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This profile was last updated on 6/6/13  and contains information from public web pages.

Father De la Salle

Wrong Father De la Salle?
Holy Cross 27
 
Background

Employment History

  • Founder, New Kind of Religious Community
    Brusly

Board Memberships and Affiliations

Web References
1969-70 Times-Picayune
www.lhswa.org, 6 June 2013 [cached]
De la Salle vs. Holy Cross De la Salle 47-Lee 5 East Jefferson 53-St. Martin's 0
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De la Salle 34-Fortier 16
1984-85 Times-Picayune
www.lhswca.org, 1 Jan 1984 [cached]
De la Salle "Big 8"
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De la Salle "Big 8" Results
THE GOSPEL JOURNEY OF JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE (1651-1719)
www.cbmidwest.org, 26 July 2001 [cached]
De La Salle is usually associated with an approach to education which, depending on the background or the bias of the interpreters, is considered to be either realistic or utopian, popular or elitist, innovative or traditional, liberating or oppressive.
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Perhaps the most outstanding illustration of the truth of this observation is that the Abbe Bremond's monumental literary history of French religious thought does not speak at all of De La Salle.His name is nowhere mentioned in the eleven volumes of this standard reference work.
Nevertheless, the Founder of the Brothers does merit some attention even though he does not represent any particular stage in the development of French spirituality.It is true that he authored many pedagogical and catechetical works that for more than two centuries had an astonishing success in print.There were 24 editions of the Conduct of Schools up until 1903; 125 editions or reprintings of the Rules of Christian Politeness between 1703 and 1853; and 270 printings of the Duties of a Christian between 1703 and 1928.But he also produced a number of spiritual treatises: the Rule of the Brothers; an assortment of short excerpts on different aspects of the spiritual life which were brought together in one volume that he called the Collection; three series of Meditations, including 77 for Sundays and feasts in the temporal cycle, 109 for the feasts of saints, and 16 meditations for the time of the annual retreat.All of these meditations relate to the spiritual demands and the significance of the educational activity of the Brothers, for which De La Salle did not hesitate to use the term ministry.Finally, he wrote a treatise on mental prayer which was published under the title An Explanation of the Method of Mental Prayer, based on the instructions he had given to the Brothers.
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However, and this will be the second introductory point, those who have only recently become interested in studying the spiritual doctrine of De La Salle have been much taken up with the question of his originality.
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De La Salle composed practically all of his spiritual writings for this little band of schoolteachers who had cast their lot with him and who, under his direction, were little by little becoming a new kind of religious community.
He wrote for them in the sense that it was they to whom he addressed his spiritual works.Very many of his meditations are formulated in the second person plural.The fact that he wrote for such a restricted audience no doubt explains for the most part why the spirituality of De La Salle did not become more widely known.
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But one can recognize in the development of the spiritual teaching of De La Salle a four- fold invitation: 1) to consider the concrete teaching situation; 2) to contemplate the element of mystery involved within it; 3) to make a renewed commitment to transform the present reality; 4) to be open to the transcendent and freely given Ultimate, i.e., to the reality of God.A word on each of these invitations in turn, quoting or paraphrasing the language of the Founder himself.
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The third invitation of De La Salle to his Brothers is to make a renewed and a concrete commitment to their day to day existence in the classroom and in the community.
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Finally, just as the spiritual teaching of De La Salle challenges the Brothers to be rooted more and more solidly into the reality of his everyday life, at the same time it calls him inexorably to clarify the meaning of that life, not by running away from it, but by living it deeply in its dimension of mystery.De La Salle thus calls the Brother to open himself in prayers of adoration and thanksgiving, of supplication and confidence.He invites the Brother to open himself in hope, to begin anew every morning with a wholly new gift of himself - in spite of the hard choices and disappointments, lack of progress and insurmountable obstacles.He invites the Brother to open himself in full confidence by abandoning himself to God.His should be the attitude of the unprofitable servant who, having given totally of himself, yet realizes that his work is the work of God and that the seed that has been sown will come to fruition in silence and apparent futility.
