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Lasallian Saints and Blesseds

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The Catholic Church has been formally recognising saints since the second century, and becoming a saint means that person has lived and been recognised as leading an extraordinary, holy, Christian life. Becoming a saint is a three-step process including first being named Venerable; meaning he or she exhibited heroic virtues in their life. The second step is Beatification; before being beatified the person must have a miracle attributed to him or her. A martyr may be beatified and declared "Blessed" by virtue of martyrdom itself. Once a miracle is confirmed, the person is known as Blessed. The third and final step before canonization is having a second miracle attributed to his or her intercession, unless he or she was a martyr. After these three steps, a person is canonized and added to the list of saints.  

This timeline follows the journey of the saintly Brothers of the Christian Schools and their feast days, beginning with our founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle.  


Saint John Baptist de La Salle - Feast day 7 April 

Born in Reims, France, on April 30, 1651, into a devout and influential family, John Baptist de La Salle received the tonsure at age 11 and was named Canon of the Reims Cathedral at 16. He completed his theological studies and was ordained a priest on April 9, 1678. Two years later he received a doctorate in theology. Meanwhile he became tentatively involved with a group of rough and barely literate young men who wanted to establish schools for poor boys. Almost by accident, the young De La Salle gradually assumed the leadership of the small group of lay teachers. Moved by the plight of the poor who seemed so "far from salvation" either in this world or the next, he determined to put his own talents and advanced education at the service of the children "often left to themselves and badly brought up." To be more effective, he abandoned his family home, moved in with the teachers, renounced his position as Canon and his wealth, and so formed the community that became known as the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

His enterprise met opposition from the ecclesiastical authorities who resisted the creation of a new form of religious life, a community of consecrated laymen to conduct gratuitous schools "together and by association." The education establishment resented his innovative methods and his insistence on gratuity for all, regardless of whether they could afford to pay. Nonetheless De La Salle and his Brothers succeeded in creating a network of quality schools throughout France that featured instruction in the vernacular, students grouped according to ability and achievement, integration of religious instruction with secular subjects, well-prepared teachers with a sense of vocation and mission, and the involvement of parents. 

In addition, De La Salle pioneered programs for training lay teachers, Sunday courses for working young men, and one of the first institutions in France for the care of delinquents. Worn out by austerities and exhausting labors, he died on April 7, 1719, at Saint Yon near Rouen early on Good Friday, only weeks before his sixty-eighth birthday.

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Click HERE for images of St John Baptist de La Salle. 

Reflections:       Because La Salle said yes       The Founder as Uncle        Saint John Baptist de La Salle     Prayer Service


Saint Benilde Romançon (1805-1862) - Feast day 13 August 

Saint Benilde Romançon was born in Southern France in 1805, and was quite an amazing student. By the time he was just 14, the De La Salle Christian Brothers utilized him as a substitute teacher for their grade school classes. He eventually joined the De La Salle Christian Brothers in 1820, and was a good grade school teacher and later a high school teacher for teens who had never attended school before. He was a strict disciplinarian, had a strong religious spirit and inspired many men to join the De La Salle Christian Brothers. 

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Saint Miguel Febres Cordero (1854-1910) - Feast day 9 February

Saint Miguel Febres Cordero was born in 1854 in Ecuador. His family was prominent in politics and though he was crippled from birth, he was a good student who became a gifted teacher. In 1868, he became the first Ecuadorian De La Salle Christian Brother, despite his family’s urgings, to pursue a different career. Over time, he wrote many books and was honored for his scholarship by Ecuador and Spain. His students admired his simplicity, directness, concern for them and prayerfulness. He died in Spain in 1910 from pneumonia, and today, throughout the United States, several San Miguel Middle Schools that serve inner-city neighborhoods have been named after him as a tribute to his love for teaching and his good work with young students. 

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Saint Mutien-Marie Wiaux (1841-1917) - Feast day 30 January

Saint Mutien-Marie Wiaux was born Louis Wiaux in Belgium in 1841 where his father was a blacksmith and his mother helped run a café. Louis Wiaux joined the De La Salle Christian Brothers, took the name Brother Mutien-Marie and became a grade school music and art teacher. He spent 58 years at the same school and was known and loved for his patience and religious spirit.

