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St. John Baptist de La Salle
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St. John Baptist de La Salle

The Brothers of the Christian Schools were founded by St. John Baptist de La Salle. John Baptist de La Salle was born on the 30th April, 1651, in the town of Rheims in France. He was the eldest child. As a magistrate, his father was rich enough to send him to school. John Baptist was intelligent and hardworking, and he obtained his Master's degree at a young age.The father of John Baptist expected his son to become a lawyer like himself.

However, at the early age of eleven, John Baptist had decided to become a priest. Since his parents were very good Catholics, they were happy with his choice. After many years of study in the seminary, a place for training young men to become priests, the Bishop ordained him at the age of twenty-seven on 9th April, 1678. When he was performing his duties as a priest, John Baptist met many poor children who never went to school. They wandered in the streets and became mischievous, unruly or even fell into evil ways. He pitied them and made up his mind to help them by establishing schools.

In his schools, the children were not only taught how to read and write, but also to cultivate good manners and above all to pray and live their Catholic faith. Those children soon behaved like 'gentlemen'. His good work attracted not only more children who needed help, but also men who wished to help him. These so called teachers had no training and so John Baptist invited them to join him, to live and pray together so as to strengthen their faith and confidence as well as to improve the quality of their work. This was in 1680.

A few years later at the suggestion of John Baptist the group promised to stay together and called themselves 'Brothers of the Christian Schools', now better known as the 'La Salle Brothers'. This was the genesis of a group of men whose main aim is the human and Christian education of youth. Little did John Baptist realize that this small and humble beginning would later gradually expand through the centuries, for today there are about 7000 Brothers in partnership with their Lasallian colleagues, running educational establishments of various types and sizes in some 80 countries around the world. In Asia, there are Lasallian missions in India, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

When he was on his death-bed, John Baptist reminded the Brothers to be men of faith in God and to remain faithful to their vocation and their mission of Christian education. He died on the 7th of April, 1719. As he had lived his Catholic faith and practised God's commandments of love so perfectly, the Catholic Church honoured him with the title of Saint in 1900. Since then he has been called Saint John Baptist de La Salle. In 1950, he was proclaimed Patron of all teachers by Pope Pius XII.


The Brothers of the Christian Schools were founded by St. John Baptist de La Salle. John Baptist de La Salle was born on the 30th April, 1651, in the town of Rheims in France. He was the eldest child. As a magistrate, his father was rich enough to send him to school. John Baptist was intelligent and hardworking, and he obtained his Master's degree at a young age.The father of John Baptist expected his son to become a lawyer like himself.

However, at the early age of eleven, John Baptist had decided to become a priest. Since his parents were very good Catholics, they were happy with his choice. After many years of study in the seminary, a place for training young men to become priests, the Bishop ordained him at the age of twenty-seven on 9th April, 1678. When he was performing his duties as a priest, John Baptist met many poor children who never went to school. They wandered in the streets and became mischievous, unruly or even fell into evil ways. He pitied them and made up his mind to help them by establishing schools.

In his schools, the children were not only taught how to read and write, but also to cultivate good manners and above all to pray and live their Catholic faith. Those children soon behaved like 'gentlemen'. His good work attracted not only more children who needed help, but also men who wished to help him. These so called teachers had no training and so John Baptist invited them to join him, to live and pray together so as to strengthen their faith and confidence as well as to improve the quality of their work. This was in 1680.

A few years later at the suggestion of John Baptist the group promised to stay together and called themselves 'Brothers of the Christian Schools', now better known as the 'La Salle Brothers'. This was the genesis of a group of men whose main aim is the human and Christian education of youth. Little did John Baptist realize that this small and humble beginning would later gradually expand through the centuries, for today there are about 7000 Brothers in partnership with their Lasallian colleagues, running educational establishments of various types and sizes in some 80 countries around the world. In Asia, there are Lasallian missions in India, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

When he was on his death-bed, John Baptist reminded the Brothers to be men of faith in God and to remain faithful to their vocation and their mission of Christian education. He died on the 7th of April, 1719. As he had lived his Catholic faith and practised God's commandments of love so perfectly, the Catholic Church honoured him with the title of Saint in 1900. Since then he has been called Saint John Baptist de La Salle. In 1950, he was proclaimed Patron of all teachers by Pope Pius XII.

 

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