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Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, the famous founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or the Christian Brothers, was born in Rheims of the noble family of la Salle.

Showing signs of a rare piety from an early age, Jean-Baptiste was destined for the priesthood, which fit well with his own inclinations regarding the future. He entered the seminary in 1670 at nineteen and was ordained in 1678.

A young man of refinement and good connections, he seemed to be destined for high office in the Church. But in 1679 he met a layman, Adrian Nyel, who had the idea of starting a school for poor boys in Rheims.

The newly-ordained Fr. Jean-Baptiste became engrossed in the project and began to guide Nyel and seven schoolmasters in the high educational ideals taking shape in his own mind. He even invited the group into his paternal home to live. But there, unwilling to submit to the discipline for which they had not bargained, they took leave.

Undaunted, the reformer waited patiently. Soon, he was joined by another group of interested men. To these Fr. Jean-Baptiste imparted a new method of teaching, which revolutionized the elementary schooling of the day.

Until then, children had been taught on an individual basis. Jean-Baptiste introduced into education the classroom setting, silence during lessons, and teaching in the vernacular rather than in Latin.

Soon requests began to arrive for teachers trained in the new method. Parish priests also began to send young men to the institute to be trained as masters for their own parish schools.

In time, Fr. Jean-Baptiste formed a novitiate and a rule of religious life.

After much prayer, he also established that his teaching institute would be constituted of lay brothers and not priests. From France the Christian Brothers spread throughout Europe and the world.

In 1717 the founder resigned the headship of his institute and lived like the humblest of brothers.

Suffering from asthma and rheumatism, Fr. Jean- Baptiste gave up none of his austerities.

Early in 1719 he met with an accident which ultimately led to his death on Good Friday of that year. He was sixty-eight years of age.

The Catholic Church set her seal of approval upon the life and apostolate of this man, a reformer and innovator of primary importance in the history of education, by canonizing him in 1900.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared him patron of all school teachers.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for August 2, 2021

The state of grace is nothing other than purity, and it give...

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August 2

 

The state of grace is nothing other than purity,
and it gives heaven to those who clothe themselves in it.
Holiness, therefore, is simply the state of grace
purified, illuminated, beautified by the most perfect purity,
exempt not only from mortal sin but also from the smallest faults.
Purity will make saints of you!
Everything lies in this.

St. Peter Julian Eymard


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Eusebius of Vercelli

The Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up i...

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St. Eusebius of Vercelli

Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia where his father died a martyr. His mother took him and his sister to live in Rome where Eusebius eventually joined the clergy and was ordained a lector. He was sent to Vercelli and served the Church so well there that he was chosen as its bishop. He is the first bishop of Vercelli whose name was recorded.

In 354 he was sent by Pope Liberius to persuade the Emperor Constantius to call a council to settle Catholic-Arian disputes. When it was called at Milan, Eusebius went reluctantly, sensing that the Arians would have their way. He refused to go along with the condemnation of Saint Athanasius, who’s  refusal to tolerate Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions. Eusebius insisted on Athanasius’ innocence and reminded the emperor that secular force should not be used to influence Church decisions. At first the emperor threatened to kill him, but later sent him into exile in Palestine. There the Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up in a little room, releasing him only after Eusebius undertook a four-day hunger strike. They soon resumed their harassment.

His exile continued in Asia Minor and Egypt, until the new emperor permitted him to return to his see in Vercelli. He died in 371.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.