Educating Congregation Hears Papal Exhortation

Message for Birthday of St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, MAY 1, 2001 ( John Paul II proposed «faith in Christ and the Gospel» to the Brothers of the Christian Schools, one of the religious congregations most active in the field of education.

The Holy Father sent a message to Brother Alvaro Rodriguez Echeverria, superior general of the congregation, on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the birth of St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, «special patron of educators of children and youth.»

Born in Reims in 1651, this adviser of King Louis XIV gave away the greater part of his inheritance to the poor, in order to be able to educate the greatest possible number of children, including the poor. To implement his plans, he founded the congregation of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. He died in 1791, and was canonized in 1900. Pius XII later proclaimed him «patron of educators.»

There are 7,500 de La Salle Brothers in the world, who are helped by 60,000 lay collaborators; they teach more than 750,000 students in 85 countries.

On this anniversary, the Holy Father reminded the congregation that «the ever-present ideal of the Brothers of the Christian Schools requires disciples who allow themselves to be formed by Christ and who, full of enthusiasm for education and evangelization, will know how to propose to youth Christian hope and reasons for life.»

Reminding the institute´s members of the importance of the witness of fraternal life that the Brothers of the Christian Schools must give, the Holy Father exhorted them «to make of their homes schools of fraternal life, to develop and spread an authentic spirituality of communion, involving in this the youth entrusted to them and the laity who collaborate in their mission, helping them to rediscover and to share the charism of the institute.»

For more information on the de La Salle Brothers, see

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation