Saturday, April 07, 2007

Remembering John Baptist de La Salle

Although this is Holy Saturday, I would be remiss to not remember on the feast day of their founder, the many great Christian Brothers who taught me while I attended Montini High School in Lombard. Thanks guys!

For the uninitiated, St. John Baptist de La Salle (1651-1719) was living an unassuming comfortable life as a Cathedral Canon in Paris when Adrien Nyel, a Catholic layman, asked for his help in opening a nearby Catholic school. This simple request, combined with de La Salle's love for the children, took John on a lifelong odyssey that led him to give away his family fortune, found an order ("The Brothers of the Christian Schools"), write several books on the subject of Christian education that would become spiritual classics, and urge all Catholics to receive Holy Communion—daily if possible—at a time frequent Eucharist was discouraged. Although his order is down from the 16,000 members it had at its pre-Vatican II peak, de La Salle's life shows the power of saying yes to a simple spiritual task—even though John later would joke he never would have agreed to help had he known what the Lord was REALLY there to ask!

1 comment :

Pristinus Sapienter said...

I am a Christian Brothers boy, too. SHOW ME YOUR ROSARY, FELLA! Saint Joseph High School, Westchester, IL, premier class, 1964.

I was one of what amounted to the honors division - forty guys nearly all together for all four years - with NO upperclass"men". So, when school-funding sweepstakes tickets and De LaSalle Institute memberships had to be sold as we could, we were expected to lead the rest of the classes. By the time we were seniors, we were the class to beat for sales - and, we led them yet again.

What great years - so enjoyable, I worked whatever job I could (as did my brother, Bob, '66; else, we wouldn't have been able to go to Saint Joe's) to pay my own way. That precluded extracurriculars, but it was worth the effort.

I actually believe that I got a better education under The Brothers at Saint Joe's than many get nowadays at four-year colleges. At least, we were expected to learn to think.

God bless De LaSalle's Brothers, wherever they keep their schools open.