Complete dedication to what he saw as God’s will for him dominated the life of Saint John Baptist de la Salle. In 1950, Pope Pius XII named him patron of schoolteachers for his efforts in upgrading school instruction. As a young seventeenth-century Frenchman, John had everything going for him: scholarly bent, good looks, noble family background, money, refined upbringing. At the early age of 11, he received the tonsure and started preparation for the priesthood, to which he was ordained at 27. He seemed assured then of a life of dignified ease and a high position in the Church.

But God had other plans for John, which were gradually revealed to him in the next several years. During a chance meeting with M. Nyel of Raven, he became interested in the creation of schools for poor boys in Raven, where he was stationed. Though the work was extremely distasteful to him at first, he became more involved in working with the deprived youths.

Once convinced that this was his divinely appointed mission, John threw himself wholeheartedly into the work, left home and family, abandoned his position as canon at Rheims, gave away his fortune and reduced himself to the level of the poor to whom he devoted his entire life.

The remainder of his life was closely entwined with the community of religious men he founded, the Brothers of the Christian School (Christian Brothers, or De La Salle Brothers). This community grew rapidly and was successful in educating boys of poor families using methods designed by John, preparing teachers in the first training college for teachers and also setting up homes and schools for young delinquents of wealthy families. The motivating element in all these endeavors was the desire to become a good Christian.

Yet even in his success, John did not escape experiencing many trials: heartrending disappointment and defections among his disciples, bitter opposition from the secular schoolmasters who resented his new and fruitful methods, and persistent opposition from the Jansenists of his time, whose moral regidity and pessimism abut the human condition John resisted vehemently all his life.

Afflicted with asthma and rheumatism in his last years, he died on Good Friday at 68 and was canonized in 1900.

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Comments

13 COMMENTS

  1. Please pray for my family and myself were all going through some troubling times and problems and could use all your prayers thanks and have a blessed day amen… The Floyd Family

  2. I will continue, O my God to do all actions for the love of you. St. John Baptist De La Salle, pray for us! Live Jesus in our hearts, Forever!

  3. The Lasallian Prayer

    I will continue, O my God, to do all my actions for the love of you.
    St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
    Live Jesus in our hearts, Forever.

  4. The Lasallian Prayer

    I will continue, O my God, to do all my actions for the love of you.
    St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
    Live Jesus in our hearts, Forever.

  5. When a child learns from early on,,,,,,,everyday that Jesus Christ is with him,,,,,,,that child grows to learn…….
    He will never WALK. ALONE!!!!!
    Thank you St. John Baptist,,,,,,,,,please,,,pray…..for us !!!!!!!Church schools ,,,,,,were your gift to us !!!!!!!

  6. St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle, please help heal the damaged souls who were victims of physical and sexual abuse in the 1960s at the St. John’s Training School in Uxbridge, Ontario. At the hands of disorded ‘brothers’ who were not true to your rules of conduct for their moral and spiritual lives, many young men were affected by perversion and a lack of chastity and divine charity. Robert Morrissey and others went on to be ordained into the priesthood, then much later were held accountable for their actions. Wrap healing around the victims, their bodies/minds/hearts. Sting the abusers with physical and mental purification for tarnishing your good name, for corrupting the goal of education, St. de La Salle, all the days of their lives. Amen.

  7. Dear St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle, Bless you for founding Catholic schools for children. I attended St. Henry’s of Bayonne, NJ for 9 years – from Kindergarten to 8th Grade, and thanks to Msgr. Mulligan and the Benedictine Sisters I and all of the children in my class received a wonderful education for free. May God bless you for all of your struggles with the poor children of Raven and elsewhere.

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