Our foundation as a ministry is guided by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, founded by St. John Baptist de La Salle, who is the Patron Saint of Teachers. Since 1958, we strive to serve others by carrying on the mission of touching hearts and transforming lives.
St. John Baptist de la Salle
Saint John Baptist de La Salle (1651 – 1719) opened his first school in Reims, his birthplace in northeastern France, in 1679. He was convinced that without Christian schools, poor children would be lost both to the church and to civil society. His initial efforts led him to organize the teachers whose services he had secured into a religious community called the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Over a period of thirty years, he opened schools in several French cities and towns and worked with numerous teachers and students from various socio-economic levels. By the time of his death he had founded different types of educational institutions: primary schools, teacher training centers, boarding schools, and homes for delinquents.
Alert to the needs of his time, he was an innovator in the development of teacher training programs and in curricular and pedagogical practices. Although de La Salle’s schools were primarily for the poor, they attracted children from families of differing economic backgrounds. However, he tolerated nothing of the social segregating which was the practice of the day. He prescribed uniform management procedures for the classroom instruction of students from different social and academic levels.
De La Salle regarded a school as a community of believers working cooperatively to achieve a shared vision. De La Salle was a prolific writer and his educational ideas are embodied in several major works: Rule of the Brothers of the Christian schools, Meditations for the Time of Retreat, and the Conduct of Schools, as well as in the textbooks he wrote for students. His contributions to Catholic education led Pope Pius XII in 1950 to proclaim him the Patron of Teachers.
Brothers of the Christian Schools
Since 1680, the Christian Brothers have encompassed the globe with institutions in over 80 countries. A Lasallian education strives to touch the heart of every child, through academic excellence, individualized attention, faith formation, inclusion, respect for the individual, service and social justice. This form of teaching attains transformative experiences that enrich each student’s cultural, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual development. Through St. John Baptist de La Salle’s inspiration, these educators transform education through a new vision of teaching young people, especially the poor.
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- Born – April 30, 1651
- Died – April 7, 1719
- Feast Day – May 15