Item description for John Baptist de La Salle: The Spirituality of Christian Education (Classics of Western Spirituality) by Jean Baptiste De La Salle, Jeffrey Calligan & Jeffrey Gros...
Overview The spirituality of the first major spiritual writer (1651-1719) to integrate the Christian vocation of education of the poor by lay men and women into a coherent spirituality. La Salle is considered to be the founder of modern education.
Publishers Description De La Salle's spirituality for educators, which melds prayer and action, compassion and practicality, can be read afresh in every age: it transcends time and place.
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Studio: Paulist Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.86" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.73" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Mar 11, 2004
Publisher Paulist Press
ISBN 0809141620 ISBN13 9780809141623
Availability 0 units.
More About Jean Baptiste De La Salle, Jeffrey Calligan & Jeffrey Gros
Jean Baptiste De La Salle was born in 1651 and died in 1719.
Reviews - What do customers think about John Baptist de La Salle: The Spirituality of Christian Education (Classics of Western Spirituality)?
A resource for the Christian parent or Teacher Jul 12, 2005
What a wonderful little book! It gives excellent advice on classroom discipline. Of course corporal punishment is no longer permissible. Nevertheless, the aim of corporal punishment is clear from de la Salle -- indeed one could say it is far more humane that what is passed off for correction today, remarkable both in its restraint and gentlness.
It is clear from de la Salle that moral discipline and an education on the Faith begin with a parent's or teacher's self-discipline and own example. Very short, easy to read. A life-long challenge to implement. (Of course, the section on comportment must be read keeping in mind that fashions change as de la Salle himself points out. Nevertheless, there is much to learn even here.)
Pray, Study, And Wash Behind Your Ears Feb 6, 2005
In 1878 the future presidential candidate Al Smith attended St. James parish school in New York City's Fourth Ward. In Smith's time the school enrolled 1,450 students, of which the Christian Brothers taught the 650 boys and the Sisters of Charity the girls. Today we might think of 1,450 students as a healthy enrollment for a Catholic secondary school in a large city. In 1878 and for years after the youngest Catholic students in massive numbers enjoyed the privilege of first rate education in a faith-based environment. It was truly a world of "no child left behind."
The fuel for this educational dynamo was neither ecclesiastical fiat nor fiscal sufficiency. It was the vowed life and services of thousands of Catholic women and men religious who brought the religious vision and charism of their various orders and communities to school settings. The changes in Catholic education between 1878 and 2005-particularly the virtual disappearance of the religious classroom educator-are poorly understood and routinely understated. Today's Catholic elementary school faculty is lay and generally married with family. None have the rigorous training of religious formation and novitiate; few have anything amounting to college specialization in theology. While most would probably profess the Catholic faith, few have the comfort to teach as an unabashed apologist for the Catholic Tradition. "A prophet is not without honor...."
One cannot read this recent compilation from the Paulist Press Western Spirituality series without a sense that the life and wisdom of St. John Baptist de la Salle is perhaps the publisher's most practical and useful release to date. La Salle [1651-1719], a wealthy priest and cathedral canon, fretted over issues of education facing France in the late seventeenth century. As with other volumes in this series, the introduction is extremely useful in briefly outlining the nature of the problems and La Salle's biographical attempts to meet them for the Church.
The problem was simple enough and certainly one familiar to contemporary Americans: only the children of the rich were getting top-flight education. Because of the French marriage of church and state, there was no secular or public education system in place. And in this, the era of the Sun King, there was no great hurry to educate the unwashed masses anyway. French Catholicism unfortunately shared something of this view: education of upper echelon youths toward a clerical life, law, and diplomacy was useful to the Church and the state. Mass education smacked of the dreaded "D" word. Neither hierarchy nor monarchy had time for democracy.
La Salle's marriage of faith formation, education, and equality is one of great achievements of the Post-Tridentine era. No one melded these goals into a spirituality of education as La Salle did. The primary task of a Catholic educator, he wrote, was his students' salvation, i.e., getting them into heaven. [Mention that at a diocesan school meeting today.] The establishment of religious identity in a child's mind is already a form of liberation, for all stand equal before God. La Salle understood the mind of the rich [he was practically one of them], and he knew that none of his charges stood a chance in the world of commerce without some measure of grace and manners. Chapters four and five, on school discipline and general decorum, must be read in this light.
That La Salle chose only laymen for this work is a great mystery. One is tempted to say that La Salle was anticipating Vatican II, but in fact the more likely answer is his belief that the classroom was a full time apostolate. Further, he would probably have failed in his efforts to wholesale recruit ordained clergy, who on the whole were quite upper crust in his day. La Salle himself suggests this when, in a moment of weakness, he compares his brothers unfavorably to his valet. In truth the first brothers were somewhat ruffians, and La Salle took considerable grief from his family and the Church for housing such men. Much of his writing is thus directed toward the formation of the brothers themselves in the form of rules, letters, meditations and retreats, not to mention the decorum and essentials of pedagogy. A day would come when his religious brothers turned against him, arguing with some credibility that La Salle could return to his cushy canon's life whereas they had nowhere to go. La Salle thus composed "The Heroic Vow," a solemn promise that he and his most intimate followers would essentially go down with the ship.
In his writing La Salle addresses questions that plague Catholic education to this day. For example, he did not as a rule accept the unchurched into his schools. He believed that proselytizing and the reconciliation of fallen-away Catholics was more appropriately the mission of the clergy and the parish itself. On the other hand, he had a certain compassion for the hard lives of parents, and reminded his brothers that they must drill their students repeatedly in the prayers and essentials of the Faith. He examines the problem of truancy from many perspectives, and concludes that in some cases the teacher himself may be the reason. [Mention that at a faculty meeting today.] He grasped the reality of "special needs" students long before the term was invented.
If American Catholic schools are not to return to a Louis XIV-style bastion of the upper class with five figure tuition rates, La Salle's vision of the school as an egalitarian venture to save souls needs revisiting. This compilation of La Salle's writings is a most useful cornerstone for the spirituality and identity of today's Catholic schoolteacher and rekindles a sense of urgency in regenerating the mission of primary Catholic education. The seventeenth century La Salle has amazing relevance to the twenty-first century American Catholic parochial situation. Curiously, in the present political climate, La Salle's vision seems ready for a second blooming.