St. John Baptist de La Salle: The Patron Saint of Teachers

John Baptist de La Salle was born on April 30, 1651, in Rheims, France. The son of aristocratic parents, La Salle had the opportunity for an excellent education and went on to be ordained a priest. He fully intended to work among the wealthy people of his area throughout his career. Unexpectedly, De La Salle’s life changed dramatically. A promise to a dying friend to assist a group of Sisters in their work with orphan girls brought De La Salle to education. Further assistance to a friend starting a school for poor boys in Rheims solidified his true vocation as an educator, an endeavor which would consume his entire life.

By 1684, having given up his personal wealth and title in society, De La Salle brought a group of schoolmasters together as the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The Institute was soon after recognized as an official Congregation of Religious in the Roman Catholic Church. The Congregation’s primary purpose was to serve the educational needs of society, particularly among the poor.

De La Salle and his Brothers took up the cause of education vigorously. In addition to the founding of schools in 22 cities by the time of his death in 1719, De La Salle contributed significantly to the entire field of education through his writings and innovative methodology. In 1900, John Baptist de La Salle was declared a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Fifty years later, Pope Pius XII declared John Baptist de La Salle the Patron Saint of Teachers. The foundation of the Lasallian educational tradition can be found in the vision and achievement of De La Salle who realized that: “…not only is God so good as to have created us, but God desires all of us to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

The Lasallian tradition emphasizes the fact that all people, especially the young, have an inherent dignity which comes from their being created in the image of God. For Lasallian educators, education is a means of developing this dignity for the well-being of each student as well as for the well-being of our society. This is the heart of the Lasallian educational tradition.

Today, the work of Saint De La Salle is continued by the Christian Brothers, and by dedicated lay men and women and associated religious and priests, who bring a Lasallian distinctiveness to a myriad of educational works in 81 countries throughout the world.

The Lasallian Core Principles of Education

Concern for the Poor and Social Justice

We are in solidarity with the poor and advocate for those suffering from injustices.

Faith in the Presence of God

We believe in the living presence of God in our students, our community and our world.

Quality Education

We engage in quality education together as students, staff and faculty by thinking critically and examining our world in light of faith.

Respect for all Persons

We honor and respect the dignity of all individuals.

Inclusive Community

We celebrate diversity and welcome all members of our community.


Through your association with CBU, you become part of the global mission of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the largest Roman Catholic order dedicated to teaching. The Lasallian educational mission provides transformative experiences that are innovative and holistic.

Our History

Since 1680 educational institutions in more than 80 countries have been influenced by the vision and innovative spirit of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the Founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (known today as the De La Salle Christian Brothers) and the patron saint of teachers. De La Salle transformed education by forming a community of educators with whom he developed a spirituality of teaching and learning, to give a human and Christian education to young people, especially the poor.

Lasallian Education centers on Catholic values and personal relationships, emphasizing academic excellence, faith formation, inclusion, respect for the individual, service and social justice. A Lasallian Education strives to enrich each student’s cultural, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual development.

Today, the Lasallian Community, the ongoing home of De La Salle’s tradition and spirit, is alive and functioning in more than 1,000 educational institutions around the world. The De La Salle Christian Brothers, along with 100,000 Lasallian lay colleagues, serve more than 1,000,000 students and their families worldwide. Here in the United States, there are more than 100 Lasallian educational institutions. Christian Brothers University is one of the six Lasallian colleges and universities in the United States.

The De La Salle Christian Brothers and their Lasallian Partners continue to respond to students through advancements in teaching, technology and scholarship. In Lasallian communities, faculty and staff educate minds, touch hearts and cultivate leadership to prepare students for life, work, and service to society and the Church.