The Lasallian Family
ST. JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE
Born in Reims, France : 30th April 1651
Ordained Priest : 9th April 1678
Died : 7th April 1719
Beatified : 19th February 1888
Canonized : 24th May 1900
Proclaimed Patron of Christian Teachers : 15th May 1950
St. John Baptist de La Salle was born of a noble, well-to-do family in Reims, France, in 1651. As a young student, he felt the call to be a priest and became a Canon of Reims Cathedral at the age of sixteen. While studying for the priesthood in Paris, he suffered the loss of both his parents. Since he was the eldest in the family, he had to return home to look after his brothers and sisters. However, the call to priesthood was very strong and he later returned to the seminary and was ordained priest at the age of 27.
At that time a few people lived in luxury, but most of the people were extremely poor. Only a few could send their children to school. Most children had little hope for the future. Moved by the plight of the poor who seemed so “far from salvation” either in this world or the next, he was determined to put his own talents and advanced education at the service of the children “often left to themselves and badly brought up.”
St. John Baptist de La Salle was a man of great vision and intellect, enriched with a deep faith and an ardent zeal. He was also a practical man, a man of action. He knew that God loved these poor children and was calling on him to express this love in a practical manner. He realised too, that a basic education would help these children contribute to the good of society and lead them to salvation. He therefore set about taking these boys off the street by finding good teachers and establishing schools. The boys were taught how to read, write and compute. They were also taught how to pray, to receive the sacraments, to behave politely and to respect each other. His reputation grew rapidly and in time, many young men, inspired by his vision and work, joined him. He gathered them, as a small community, in his own house, gave them some basic teacher training and sent them out to teach. He faced opposition from his family, some members of the Church, and established schoolmasters but he carried on believing his work to be the work of God.
In this way, the Brothers of the Christian Schools, otherwise known as the De La Salle Brothers, came into being. Worn out by austerities and exhausting labours, he died at Saint Yon near Rouen early in 1719 on Good Friday, only weeks before his sixty-eighth birthday.
St. John Baptist de La Salle was a pioneer in founding training colleges for teachers, reform schools for delinquents, technical schools, and secondary schools for modern languages, arts, and sciences. His work quickly spread through France and, after his death, continued to spread across the globe. In 1900, John Baptist de La Salle was declared a Saint. In 1950, because of his life and inspirational writings, he was made Patron Saint of all those who work in the field of education. St. John Baptist de La Salle inspired others to teach and care for young people, to meet failure and frailty with compassion, and to affirm, strengthen and heal. At present, there are De La Salle schools in more than 80 different countries around the globe.
|Reims Cathedral, begun in 1211 and finished in the 14th century, is rich in history and artistic splendor. St. John Baptist de La Salle was named a canon of the cathedral at age sixteen.
|Facade of the birthplace of St. John Baptist de La Salle, the Hotel de la Cloche. His family lived there till June 24, 1665, which was when they moved to the Rue Sainte-Marguerite. It is now known as the Hotel De La Salle and is owned by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. It contains a very interesting collection of materials concerning the Saint.
|View of the Hotel de La Salle as it is today. The building was seriously damaged during the war of 1914-1918, but this courtyard has remained almost untouched, and gives us an idea of what the Hotel de la Cloche must have been like during the time when the Saint and his family were still living in it.
Our Lasallian Heritage
Mission of Lasallian Schools
The Mission of the School of the Christian Brothers of St. John Baptist De La Salle is to form a community where teachers and Anthonians can live their faith and become the persons that God wants them to be.
WE BELIEVE that the love of Christ binds us together as children of God, for all are made in God’s image and members of His family. On this faith rests the mutual love and respect that is fostered between teachers and Anthonians in our school. WE BELIEVE that the Brothers and their lay colleagues give testimony to the Providence and Presence of God as they educate the young in the tradition of St. John Baptist De La Salle, giving attention to all and especially to pupils whose development is hindered by economic, personal and other problems.
Learning and Living the Faith
WE BELIEVE that the learning of religious truth is fundamental to education in our schools. WE BELIEVE that religious development is not isolated from development of the mind and conscience, nor from the development of the body. Logic and analysis, honesty and teamwork in games, all provide a sound foundation for understanding religion and living by one’s beliefs. WE BELIEVE that our schools must teach what is true, just, good and beautiful, guided by our Catholic philosophy which finds harmony, not a contradiction, in spirit and matter, in faith and reason.
WE BELIEVE that, like parents, teachers labour to form the minds and character of Anthonians and become transformed in the process, as teachers and Anthonians help each other grow as persons. WE BELIEVE that Anthonians must learn how to learn as they need to teach themselves after leaving school.
WE BELIEVE that success in school means more than good examinations results. It means learning how to live as well as how to make a living.
Our Mission Is Fulfilled When Our Anthonians:
Understand and accept themselves and others,
Develop their talents in service to society,
Think logically and critically, and express themselves effectively,
Know clearly what they believe in and why they believe,
Believe and trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour,
Maintain physical fitness and mental health, avoiding excesses and abuses,
Possess social awareness and a responsibility for the common goal.
The Signum Fidei - official seal of the De La Salle Brothers.
The present logo of the Brothers is a five-pointed and radiant star. This reminds us of the star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men of the East to Christ. For these Magi, it was a sign of their faith. Thus, Signum Fidei, or Latin for “sign of faith”, is the motto of the Brothers. The Star is to the Brothers a symbol of their faith as Christians and their inspiration. It reminds them to reach always for the reachable star of their convictions and ideals. Through the centuries, the star of the Brothers has been depicted in various ways according to prevailing design trends.
Christian Brothers’ Schools
THE LASALLIAN FAMILY IN SINGAPORE
- St. Anthony’s Primary School
- De La Salle School
- St. Joseph’s Institution Junior
- St. Joseph’s Institution International
- St. Stephen’s School
- St. Joseph’s Institution
- St. Patrick’s School
- St. Joseph’s Institution International
Other Lasallian Organisations:
- St. Joseph’s Community
- St. Patrick’s Community
- La Salle Centre Singapore
- Lasalle College of the Arts