Christian Brothers

Who was John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools?

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He was a French priest in the 17th century who came from a well-to-do family and was on the fast-track of a priestly career when he became involved with a group of men who were teaching poor children in parish charity schools. Within about five years he became completely devoted to the education of these children and to the training of these men, forming them into a dedicated, competent, committed, and holy group of educators whose whole lives were dedicated to the ministry of teaching, to the students entrusted to their care, to each other, and through all of these … to God.

The Patron Saint of Teachers in the Catholic Church

John Baptist de La Salle was canonized as a saint on May 15, 1900, and his statue stands inthe middle of nave of St. Peter’s in Rome (right side, top level). Exactly fifty years later, in 1950, Pope Pius XII declared him to be the “Special Patron of All Teachers of Youth” in the Catholic Church. Today, throughout the Lasallian world, May 15th is the day when his legacy, his heritage, and his charism are celebrated.

Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, 1651-1719

Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, 1651-1719

The secret of Saint La Salle’s success as founder of what is now a world wide system of schools was his strong prayer life, and the teaching he passed down to his Christian Brothers, and their students. For an explanation of this effective method, see the text of Brother Brian Dybowski’s talk describing Saint La Salle’s prayer method, called “How to Pray More Perfectly: A Method for Growth in Christ”, available on the following page.