Teachers and Students
A Tribute to St. La Salle
I had hoped to come up with this hub yesterday, the 26th of January 2011, on the occasion of the anniversary of the translation of the relics of St. John Baptist de La Salle, the patron saint of all teachers of the children and the youth, and the great man whom the University I came from was named after.
I find it striking to see how this significant anniversary in the history of the institute he had founded coincided with the memorial for Sts. Timothy and Titus, two of St. Paul's disciples whose names we are more familiar with because of the letters which the Apostle to the Gentiles had written to them. Perhaps what made this striking is the fact that the First Reading used did not speak much of these two. The First Reading simply came from the beginning of one of St. Paul's epistles which, apart from the greetings, contained exhortations as well as an evidence of a familial relationship between the teacher and the disciple.
I see the same passion in St. La Salle who lived with the teachers of the students, and opened up schools offering free education to those who belong to the class of the less fortunate. He has contributed to the breaking of the barriers between classes in the France of his time, and has formulated rules and guidelines for the teachers to follow. With the personal approach these guidelines desired from the teachers, these still find their relevance to the world of today.
More important is how this French man was able to form an institute that would continue his work in reaching out to the young men and women who need someone to teach them. While this may not be that evident in countries where La Salle schools seemed to be opened for the middle and upper class of the society, programs which aim to increase social stratification in Lasallian institutions and Lasallian schools for the poor show that the mission the saint had initially responded to resounds to the brothers of today.