St John Baptist de La Salle (1651-1719)
De La Salle is the family name of a French priest, born into privileged circumstances, who believed it was important to provide christian education to the poor. In 1680, at 29 years of age, John Baptist de La Salle invited young men to join him in devoting themselves to the Christian education of youth.
On his death in 1719, there were 100 Brothers in France. He was canonised in 1900 and became the universal patron Saint of Teachers in 1950. Inspired by their Founder, the de La Salle Brothers developed into a worldwide Christian education community.
Today, more than 8,500 Brothers and many thousands of lay partners supportive of the ethos and ideals of St John Baptist de La Salle are continuing the tradition in universities, schools and other educational institutions in over 80 countries.
"To touch the hearts of the young and to inspire them with the Christian spirit is the greatest miracle you can perform, and it is the one that God asks of you; it is the purpose of your work with the young." (St John Baptist de la Salle)