April 7

St. John Baptist de la Salle

St. John Baptist de la Salle

When They Lived:

St. John Baptist de la Salle lived from April 30, 1651, to April 7, 1719.

Where They Lived:

St. John Baptist de la Salle was born in Reims, France, and spent most of his life in various cities in France, primarily in the city of Rouen where he founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (commonly known as the De La Salle Brothers).

Notable World Events During Their Time:

  • Scientific Revolution (17th century): St. John Baptist de la Salle’s lifetime coincided with the Scientific Revolution, a period marked by significant advancements in astronomy, physics, mathematics, and other fields.
  • Glorious Revolution (1688): The overthrow of King James II of England by a group of English Parliamentarians, leading to political and religious changes.
  • Age of Enlightenment: A cultural movement emphasizing reason, science, and individual rights, challenging traditional authorities.
  • Great Northern War (1700-1721): A war involving several European powers that reshaped the geopolitical landscape of Northern and Eastern Europe.

Their Patronage:

St. John Baptist de la Salle is the patron saint of teachers, educators, and the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. He is also considered a patron of those who work in the field of special education due to his innovative teaching methods that catered to the needs of all students, regardless of their background or abilities.

Road to Priesthood

La Selle was offered to God by his parents at the age of 11, and he grew up devoted to religion. At the age of sixteen, he was named canon of Rheims Cathedral. He later went on to join the seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Paris on October 18, 1670.

However, due to the deaths of his parents, with the mother passing away in 1671 and his father the following year, he had to leave the seminary so that he could assume the role of family head at the age of 21. Fortunately, he was able to complete his theological studies on April 9, 1678, at the age of 26.

He helped the Sisters of the Child Jesus take care of the sick and educate girls from poor backgrounds and later went on to be their chaplain and confessor. After his work in the school system, he began new religious systems, the first one being the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, also known as the De La Selle Brothers.

Teacher of the Youth

La Selle’s responsibility for the education of the youth began when he was responsible for the education of his six siblings after the death of his parents. It was further cultivated when he worked with the Sisters of the Child Jesus, as he was also helping in the education of girls from poor backgrounds.

In the year 1679, he helped Adrian Nyel open a school, and shortly afterward, they also got someone who also wanted to sponsor them in opening another school for the poor, and that is how it became his life’s work.

All his work was mostly motivated by his plight for the poor, and he strongly believed that education was the way to bring hope and opportunities to the poor. He strongly dedicated his life to advancing the education of the poor children in Reims, and he took steps to provide leadership and training to the struggling teachers.

The first training for the teachers was in 1680, when he invited them for formals at his home, taking that opportunity to teach them table manners and instruct them in their work. He went further to invite the teachers to live with him, something that did not sit well with his relatives as this crossed the social classes. All this resulted in scandals, and LaSelle ended up losing his family home, resulting in him having to rent the house in which he ended up staying with a handful of the teachers.

La Selle even resigned as Canon so that he could fully dedicate his life to establishing schools and training teachers. Another display of his heart for the poor was when he sold his inheritance and sent the money to the province of Champagne, where a famine was causing hardships.

He went on to be the founder of the De La Selle Brothers, which was a Roman Catholic teaching religious institute that did not include any priests. In 1658, he became the founder of the first school that trained teachers in Rheim, France.

Death and Legacy

  1. He was also proclaimed a saint on May 15, 1950, and that was after
    He was inserted in the General Roman Calendar in 1904 to be celebrated.
    on the 15th of May. He is known as the Patron Saint of all teachers of
    the Youth. His feast day was moved to April 7, 1969.

5 Interesting Facts About St. John Baptist de la Salle

  1. Originally, he had no intention of working with the youth until he met
    Monsieur Adrien Nyel
  2. He sold his inheritance and gave away the money.
  3. His mother was related to Claude Moet, who is the founder of Moet.
    and Chandon.
  4. He was surprised by his achievements, as he did not believe he
    could achieve much.
  5. His father was in the legal profession.

Prayer to St. John Baptist de la Salle

Father, You chose Saint John Baptist de la Salle to give young people a Christian education. Give your Church teachers, who will devote themselves to helping your children grow as Christian men and women, 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.