Search A Catholic Life:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
St. John Baptist de la Salle

1955 Calendar (Double): May 15

Today we celebrate the life of St. John Baptist de la Salle.  Born April 30, 1651, St. John would live until Good Friday, April 7, 1719.  He would be remembered especially as the founder of the Brothers of Christian Charity.  This order, despite its former greatness, has fallen considerably since Vatican II.

La Salle received the tonsure at the young age of eleven and was named canon of Rheims Cathedral when he was fifteen. He was sent to the College des Bons Enfants, where he pursued higher studies and, on July 10, 1669, he took the degree of Master of Arts. When De La Salle had completed his classical, literary, and philosophical courses, he was sent to Paris to enter the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice on October 18, 1670. His mother died on July 19, 1671, and on April 9, 1672, his father died. This circumstance obliged him to leave Saint-Sulpice on April 19, 1672. He was now twenty-one, the head of the family, and as such had the responsibility of educating his four brothers and two sisters. He completed his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood at the age of 26 on April 9, 1678. Two years later he received a Doctorate in Theology.

De La Salle became involved in education little by little, without ever consciously setting out to do so. He lived in a time when society was characterized by great disparity between the rich and the poor. Jean Baptiste de la Salle believed that education gave hope and opportunity for people to lead better lives of dignity and freedom.

In 1685, he founded what is generally considered the first normal school — that is, a school whose purpose is to train teachers — in Rheims, France.

Although good teaching was important to John Baptist, spiritual formation was more so; and, in the face of a rampant Jansenism, he was advocating frequent and even daily Communion. When his foundation was firmly rooted and oriented, he resigned as superior, living thereafter as the humblest of his subjects. He died two years later, on Good Friday.

He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII on May 24, 1900, and was inserted in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1904. Because of his life and inspirational writings, he was proclaimed as the Patron Saint of Teachers on May 15, 1950, by Pope Pius XII


O God, You inspired the holy confessor John Baptist to teach the poor and to lead the young in the path of truth, and then founded a new congregation in Your Church through him. May his intercession and example fill us with zeal to glorify You by the saving of souls, so that we may also share his reward in Heaven. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal


Post a Comment


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Subscribe to Future Posts on A Catholic Life

Enter email address: