La Salle University is an institution inspired by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a lay religious organization with 350 years of history, true to the spirit and charisma of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, present in 80 countries with 76 Universities and Business Centers and over a thousand schools from preschool to graduate school, serving a population of one million students with over 75 thousand teachers.

To belong to La Salle is to join a worldwide network of leading institutions where academics are connected to the business world, the needy are linked to those who can support them , the emotional is joined with the rational, and aspiration with the appropriate method.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle

Founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, Patron of Christian Teachers.

John Baptist de La Salle lived in a world completely different from ours. He was the eldest son of a wealthy family who lived in France 300 years ago. John Baptist de La Salle was born in Reims, received tonsure at the age of 11 and was appointed Canon of the Cathedral of Reims at the age of 16.

When his parents died, he had to take over the management of his family’s assets. In spite of this, at the conclusion of his theological studies, he was ordained a priest on April 9, 1678. Two years later, he earned a doctorate in Theology. During that period of his life, he became involved with a group of unruly and uneducated young men, with the objective to establish schools for poor children.

In order to be more effective, he abandoned his family home and went to live with the teachers, renounced his position as Canon and his wealth and then organized the community that today is known as the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

His enterprise met with opposition from the ecclesiastical authorities who resisted the creation of a new form of religious life, a community of consecrated laymen taking care of schools “together and by association”. The educational establishment at that time was perturbed by his innovative methods and his absolute insistence on free education for all, regardless of whether the parents could pay or not.

Nevertheless, De La Salle and his Brothers succeeded in creating a network of quality schools, characterized by the use of the vernacular, the students grouped by ability and achievement, religious education based on original themes, prepared by teachers with a religious and missionary vocation and by the involvement of parents in education. In addition, De La Salle was a pioneer in proposing programs for training lay teachers, Sunday courses for youth workers and one of the first institutions for the rehabilitation of “delinquents.”

Exhausted by austerities and work, he died at Saint Yon near Rouen, in 1719, just weeks before his 68th birthday. John Baptist de La Salle was the first to organize teacher training centers, reform schools for delinquents, technical schools, and secondary schools for modern languages, arts and sciences. His work quickly spread through France, and after his death worldwide.

In 1900, John Baptist de La Salle was declared a Saint. In 1950, due to his life and his inspired writings, he received the title of Patron Saint of those working in the field of education.