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

Encountering God in Catechesis
By Catechists' Personal Testimonies
For Communion Growing up Protestant, sacraments seemed fairly irrelevant to me. It was not until I turned fifteen that I decided to get baptized because I knew that if I accepted the terms of what baptism meant, by Protestant standards, then I needed to truly accept Christ and all that it meant to follow him. As a Methodist, I always wanted to be... Read more
Viaticum: Sacred Food for the Final Journey
By Fr. Tyron Tomson
We never know which Holy Communion might be our last. We make a big deal of our First Communion, and rightly so. But why don’t we have a strong catechesis and spirituality of Viaticum, that final time we receive the Body of Christ before our soul leaves our own body to meet him? As a Church, perhaps we are missing a robust eucharistic spirituality... Read more
From the Shepherds – A Half Century of Progress: The Church’s Ministry of Catechesis, Part Three
By Monsignor John Pollard
The General Catechetical Directory (1971) – Catechesi Tradendae (1979) In this series of articles exploring a rather extraordinary fifty-year period in the Church’s catechetical mission, we have already considered the impact of the six International Catechetical Study Weeks. We now turn our attention to three pivotal catechetical documents... 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