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Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, the famous founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or the Christian Brothers, was born in Rheims of the noble family of la Salle.

Showing signs of a rare piety from an early age, Jean-Baptiste was destined for the priesthood, which fit well with his own inclinations regarding the future. He entered the seminary in 1670 at nineteen and was ordained in 1678.

A young man of refinement and good connections, he seemed to be destined for high office in the Church. But in 1679 he met a layman, Adrian Nyel, who had the idea of starting a school for poor boys in Rheims.

The newly-ordained Fr. Jean-Baptiste became engrossed in the project and began to guide Nyel and seven schoolmasters in the high educational ideals taking shape in his own mind. He even invited the group into his paternal home to live. But there, unwilling to submit to the discipline for which they had not bargained, they took leave.

Undaunted, the reformer waited patiently. Soon, he was joined by another group of interested men. To these Fr. Jean-Baptiste imparted a new method of teaching, which revolutionized the elementary schooling of the day.

Until then, children had been taught on an individual basis. Jean-Baptiste introduced into education the classroom setting, silence during lessons, and teaching in the vernacular rather than in Latin.

Soon requests began to arrive for teachers trained in the new method. Parish priests also began to send young men to the institute to be trained as masters for their own parish schools.

In time, Fr. Jean-Baptiste formed a novitiate and a rule of religious life.

After much prayer, he also established that his teaching institute would be constituted of lay brothers and not priests. From France the Christian Brothers spread throughout Europe and the world.

In 1717 the founder resigned the headship of his institute and lived like the humblest of brothers.

Suffering from asthma and rheumatism, Fr. Jean- Baptiste gave up none of his austerities.

Early in 1719 he met with an accident which ultimately led to his death on Good Friday of that year. He was sixty-eight years of age.

The Catholic Church set her seal of approval upon the life and apostolate of this man, a reformer and innovator of primary importance in the history of education, by canonizing him in 1900.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared him patron of all school teachers.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for May 26, 2020

Even though a man may be unable to attain such a height of s...

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May 26

 

Even though a man may be unable
to attain such a height of sanctity,
he ought to desire it,
so as to do at least in desire
what he cannot carry out in effect.

St. Philip Neri


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Philip Neri

All taste for earthly things left him and he made his way to...

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St. Philip Neri

Philip Neri, known as “The Apostle of Rome,” was Florentine by birth, one of four children born to a notary.

At eighteen, sent to work with a well-to-do uncle, Phillip had a mystical experience which he called his “conversion”. All taste for earthly things left him and he subsequently made his way to Rome.

There he found lodgings at the house of one Galeotto Caccia and taught his children in return for his keep.

For the next two years, Philip led the life of a virtual recluse, giving up whole days and nights to prayer and contemplation. When he did emerge from his garret, he immersed himself in the study of philosophy and theology, determined to live for God alone.

Philip started an apostolate, first at street corners talking to all who would listen, and then with young Florentines working in Rome.

In 1548 with the help of his confessor, Fr. Persiano Rossa, Philip founded a confraternity of poor laymen, popularized the devotion of the forty hours, and undertook the care of pilgrims in need. Greatly blessed, this work developed into the celebrated hospital of Santa Trinitá dei Pellegrini.

Philip Neri was ordained on May 23, 1551 and became known for the gift of reading the thoughts of his penitents. As the number of conversions increased, he began to give regular conferences.

With five initial disciples, among them the future historian and cardinal, Cesare Baronius, he went on to found the Congregation of the Oratory, which was approved in 1575 by Pope Gregory XIII who gave them the ancient church of Santa Maria in Vallicella. Philip rebuilt the church on a larger scale and it became known as the “Chiesa Nuova,” or the "New Church."

On May 25, 1595, Philip, who was known for his good humor and infectious joy, was in an especially radiant mood. His doctor told him he hadn’t looked so well in years. Only the saint knew his hour had come. He heard confessions all day, and saw visitors as usual but, upon retiring, he remarked to those around him, “Last of all, we must die.” At midnight he was seized by a severe hemorrhage. His disciples gathered around him, and as Baronius besought him for a parting word, unable to speak, the ardent apostle raised his hand and imparted a last blessing to his congregation before entering his reward. He was eighty years old. St. Philip’s body is interred in the Chiesa Nuova, which his sons in the Congregation of the Oratory serve to this day.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion t...

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Mary and the Simple Country Wife

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier. Little did she know that her soldier-husband had made a deal with the devil, that he would sell his wife for a certain sum of money.

One crisp, autumn morning the couple went out for their customary walk. Oddly, this time the young man insisted on heading towards the forest. It was at the forest where he intended to deliver his young bride over to the devil.

On their way to the forest, the couple passed in front of a Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The wife, overtaken with a desire to enter the church begged her husband to allow her to pray a Hail Mary in that church.

As the young lady entered the church, Holy Mary came forth from it, taking the form of the wife and accompanied the man into the forest.

When they at last approached the devil at the forest, he said to the man, “Traitor! Why have you brought me instead of your wife, my enemy, the mother of God?”

“And you,” said Mary, addressing the devil, “how have you dared to think of injuring my servant? Go, flee to hell.”

And then, turning to the man, Mary said to him, “Amend your life, and I will aid you.”

She then disappeared and that wretched man repented, amended his life and became a husband worthy of his simple country wife.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

 

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There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier.

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