Founder’s Tercentenary — St John Baptist de La Salle

Being Lasallian at De La Salle

2019 marks 300 years since the death of St John Baptist de La Salle. 

The legacy of our Founder, St John Baptist de La Salle runs deeply through De La Salle College. As the patron saint of Teachers, founder of the De La Salle brotherhood and author of many missives on the philosophy of teaching, St John Baptist de La Salle is a living presence for all of us here at the College. 

Lasallian Captains Taine Krogh, St Leo’s House and Jack Barnard, St Austin’s House share their reflection on the legacy of St John Baptist de La Salle on the occasion of the Tercentenary (#300 years) since his death.

Each senior House has a student Lasallian Captain. These leaders have a special connection to the Lasallian nature of their education, but what does it mean to be Lasallian? What does the person of the Founder mean to our students in 2019?

Who is St John Baptist de La Salle?

St John Baptist de La Salle, patron Saint of Christian teachers, wasn’t always destined to create a legacy in education. He started off a son of wealthy parents and became a Canon in the Rheims Cathedral. During his time few were privileged enough to live in luxury with most being extremely poor and unable to afford a basic education. St John saw the plight of the poor and sacrificed everything to be able to help them find salvation through education by renouncing his wealth, position and even family home to create a community that remains to this day — The Brothers of Christian Schools. 

Taine Krogh, St Leo’s House Lasallian Captain 2019

St John Baptist De La Salle was a man who was absolutely devoted to his faith and mission. He dedicated his life to helping those in need, particular the poorer children living in his community. His actions have since inspired many and led to the eponymous Lasallian core values that we as a college strive to follow each day.

Jack Barnard, St Austin’s House Lasallian Captain 2019

What is the most Lasallian thing we do here at De La Salle?

I think the most Lasallian thing we do at De La Salle would be Mission Action Day, in raising awareness for our disadvantaged Lasallian brothers and sisters. The whole idea of Mission Action Day promotes some of the finest Lasallian core principles, including respect and concern for the poor. The idea of not only raising awareness but also taking action for those in conditions worse than our own is what it means to be Lasallian.

Jack Barnard, St Austin’s House Lasallian Captain 2019 

Every day we go to school we are doing the most ‘Lasallian thing’ that we can. By coming together as a united group of teachers and students we are living out the legacy of St John Baptist De La Salle without even realising it. One Heart, One Commitment, One life; this is the theme for the Lasallian tercentenary and De La Salle always has and will continue to represent this through the core Lasallian principles of Respect, Quality Education, Inclusiveness, Social Justice and Faith, as set forth by St John and shown through De La Salle College students each and every day.

Taine Krogh, St Leo’s House Lasallian Captain 2019 

What does the role of Lasallian Captain entail? 

Like all the student leaders, the Lasallian Captains serve to support the inclusion of the five core Lasallian principles into everyday life at De La Salle. This year however we were extremely fortunate to be able to attend the Lasallian Youth Gathering and thanks to this we have developed a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Lasallian and how we can support the same inclusive feeling into school. We saw that it meant within our roles we had to ensure that the work of St John carries on well into the future so that all that come after us can experience the power of being a part of a Lasallian College. 

Taine Krogh, St Leo’s House Lasallian Captain 2019 

Being a Lasallian Captain means I am very much a part of the faith aspect of De La Salle. I am often asked to assist with readings at our occasional College Masses and am tasked with helping organise Mission Action Day. Another opportunity that this role presented me with this year was the chance to attend the 2019 Lasallian Youth Gathering with other Lasallian students from around the Asia-Pacific district. The event was an incredible experience and helped me gain a better understanding of the Lasallian organisation around the world.

Jack Barnard, St Austin’s House Lasallian Captain 2019 

What is your favourite story of St John Baptist de La Salle’s life?

My favourite story from De La Salle’s life was when he met Adrian Nyel purely by chance. The reason I like this is because, although it was such a small event at the time, in the grand scheme of things, it set De La Salle on a life-changing course. It’s the thought of having such a great impact by doing so little that I love most about the story.

Jack Barnard, St Austin’s House Lasallian Captain 2019 

My favourite story from St John’s life is the story of where it all started. St John’s close friend Nicholas Roland had passed away and in his will, he asked De La Salle to oversee a group of nuns within the poorer part of the city. One day on his way to the convent he was stopped by Adrian Nyel who asked for help in providing education to boys on the streets in Reims. De La Salle agreed and gradually, without being aware of it, he found himself drawn into an unknown world of poverty. Inspired by their plight that he took the further step of establishing a community of brothers to educate the poor. St John at times was very weary on his journey, but had he not taken the risk and put in the effort, the network would not exist today, showing us all that sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone to move forward. 

Taine Krogh, St Leo’s House Lasallian Captain 2019 

Back to The Duce Issue 2019 07 - 16 May 2019