La Salle, Jean Baptist De

La Salle, Jean Baptist De, a French priest, founder of the Order of Brethren of the Christian Schools, was born at Rheims April 30, 1651. In 1670 he went to Paris to complete his education at the Seminary of St. Sulpice. He was made canon of Rheims, and was ordained priest in 1671. Struck with the ignorance of the poorer classes with regard to religion, he resolved to establish a congregation whose chief object should be to teach and elevate them. In 1679 he began teaching in two parishes of Rheims, but was subjected to many annoyances from the secular teachers, and even censured by some of the clergy. He nevertheless continued his labors, gave all his means to the poor, and finally succeeded. A house which he had bought at Rouen, SaintYon, became the head-quarters of his order, and when he died, April 7, 1719, the Brethren of the Christian Schools were established at Paris, Rouen, Rheims, and other principal cities of France. Its institution was approved by Benedict XIII in 1725. The Brethren of the Christian Schools take the three vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, but they are not perpetual. La Salle did not wish any priest to be ever received among them. Their dress consists of a black robe resembling a cassock, with a small collar or white bands, black stockings, and coarse shoes, a black cloak of the same material as the dress, with wide hanging sleeves, and a broad- brimmed black felt hat, looped up on three sides. Their order became widely disseminated, and they are now scattered nearly through the whole world. In 1854 they counted over 7000 members, employed in France, Algeria, the United States, Italy, etc. Pope Gregory XVI placed La Salle among the blessed, and he was canonized by Pius IX. La Salle wrote a number of books for the education of children, many of which are still in use; among them we notice Les Devoirs du Chretien envers Dieu, et les moyens de pouvoir bien s'en acquitter: Les Regles de la Bienseance et de la civilite Chretienne: Instructions et Prieres pour la Sainte Messe:Conduite des Ecoles Chretiennes: Les douze Vertus d'un bon Maitre. He is also considered the author of Meditations sur les Evangiles de tous les Dimanches et sur les principales Fetes de l'Annee, of which a new edition was published in 1858 (Versailles, 8vo). See abbe Carron, Vie de J.-Bapt. die La Salle; Garreau, Vie de J.-Bapt. de La Salle; L'Ami de l'Enfance, ou Vie de J.-B. de La Salle; Le veritable Ani de l'Enfance, ou Abrege de la Vie et des Vertus du venerable Serviteur de Dieu J.B. de la Salle; abbe Tresvaux, Vie des Saints; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Gener. 29:724. (J.N.P.)

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