The photo gallery at right contains images of Saint John Baptist de La Salle as conceived by sculptors of many different generations.
His story is a good one, and his life was a difficult one, filled with opposition and misunderstanding as he tried to serve the needs of the poor and socially marginalized through the gift of education.
The oldest of eleven children in a wealthy and devoutly Catholic family in Reims, young Jean-Baptiste discerned early on a vocation to the priesthood. When both his parents died suddenly, the young man, in his early twenties, was called back home from the seminary in Paris to be the legal guardian of his younger siblings and to manage the parental estate. He carried out these duties well and faithfully, and continued his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1678 and received his doctorate in theology in 1679, and he was a canon of the prestigious Cathedral at Reims. Intelligent, kind, dutiful, cultivated, thoughtful, and very well connected in Church and society circles, he seemd to be set on a path through life as an eminent and respected cleric.
But when he was asked to help to make some connections in Reims for a man who wanted to found a free school for poor boys, he found himself being led -- step by step and quite unexpectedly, as he later recounted -- into a new and wholly novel vocation, that of providing education in tuition-free schools to poor children, and of gathering a group of men who would carry out this ministry. These men became the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and their Founder became recognized by the world of education as an innovator and pioneer, and by the Catholic Church as a saint.
For a brief introduction to the life and work of John Baptist de La Salle, click under 'Related Files' at right.
Much more information about the Founder, the Brothers, and Lasallian education can be found at the District of San Francisco website (www.delasalle.org) and the international Christian Brothers' website in Rome (www.lasalle.org). For an inside look at the vocation of a Christian Brother, visit the Brothers' Vocation site at www.brothersvocation.org/.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for us!
Live, Jesus, in our hearts: Forever!