, to be able to follow in the footsteps of our holy founder St. La Salle," Br. Schieler said in a video message after his election.
"I know that anything that can be accomplished will be done only because of the great Lasallian family that we are all a part of," he continued.
He stressed the need to respond to the needs of the world, especially the needs of the young people and of the poor who are "in great need of an education."
The election took place May 20 at the religious institute's 45th general chapter in Rome. Br. Schieler becomes the Lasallian Brothers' 27th superior general of the institute founded by St. John Baptist de La Salle in the late 17th century.
The Lasallian Brothers are the largest order of religious brothers dedicated to education in the Catholic Church.
Br. Schieler was born in Philadelphia in 1950. He first met the Christian brothers as a student at Philadelphia's West Catholic Boys High School, now known as West Catholic Preparatory High School. He joined the Lasallian Brothers in September 1969 and made his final profession in 1979, the Lasallian Brothers' North American region reports.
The new superior general holds a master's degree in European history from the University of Notre Dame, a master's degree in Asian studies from the University of the Philippines, and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
He graduated from Philadelphia's La Salle College, which has since become a university. He sits on the university's board of trustees. He is also on the board of St. Mary's University of Minnesota and on the board of Bethlehem University in Palestine.
Brother Schieler served as a teacher in the U.S. and spent more than ten years as a missionary in the Philippines. He has served in school administration in positions including assistant principal and superintendent.
For the last seven years, he has been general councilor for the Lasallians' North American region.
Br. Schieler is the third American to serve as the Lasallian Brothers' superior general. He succeeds Brother Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría, who headed the institute for 14 years.