Monday, September 18, 2006
Saint John Baptiste De La Salle
John was the eldest of ten children of a wealthy and noble family. He was destined for the priesthood at age 10 and began to prepare for the Holy Priesthood when he was 11 years old.
He went to the seminary in Paris, but after the death of his parents he had to leave to look after his brothers and sisters. A few years later he returned to his studies and was ordained. He was admired for his great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
John was asked to help in two schools in which the teachers were trying to educate their students free of charge. He helped the teachers for four years, and then decided to spend his life with them.
He gave away the fortune his parents had left him. He and the young men then took vows to become teachers and teach all their lives. This was the beginning of the congregation of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or Christian Brothers.
During his lifetime, John introduced new methods of education. He divided the students into grades and started the first school to train teachers. He also started high schools and technical schools where children might learn a trade. He is often called the "father of modern education."
Saint John died at Rouen in 1719 and was canonized in 1900.