Introduction to St. La Salle and Lasallian Schools

Educating in the
Holy Presence of God:
An Introduction to
St. John Baptist de La Salle
and the Lasallian Schools
The 5 Core Principles
Of Lasallian Schools
 Faith in the Presence of God. We believe in and are
animated by the living presence of God in our students, our
community, and our world.
 Concern for the Poor & Social Justice. We live and act in
solidarity with the poor and advocate for all who suffer
 Quality Education. We instruct and guide our students to
strive for scholastic excellence, to value life-long learning,
and to be servant leaders.
 Inclusive Community. We welcome and celebrate diversity,
fostering mutual acceptance, appreciation, and solidarity
among all persons.
 Respect for All Persons. We honor the dignity of all
persons, building and sustaining with others relationships
of care, compassion, and love.
Faith in the
Presence of God:
The Life of
the Founder
John Baptist de La
Salle was born on
April 30, 1651, in
Reims, France.
At age 11, he began his
studies for the priesthood. At age 15, he was
made a canon at the
Cathedral of Reims.
In 1670, De La Salle
entered the seminary of
Saint Sulpice in Paris.
De La Salle was
ordained a priest on
April 9, 1678.
In March of 1679, De La
Salle met Adrien Nyel,
a layman who was
seeking help to
establish a charity
school for poor boys.
De La Salle agreed to
help and the charity
school opened on the
Rue Saint Maurice in
Reims on April 15,
Soon, public demand
led to a second and
then a third school
opening. However,
De La Salle soon
realized that the
schools were not
prepared to run well.
Adding to his dismay,
Nyel bowed out of the
project. De La Salle now
had an unexpected and
unwanted responsibility
…and a decision to make.
Torn, he spoke with his
spiritual advisor, Father
Nicolas Barre. What
Barre had to say would
stun De La Salle.
On Easter, 1680,
De La Salle invited the
teachers to live in his
home, where he began
to train them in his
vision of educating
By the winter of 1683,
De La Salle’s new
“Christian Schools”
were flourishing, but
there was yet another
step that De La Salle
would need to take.
In an extraordinary
moment, De La Salle
walked away from his
world and plans,
uniting himself
irrevocably with the
men and the mission of
the fledgling schools.
As word of the schools
and the Brothers
spread, it was clear
that there had never
been anything like
them before. And it
was only the beginning.
The next 23 years
would see continuous,
almost startling, growth.
However, there also
would be severe
challenges and painful
De La Salle was
elected Superior
General in 1694. He
began writing special
training texts for the
Brothers and continued
to direct their
professional and
spiritual formation.
By 1717, De La Salle
was content to be the
Brothers’ chaplain and
worked with the
novices, as well as with
the students at Saint
Yon, the Brothers’
After a series of
illnesses, De La Salle
died on April 7,1719.
His last words were “I
adore in all things the
holy will of God in
regard to my life.”
On May 24, 1900, Pope
Leo XIII canonized John
Baptist de La Salle a
saint of the Roman
Catholic Church. On
May 15, 1950, Pope Pius
XII named him Patron of
All Teachers of Youth.
Concern for the
Poor & Social
The Mission
The Lasallian Mission can be
characterized as an apostolic ministry
of the Roman Catholic Church that is
committed to giving a human and
Christian education to the young,
especially the poor and marginalized,
for the purpose of their salvation.
From the original Rule:
“The purpose of this Institute is to give a
Christian education to children and it is to
this end that the Brothers keep schools.
Having the children under their care from
morning until evening, they teach them to
lead good lives by instructing them in the
mysteries of our religion and by inspiring
them with Christian maxims, thus giving
them a suitable education.”
The Lasallian Movement, past and present, is
driven by De La Salle’s “charism,” or original
spirit and vision. The enduring elements of De
La Salle’s charism are:
providing a human and Christian education
to all youth,
 especially the poor and marginalized,
 in ministries conducted as places of salvation,
 by professionals acting together and by
association for the sake of this mission.
