Saint John Baptist de La Salle
De La Salle High School is named for Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
De La Salle was born April 30, 1651, in Rheims in the north of France. As a young man, John Baptist became a priest and Canon of the Cathedral of Rheims. Through the admirable movement of Divine Providence, De La Salle became aware of the plight of the young boys of his era and, with the first brothers, established the Christian Schools.
These early schools were centered on young people and attentive to their needs. They were open to all and were known for creative systems, which called schools to function well. The teachers in the Christian Schools saw themselves as Ministers of Grace, maintaining the schools together and by association. The school and all in it were to announce the Good News of God’s unconditional love and to live this reality in their lives.
De La Salle died in 1719, leaving a congregation of religious teaching brothers and bequeathing an extraordinary educational tradition to the world. In the course of developing the educational tradition, De La Salle furthered popular education and fostered the idea of the simultaneous method of teaching. He insisted on teaching in the native language rather than the classical Latin, and he developed teacher-training schools.
Pope Leo XIII proclaimed John Baptist de La Salle a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on May 24, 1900. In 1950, Pope Pius XII named John Baptist de La Salle Patron of All Teachers.
Today the Brothers of the Christian Schools and their colleagues teach over 800,000 students annually in some 1,500 schools in 85 countries. In the United States, there are nearly 2,000 Christian Brothers. They conduct 130 schools including elementary and secondary schools, colleges, technical schools, and child care centers. The Brothers are in eight American Provinces: Long Island/New England; New York; Baltimore; St. Louis; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Chicago; San Francisco; and New Orleans/Santa Fe.
Feast Day is May 15