Jean-Baptiste de La Salle: The Patron Saint of Teachers
St Augustine’s has been an associate Lasallian College for a number of years. In such schools education is a journey that draws its inspiration from the spirituality and educational principles of our founder, St John Baptist de la Salle.
A Lasallian education seeks to recapture, in contemporary ways, the original spirit of St John Baptist de la Salle’s first schools in Reims, France. Hence, St Augustine’s College endeavours to touch hearts by developing the dignity and well-being of each of our students, teach minds through the educational subjects we offer and transform lives.
Jean-Baptiste de La Salle
Jean-Baptiste de La Salle was born in Reims, France, in 1651. Whilst studying to be a priest he had to return home on the death of both his parents to take care of his younger brothers and sisters. He was ordained a priest at the age of 26 in 1678 and two years later he received a Doctorate in Theology.
De La Salle became involved in education little by little, without ever consciously setting out to do so. In 1679 what began as a charitable effort to help Adrian Nyel establish a school for the poor in De La Salle’s home town gradually became his life’s work.
Moved by the plight of the poor who seemed so “far from salvation either in this world or the next”, he decided to put his talents and good education at the service of the children “often left to themselves and badly brought up”. To be more effective he abandoned his family home, moved in with the teachers, gave up his position as Canon and his wealth and so formed the community that became known as the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
Many educated people of the time disagreed with his new methods and his idea that schools should be free to all regardless of whether they could afford to pay or not. Nonetheless De La Salle and his Brothers succeeded in creating a network of quality schools in France. In addition De La Salle pioneered programs for training teachers and Sunday courses for working young men.
De La Salle’s work quickly spread through France and after his death continued to spread across the globe. He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII on May 24, 1900 and was inserted in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1904.Because of his life and inspirational writings he was proclaimed as the Patron Saint of Teachers on May 15, 1950 by Pope Pius XII.