Priest and Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools: 1651-1719
+ John Baptist was born into a wealthy family in Rheims, France, and received the clerical tonsure when he was only 11 years old. He was named a canon of the cathedral at the age of 15. (Cathedral canons were diocesan priests who had the responsibility of singing the Divine Office each day in the cathedral.)
+ After his ordination to the priesthood in 1678, John Baptist completed a doctorate in theology but had no defined area of ministry. He lived a life of comfort as a cathedral canon.
+ A chance invitation led to John Baptist being named as administrator of a free school for poor boys. As the school grew, he was inspired to establish an order of teaching brothers to educate the boys. This led to the foundation a new religious community: the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
+ John Baptist saw his brothers as “ambassadors of Christ to the young” and his instructions and manuals for the teachers, especially his Conduct of Christian Schools, made him a leader in the field of education.
+ John Baptist de la Salle died on Good Friday, April 7, 1719. Canonized as a saint in 1900, he is honored as the patron saint of teachers.
Over the years, several members of the De la Salle Christian Brothers have been honored as saints. The most recent of these is Saint Solomon LeClerq, a French Christian Brother who was one of the “Martyrs of September” killed on September 2, 1792, during the French Revolution. He was declared a saint by Pope Francis on October 16, 2016.
“The first effect of faith is to attach us strongly to the knowledge, the love, and the imitation of Jesus Christ and to union with him.”—Saint John Baptist de la Salle
To learn more about the De la Salle Christian Brothers, visit: www.brothersvocation.org
O God, who chose Saint John Baptist de la Salle
to educate young Christians,
raise up, we pray, teachers in your Church
ready to devote themselves wholeheartedly
to the human and Christian formation of the young.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Silas Henderson