The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Catechetical Saints: St. John Baptist de la Salle

Authored by Sr. M. Johanna Paruch in Issue #32.1 of The Sower
After all these years of writing these articles, I surprised myself just recently when I realized that in all the many saints I have discussed in these pages, I had yet to talk about the life and work of St. John Baptist de la Salle. He is known as the Father of Modern Pedagogy. He was the first educator to desire that lessons be taught in French, and not in Latin, as was the case. He believed that students should be grouped in classes according to their age and ability. He believed that the textbooks should be the same for all students in that class. These things are so commonplace for us teaching in the western world that we probably have not realized that these things were revolutionary in the 17th century - and that we owe them to a French priest, the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, also known as the Christian Brothers. Unfortunately the limited space of these articles does not allow us to delve fully into the life of these catechetical saints. But what we can observe here is that de la Salle became enamored with the education of children and the training of teachers, even to the point of taking the teachers into his own home, to provide them with both physical as well as emotional support in their difficult and often discouraging efforts. Eventually, de la Salle gathered about him young men who were desirous of following him. In 1864, he distributed his inherited wealth to the poor, and thus the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools had its very humble and simple beginning. He determined that there would be no priests in the Institute. The brothers were to devote their entire lives to the education of youth, and priestly duties would not allow them to be free to engage in such a focused ministry.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor’s Reflections: The Liturgical Life – A Source of Healing
By Dr. James Pauley
Free “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off” (Mt 13:24–25). Our Lord’s imagery helps us make sense of difficult and painful situations existing within the Church. He is describing, afterall, the “kingdom of God.”... Read more
Advent at Home: Five Practices for Entering into the Season
By Brad Bursa
Free Most Catholic parents are so far removed from a rich Catholic culture that living a liturgical season—let alone the liturgical year—can seem impossible. Dr. Tracey Rowland, professor at the University of Notre Dame Australia, describes the scene by saying that young Catholics “find themselves in a situation where they have rarely experienced a... Read more
Principles for Celebrating the Liturgical Year
By Fr. Eusebius Martis, OSB
For Christians, the celebration of the mystery of Christ is, on the one hand, formative and, on the other, an opportunity to offer praise and thanksgiving. This is especially true for Catholics because the events of our salvation in Christ are recalled daily, weekly, seasonally, and annually. The awareness of the liturgical cycle may not be... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now