Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Op-Ed: My Saint Can Beat Up Your Saint (if he weren't so humble)

Photo source.

John Baptiste de la Salle could beat up Ignatius of Loyola, if heaven weren't a sea of profound peace and happiness in Christ. I know he could.

See, my man John Baptiste de la Salle--saint, patron of educators, and Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools--had his Feast celebrated this Monday. And yet the sound of crickets echoing throughout the Catholic blogosphere indicate that...

a. There are no Lasallian bloggers, as they are no doubt too busy helping the poor and marginalized achieve their educational goals.
b. People are afroth with the Pope's impending visit to the USA.
c. People are still blissed-out by Easter Vigil.
d. Those Jesuits clearly rule the blogosphere with the iron fist of death.

Hmmm. Regardless, the lack of attention is spiritually good for us Lasallian educators. But I have to go with answer D. I like the Jesuits. All I'm asking for in this op-ed is a little respect for John Baptiste and his continuing work. We may not have basketball teams, the Spiritual Exercises, huge mega-universities, or whopping magazines like America. But we've got apostolic zeal, baby. We're the prophets against a culture of death, because we are called as teachers to be signs of the God of life to those who are told--in direct and indirect ways--that their lives are less than relative squat. This world needs all this counter-cultural life-honoring zeal that we can get.

So: if you can read this, thank your teachers. If your teachers taught in classrooms that were graded, took all comers, spoke your native language, and treated you as a human being with dignity and a future, thank St. John Baptiste de la Salle. The statue pictured at right shows St. John Baptiste bending down to offer a reading to you. When you walk up and read the book, you will see it inscribed with Lasallian prayer: "Let us remember we are in the Holy Presence of God." Whether the teacher is in ancient Galilee, a makeshift classroom in Enlightenment-era France, or (gulp) in Minnesota: we teach and learn in God's presence.

St. John Baptiste de la Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!

(Nice tribute and picture by Lawrence, OP on Flickr here.)

p.s. and Lasallian bloggers, come out! Adoro, that means you!


PraiseDivineMercy said...

That first line got a laugh out loud from me... I can just see two confirmation candidates role playing this out along the lines of Superman vs. Goku. ^_^

But behold, the day did not go by without some remark in the blogosphere: http://gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/2008/04/st-john-baptist-de-la-salle.html

Eaglie said...

Ignatius took a CANNONBALL TO THE LEG. No Frenchman could beat him.

Kevin said...

Well, they have nothing on St. Anthony of the photographic memory and the amazing ability to urge donkeys to genuflect and fish to hear sermons.

I tried to put something out on St. John, but his resume is so very, very long.

Mac McLernon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adoro said...


You know, yesterday I stopped in at the chapel at my parish (I was off) and prayed to him for help with my stuff for class. So, believe it or not, he did get some honor yesterday.

St. John Baptiste de la Salle...pray for us! Live Jesus in our hearts...forever!

angelmeg said...

My dad went to de la Salle High School,and was taught by Christian Brothers. He spoke so highly of them that I have always had a special place in my heart for him, but not being an educator myself i suppose I gravitated toward the Ignatian spirituality for other reasons.

Loved the imagery.

Amy said...

Perhaps a Frenchman could not "beat" him, but how about a French woman!? St. Jeanne d'arc, my patron, took an arrow to the chest and pulled in out herself!

I have no admiration for present-day Jesuits as a whole. There are some wonderful exceptions (Fessio, Pacwa), but their order as a whole needs a serious kick in the pants from heaven by their founder.

Maureen said...


I guess I assumed all the schools were named after the explorer. I never even heard of this saint.

(Now, Franciscans I can tell you about. I guess this tells you who controlled the educational levers in my parish....)

Oh, well. I guess intellectual mortification is the best kind for my soul, but man!

Intrepid Mother of the Front Pew Crew said...

What an impressive statue of this most impressive saint! Where is it located?

The Ironic Catholic said...

Intrepid--click through to the picture source, and you will see where it is! I like it too. Looks bigger than it actually is in the picture, though.

Mark Elliott said...

As an education student that graduated from a La Sallian high school a few years ago, let me just say that I absolutely loved this post. La Salle is an utterly brilliant saint, who definitely doesn't get enough love.
La Salle's mission was truly one of social justice; he sought to fulfill the right the young have to an education, regardless of their social standing. He's nothing short of an inspiration.

So thank you, IC. And may Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Intrepid Mother of the Front Pew Crew said...

I clicked through, but still can't figure out where it was taken. Do you happen to know?

Anonymous said...

My dad went to a Christian Brothers high school (in the 1940s)and often told the story about the school troublemaker who taunted a Brother "If you weren't wearing that collar, I'd beat the crap out of you."

Whereupon the Brother did take off his collar and beat the daylights out of the student.

In our house, we had nothing but respect for the Christian Brothers and their righteous fists, but my own brother somehow wound up a Jesuit! (Dad didn't mind at all.)

Padre Steve said...

Well, I am a Salesian of Don Bosco and I think Don Bosco could take Ignatius in a foot race, but, maybe not a sword fight! God is so good and gives us so many good saints and founders! Nice blog! God bless! Padre Steve, SDB