Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

April 7 | Catholic Schools

Saint John Baptist de la Salle

A.D. 1651–1719

What is the purpose of Catholic schools?

Exploring purpose is the fast track to understanding anything. When we lose sight of purpose, we invite dysfunction and disaster. So what's the purpose of a Catholic school? The future of Catholic education depends on us getting very clear about the answer to this question.

The mission of a Catholic school is to form disciples, to teach students how to know Jesus, love Jesus, follow Jesus, and serve Jesus by making him known to the rest of the world. Schools can only do this by facilitating a dynamic encounter with Jesus, celebrating the pursuit of truth, and leading with virtue. When a Catholic school community is united behind this what and this how, the school will always thrive.

When Saint John Baptist de la Salle started founding schools, his vision for Catholic education was revolutionary.

Born into affluence in Rheims, France, in 1651, La Salle was ordained as a priest and seemed destined for ecclesiastical prominence. However, a meeting with the French educator and social worker Adrian Nyel steered him toward an unexpected path—the reform and betterment of education for the poor.

La Salle saw schools not just as places of academic instruction but as environments for the holistic formation of disciples. For him, these schools were settings for an encounter with Jesus, where students would not only grow in knowledge but also in faith and virtue.

Virtue and discipleship were at the heart of Saint John Baptist de la Salle's educational reforms. He founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, focusing on teacher training to ensure that educators were not just well-prepared academically but were also exemplary in moral and spiritual virtues. This emphasis on character formation ensured that Catholic schools under his influence were places where students learned to lead lives of integrity, compassion, and service.

Whether you are a Catholic school teacher, staff member, parent, or student, how can you help make your community a place of discipleship and virtue?


I am a disciple of Jesus.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Teachers, Coaches, and School Principals

Symbols: Books

Feast Day: April 7

Canonized: May 24, 1900

Canonized By: Pope Leo XIII

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