JEAN-BAPTISTE DE LA SALLE
- A pioneer educator -
Jean-Baptiste de La Salle is the founder of all the Lasallian schools worldwide. He was born in Rheims, France in 1651 to a noble family. After completing his theological studies at the Sorbonne, he was ordained a priest at the age of 27. The almost non-existent public education of his day, led him to the decision to create schools for the poor children. In his bold endeavor, there are many who followed him. In 1682 he founded the “Order of Brothers of Christian Schools”.
The difficulties he encountered did not disappoint him. His methodical and systematic work as well as his dedication to children, resulted in the success of his endeavor.
Apart from his zealous missionary, Jean-Baptiste de La Salle is emerging as a great educator and a pioneer in his day. One of the most significant innovations he introduced was the substitution of Latin with French, as well as the simultaneous teaching of students, the separation of classes according to the cognitive level and age of the students. Furthermore, he drew up a regulation handbook for the schools. From the beginning, de La Salle catered to the training of the teachers (Brothers) who worked alongside him. Their enthusiasm and great success of the schools continued even after Jean-Baptiste de La Salle’s death, in 1719.
Jean-Baptiste de La Salle was canonized on 24 May 1900. Today, his continuators number 4,000 Brothers who work with over 90,000 teachers and professors, men and women of all religious and cultural backgrounds, offering their services to millions of children, teenagers and youths, in 80 countries all over the world.
The schools that continue to apply the pedagogical principles of Jean-Baptiste de La Salle are known as Lasallian and number approximately 1,000 worldwide. The Lasallian Schools of Greece belong to this educational network.
– Milestonesin the life of Jean-Baptiste de La Salle –
1651: 30 April. Born in Rheims, France to a noble family.
1662: He informs his parents of his desire to follow the ecclesiastical field.
1668: He rises in the ecclesiastical ranking.
1669: He registers with the University of Reims.
1678: Having studied at the Sorbonne, he is ordained a priest.
1679: The bleak situation in education in his day leads him to the decision to create schools for the poor children. He founds the first three Christian schools in Rheims.
1680: He receives his doctorate in Theology.
1681: He hosts the poor teachers- collaborators of his in his home.
1682: The “Community of Brothers of the Christian Schools” is founded.
1688: He innovates in education: He divides pupils according to cognitive level and age, he introduces the French language abolishing Latin and draws up a school regulation.
1717: A vow of absolute equality among the members of the Order.
1718: He donates his fortune to the Order.
1719: 6 April. He dies at 67 years of age.
1725: Pope Benoit XIII recognizes the Order.
1900: 24 May. He ranks among the Saints.
1950: Pope Pius XII proclaims him “Patron Saint of Teachers of Youth”.
- Quotes on Jean-Baptiste de La Salle and his work -