Respect for
All Persons:
The Schools
From the beginning, the
Lasallian Schools were
places with a clear,
direct, and prophetic
mission. Their original
characteristics remain
their hallmark.
Lasallian Schools were
Catholic, established
primarily to serve the
Church’s mission to
proclaim the Gospel of
Jesus Christ and to help
build God’s Kingdom.
Lasallian Schools were
established primarily to
be “cooperators with
Jesus” in leading
students to experience
God’s saving presence in
their lives.
Lasallian schools
were gratuitous and
egalitarian, established
primarily to care for the
poor and working class
but open to all.
Lasallian Schools were
established primarily to
bring students to a
knowledge of God that
would open their eyes
and change their lives.
The Teacher
The characteristics of
the original Lasallian
schools were sustained
by the Teacher through
three means.
First, through the
person of the teacher:
the Brothers acted as
“ambassadors of Christ,”
bringing God’s love to
the students through
their caring and vigilant
relationships with them.
Second, through the
mentorship of the teacher:
The Brothers provided a
“human and Christian
and education” that
would enable students to
live with the dignity and
virtue that God intended.
Third, through the
example of the teacher:
the Brothers embodied
for the students an ethos
of solidarity and shared
vision rooted in the
Gospel’s call to love,
compassion, and justice.
The Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher
Written by Brother Agathon, the fifth Superior General of
the Brothers of the Christian Schools (1777 – 1795),
The Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher are a concise and
insightful synthesis of the “best characteristics and practices”
for teachers found throughout the writings of St. John Baptist
de La Salle. According to internationally-renowned
Lasallian scholar Brother Gerard Rummery, “The Twelve
Virtues of a Good Teacher is, in my view, after the
monumental text we know as The Conduct of Schools, the
most significant work in education in the Lasallian heritage.”
Gravity (la gravité) Purposefulness; self-discipline. The
Lasallian teacher is dignified and professional.
Silence (le silence) Centeredness; thoughtfulness. The
Lasallian teacher is calm and prepared.
Humility (l'humilité) Modesty; simplicity. The Lasallian
teacher is gracious and honest.
Prudence (la prudence) Sensibility; reasonableness. The
Lasallian teacher is discerning and judicious.
Wisdom (la sagesse) Sagacity; enlightenment. The Lasallian
teacher is knowledgeable and insightful.
Patience (la patience) Composure; even-temperedness. The
Lasallian teacher is compassionate and understanding.
Reserve (la retenue) Restraint; circumspectness. The
Lasallian teacher is discrete and well-mannered.
Gentleness (la douceur) Compassion; reverence. The
Lasallian teacher is reassuring and healing.
Zeal (le zèle) Devotedness; keenness. The Lasallian teacher
is enthusiastic and tireless.
Vigilance (la vigilance) Care; watchfulness. The Lasallian
teacher is present and diligent.
Piety (la piété) Reverence; virtuousness. The Lasallian
teacher is faith-filled and prayerful.
Generosity (la générosité) Unselfishness; kindness. The
Lasallian teacher is giving and nurturing.
The Students
De La Salle’s first and
main concern for the
students of his schools
was that they were “far
from salvation.” To
remedy this was the
raison d’etre for
Lasallian education.
All Lasallian students
were to know that they
are loved by God and
that they are called to
live with the dignity
and purpose that befits
a child of God.
The Lasallian school
would be known by its
inclusive and familial
students as siblings and
mentors to each other and
teachers as older siblings
and mentors to their
Lasallian students
discover themselves
through their relationship with God and with
others. They discover the
world and their role in it
through faith, learning,
service, and leadership.
“To touch the hearts of your students and to inspire them with the
Christian spirit is the greatest miracle you can perform and one which
God expects of you, for this is the purpose of your work.”
St. John Baptist de La Salle
Patron of All Teachers of Youth
St. John Baptist
de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts