Celebrating St. John Baptist de La Salle
Regina Angelorum Academy, a Catholic School in Ardmore, PA, celebrates Saint John Baptist de La Salle as he is the patron saint of all those who work in education.
His commitment to excellence in Catholic education and to exceptional teaching is well aligned with the mission of RAA, including the Classical Curriculum it offers.
The Catholic Church celebrates St. John Baptist de La Salle’s feast day on April 7th, however many people honor and celebrate him on May 15th which is known as Founder’s Day as he is also the founder of Brothers of Christian Schools.
“John Baptist de La Salle inspired others how to teach and care for young people, how to meet failure and frailty with compassion, how to affirm, strengthen and heal.”
– Brothers of the Christian Schools
The Life of St. John Baptist de La Salle
St. John Baptist de La Salle was born in 1651, in Reims, France.
He grew up in a wealthy family and was the oldest child.
La Salle committed to being a priest at the young age of 11 years old.
When he was 16 years old he was named Canon of Reims Cathedral.
Later at 18 years old, he received a master's degree in classical literature and arts, as well as philosophy, he continued his studies until he received his doctorate in theology.
After becoming a priest at age 26, he served as a chaplain and confessor at a school, Sisters of the Child Jesus.
There, La Salle was called to help run a new school for poor children school.
It was his time at this school that he became aware of the many needs within education; training and direction for teachers, more opportunity for children to succeed, accessibility to education for the poor.
There was much poverty in France during this time and families couldn’t afford to educate their children. La Salle’s solution was founding a community devoted to the education of children regardless of their ability to pay. --- He left his comfortable family home to live with the teachers, and established the Brothers of the Christians Schools.
After some push back from both the Catholic Church and the secular education system, he was successful.
In 1685, La Salle established the first school for the training of educators in Reims, France.
La Salle continued his work in education his whole life.
John Baptist de La Salle passed away on Good Friday, April 7th, 1719.
Later on February 19th 1888, he was beatified by Pope Leo XIII
On May 24th 1900 he was canonized.
“Because it is your duty to teach your disciples every day to know God, to explain to them the truths of the Gospel, and to train them in their practice, you must be entirely filled with God and burning with love for his holy law, so that your words may have their proper effect on your disciples.
Preach by your example, and practice before their eyes what you wish to convince them to believe and to do.” - St. John Baptist de La Salle
Prayer for Educators
A modernization of the prayer that the Christian Brothers prayed before school each day (beginning sometime after 1850):
You, O Lord,
are my strength, my patience, my light, and my counsel.
It is you who touch the hearts of the children entrusted to my care.
Abandon me not to myself for one moment.
For my own guidance and that of my students,
grant me the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and piety,
the spirit of a holy fear of you and an ardent zeal to procure your glory.
I unite my efforts to those of Jesus Christ, and I beg the Most Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph, the Guardian Angels, and Saint John Baptist de La Salle to protect me this day in the performance of my duties. Amen.
Photo Credit: Saint Resources