Saint John Baptist de La Salle

detail of the official portrait of Saint John Baptist de La Salle; Pierre Leger, date unknown; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Father of Modern Education



Studied for the priesthood in Paris, France, but quit to care for his brothers and sisters upon the death of his parents. When his siblings were grown, John returned to seminary. Canon of Rheims, France in 1667. Ordained in 1678. Doctor of theology in 1680.

Spiritual director of the Sisters of the Holy Infant who were devoted to teaching poor girls. Founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools (Christian Brothers or La Salle Brothers) in 1681, established and supported academic education for all boys. He liquidated his personal fortune, and his Brothers expected him to use it to further his education goals, but he surprised them by saying they would have to depend on Providence. The money (about $400,000) was given away to the poor in the form of bread during the great famine of 16831684. Saint John kept enough to endow a salary for himself similar to that which the Brothers received so he wouldn’t be a burden on them.

He instituted the process of dividing students into grades; established the first teacher‘s school, started high schools and trade schools, and was proclaimed the patron of all teachers of all youth by Pope Pius XII in 1950.






Additional Information


Be driven by the love of God because Jesus Christ died for all, that those who live may live not for themselves but for him, who died and rose for them. Above all, let your charity and zeal show how you love the Church. Your work is for the Church, which is the body of Christ. – from a meditation by John Baptist de La Salle

MLA Citation

  • “Saint John Baptist de La Salle“. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 October 2021. Web. 30 November 2021. <>