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The Brief of our Holy Father Pope Pius XII proclaiming St. John Baptist de La Salle Patron of all Teachers

Posted on 14 June 2021

The saying of St. Bonaventure that " he only is a true educator who can kindle in the heart of his pupil the vision of beauty, illumine it with the light of truth and form it to virtue" is particularly apposite at the present time when the education of the young is not only frequently at variance with the principles of true moral training but is often godless and irreligious, and so harmful in the extreme. For this reason holy Mother Church cherishes with a solicitous affection those whose duty it is to educate children, all the more so as the welfare and increase of the Christian commonwealth depend on them in no small measure. A man of outstanding holiness and remarkable genius, JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE, once educated the young, and still, through the Society founded by him, continues to do so according to excellent principles and methods. Moreover, to train teachers for their important mission he established colleges which catered especially for village schoolmasters. The origin of training colleges for teachers, now to be found everywhere, must truly be attributed to him. So great, besides, was the esteem of this eminent pioneer in education for the office of teacher that he would not permit the Brothers founded by him to become priests lest they should be turned aside from their principal function, and he was convinced that their vocation could lead them to authentic sanctity.

In order, therefore, that teachers and student teachers might have a model whose example and virtues they could imitate, the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, through their Postulator General, begged Us that on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the canonisation of St. John Baptist de La Salle by Our predecessor of esteemed memory, Leo XIII, this saint should be proclaimed heavenly patron of all teachers of both sexes, clerical or lay, whether actually engaged in teaching or preparing for the profession.

We, for our part, convinced that the education of the young is of the first importance, and desirous that those to whom this task is confided or who are preparing for this mission should have a further powerful incentive to fulfil their exalted vocation in accordance with the principles of faith, most willingly accede to their wish. Wherefore, having consulted our Venerable Brother, Clemente Micara, Cardinal of the holy Roman Church, Bishop of Velletri and Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, and having attentively considered the matter, with sure knowledge and after mature deliberation, in the fullness of our apostolic authority, by virtue of this brief and for all time, We constitute and proclaim St. John Baptist de La Salle, Confessor, principal patron before God of all teachers of youth and accord him all the liturgical honours and privileges going with that title. All things to the contrary notwithstanding ....

Given at Rome, from St. Peter's, and sealed with the Fisherman's ring, the 15th day of May, Feast of St. John Baptist de La Salle.

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