Over the course of its 20+ year history, the Salesian Lay Missioner (SLM) program has had countless blessings. It has seen over 350 men and women, young and old, from all backgrounds, be transformed after spending one year, two years, and in some instances three years, working alongside the Salesians in countless ministries. Most often times SLMs come into the program and know very little about Don Bosco, the Salesians, the Oratory Criteria…but by the time they finish their ministry in the missions (both domestic and abroad), they have truly become part of the Salesian Family.
It is an undeniable truth that lives are truly transformed by this experience. There are countless examples/testimonies of people leaving for missions viewing the world through one set of lenses and then returning looking through a completely different lens – often times being more compassionate for those stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty, knowing Don Bosco and his mission, knowing what it means to truly “walk with someone” and what it means to be “present” with others.
It is also during this time of mission that many vocations are either born or nurtured to the point of becoming apparent to the SLM. Not surprising, the majority of SLMs return and go into some sort of service career where they work in the education/social/health services or with the church: nurses, doctors, youth ministers, social workers, teachers, international development, just to name a few.
Among these vocations, the SLM program has been very blessed to have had individuals enter religious life and dedicate their lives to serving God and others. Recently, the office looked into those that have answered this call to religious life after returning from the missions. In the words of one, “I pray always for the Salesians. I owe them my vocation.”
As candidates begin to discern their call to the SLM program, I ask for your continued prayers for them so that they follow what it is that God is calling them to. I also thank you for your continued support and prayers for the SLM program – it has truly, and continues to do so, changed the lives of hundreds of individuals (thousands if you count those they work with). ¡Viva Don Bosco!
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