St. John Baptist de la Salle, Confessor–W (III)
Friday, May 15
John Baptist de la Salle (1651-1719) was born of a titled family in Rheims. Although a private fortune and a high order of talent promised a brilliant secular career, John Baptist studied for the priesthood (at St. Sulpice), offering his first Mass with an intensity of devotion that never afterward left him. Gradually the heretical mood of the times and the abysmal ignorance of the poor disclosed a special vocation to him” “to teach the poor and to lead the young in the path of truth” (Collect).Weathering the reverses and heartbreaks that beleaguer every creative spirit, John Baptist established the Brothers of the Christian Schools, whose vocation would be to teach and only to teach. Although good teaching was important to John Baptist, spiritual formation was more so; and, in the face of a rampant Jansenism, he was advocating frequent and even daily Communion. When his foundation was firmly rooted and oriented, he resigned as superior, living thereafter as the humblest of his subjects. He died two years later, on Good Friday.