In this sense one can say that the source of the spirituality of De La Salle is the lived experience of God, but an experience that is reexamined, relocated and redirected in the context of the history of salvation.And that is the history of salvation that is being accomplished here and now in every aspect of the ministry of the Brothers, the history of salvation in its living source who is Jesus Christ, the Christ of the Gospel, the Christ who is living today through his Spirit.An important aspect of De La Salle's meditations on the saints is his sense of the salvation that is worked out in history together with that eschatological expectation that forms an integral part of the Christian commitment, Christian prayer, and the Christian Eucharist.For De La Salle, the God who lives in this history is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and it is to this God that his method of mental prayer invites the Brother to be open.The meditations of the Founder continually remind the Brother of his commitment and the need to enter into this internal and transcendent dialogue with the living God who calls, transforms, satisfies, and makes thirsty again for more.
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At first glance, De La Salle seems not to have referred very often to his own personal spiritual experiences.His language, in fact, seems to be rather impersonal and it scarcely conveys the reality of his own relationship with God.At the time they were writing, his earliest biographers had occasion to complain about this reticence.
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To be more precise, De La Salle himself refers to that decisive spiritual experience which he went through when he was just about thirty years old.The whole direction of his life was completely reoriented in a most unexpected manner through a combination of circumstances that were entirely unforeseen.
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For this purpose, it will be necessary to evoke the decisive spiritual experience which De La Salle went through between 1679 and 1684, an experience in which he became in a very real sense a Founder.
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De La Salle had put his experience and his influence at the service of this project.He continued thereafter to be involved in the early and hesitant efforts of the schoolmasters recruited by Nyel.At Christmas in 1679, he had hired with his own money a house for them where they could live together.
De La Salle was thus concerned enough to give these men a little of his time, a little money, and to show a little interest.But his work of charity remained external to himself personally.For the rest, he himself continued to lead a comfortable life, following the routines of his university studies, managing his financial affairs, and being faithful to his duties as a canon which were relatively few but financially quite rewarding.
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This began at the family table of De La Salle; it would soon touch the very depths of his heart.
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This, then, was the world in which De La Salle lived, a world where the possession of money, the influence of power, the resources of culture, the networks of relationships and circles of influence all gave stability and security.
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If all this is true, why then did De La Salle let himself become involved with these men from such a different social world?And why did he take the risk of bringing them right into his own family?At this point we have to recall another feature of the personality of this canon of Reims.He belonged to his own social world, it is true, and he was part of it to the point where he accepted its prejudices.But also, from the time he was very young, he let himself be drawn by the living God.As a mere child, he had already heard the call of God.Although he was the oldest in the family, he very early on committed himself to the usual procedures leading to the priesthood.He undertook to prepare himself seriously to become a priest, first at the Seminary of Saint Sulpice in Paris and then, after the death of his parents, at the University of Reims.There he placed himself under the spiritual direction of Nicolas Roland while he continued to pursue his theological studies all the way to the doctorate.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, and this is the way his biographers put it, he did not go to the altar to "live off the fat of the land."The love of prayer which he demonstrated from infancy and his attraction to the interior life are signs that his vocation was authentic.He was always open to the invitations of the Lord and was disposed to fulfill the will of God whenever it was made clear to him.
At Saint Sulpice, and later under the direction of Roland, he had been formed by the spirituality and the missionary fervor of the vigorous Churc
De La Salle prayed ...
www.lasallianresources.org, 26 April 2007 [cached]
De La Salle prayed constantly for guidance in his work with the Brothers and the education of their students.
Today, in the tradition of our "Lasallian" heritage, we too begin every class with our mantra and use it as a springboard to guide us into our formal prayer.Because Prayer was important to Fr. De La Salle its importance will be reflected in our class as well.
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