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Saint Jaime Hilario Barbal (1898-1937) - Feast day 18 January 

Born Manuel Barbal Cosan, Brother Jaime grew up in Northern Spain and joined the De La Salle Christian Brothers when he was 19. Brother Jaime had hearing difficulties, and after teaching for 16 years he left the classroom to work as a gardener at the young Brothers’ training center, known as a House of Formation. A civil war broke out in Spain in the 1930s and the Communist Party that took control blamed the Catholic Church for many of Spain’s troubles. They arrested and killed church leaders and Brother Jamie was among those to suffer this fate in 1937. He refused to deny his religion, saying to the soldiers ordered to shoot him, “To die for Christ, my young friends, is to live.” When two volleys failed to meet their mark, the soldiers dropped their rifles and fled in panic. The frustrated commander then fired five shots at close range and killed Brother Jaime.

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The Saintly Martyrs of Turón (1934) - Feast Day is 9 October

The Spanish Civil War of the 1930s was both political and religious, and many in political power blamed the troubles of the country becoming more modern on the persuasion of religion. They also feared the influence religious leaders had on young people. In October 1934, in the northwest Spanish village of Turón, the De La Salle Christian Brothers defied the ban on teaching religion and openly escorted their students to Sunday Mass. In an attempt to eliminate the religious zeal of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, the army arrested them and their priest chaplain, and then shot them. Brother Cirilo, 46, was the director, Brother Marciano, 39, was the cook, Brother Julián was 32, and five other De La Salle Christian Brothers were in their twenties. 

  • Saint Cirilo Bertrán 
  • Saint Marciano José 
  • Saint Julián Alfredo 
  • Saint Victoriano Pio 
  • Saint Benjamin Julián 
  • Saint Augusto Andrés 
  • Saint Benito de Jesús 
  • Saint Aniceto Adolfo 
  • Saint Inocencio de la Immaculada 

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Saint Solomon Le Clercq (1745-1792) - Feast day 2 September

Saint Solomon Le Clercq was born in 1745, and was a devoted teacher and skilled financial manager for the De La Salle Christian Brothers. He lived during the time of the French Revolution, where the common people rose up against the royalty of France and established a more democratic form of government. As part of this revolution, the new leaders made times difficult for the official religion - Roman Catholicism and all Catholic organizations became illegal. The De La Salle Christian Brothers and their work was almost fully dismantled as a result. The De La Salle Christian Brothers refused to swear loyalty to this new government, resulting in them having to live in secrecy. In 1792, Saint Solomon Le Clercq was arrested by the government, imprisoned with several other church leaders and was executed shortly after imprisonment.

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Blessed Arnold Rèche (1838-1890) - Feast day 23 October

Blessed Brother Arnold Rèche was born in 1838 to a poor family in France. Growing up, he worked as a stable boy, coachman and construction worker. He was drawn to the De La Salle Christian Brothers because of his religious spirit and joined them in 1862, when he was 34. He learned math, science, agriculture and religion while teaching at a boarding school in Reims, the town in which the founder of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Saint John Baptist de La Salle, grew up. When France was at war in the 1870s, he cared for the wounded from both sides. He had an amazing ability to sense what others were thinking and the De La Salle Christian Brothers remembered him saying often that the Holy Spirit of God “strengthens a person’s heart.” When he died in Reims in 1890, he had a reputation for great holiness.

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Reflections:       Blessed Arnold Rèche


Blessed Scubilion Rousseau (1797-1867) - Feast day 27 September

Blessed Brother Scubilion Rousseau was born 1797. As a teenager, he volunteered to teach religion classes and eventually joined the De La Salle Christian Brothers in Paris in 1822.  When he was 36, he left France to pursue missionary work. For the next 34 years, Brother Rousseau worked among the enslaved natives of the island of Réunion off the coast of Madagascar, and was dearly loved by the people of this island nation for his kindness and devotion to his students. He was primarily a catechist, a teacher of religion, but in his later years, he visited the sick, won sinners over to Christianity and was highly respected everywhere on the island as a living saint among the people. He died in 1867.

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The Blessed Martyrs of Almeria (1936) - Feast day 16 November

The Catholic Church holds dear anyone who endures the loss of life because of their Christian witness. During the first centuries of Christianity, this was the fate of thousands of early followers of Jesus, and sadly, this has happened in every  century since the time of Jesus. In the 1930s, many were executed in Spain  because they were religious leaders. In 1936, seven De La Salle Christian Brothers in Almería, Spain, were arrested and condemned for teaching the Catholic faith. They were: 

  • Brother José Cecilio Rodríguez González 
  • Brother Amalio Zariquiegui Mendoza 
  • Brother Valerio Bernardo Herrero Martínez 
  • Brother Edmigio Primo Rodríguez 
  • Brother Evencio Ricardo Alonso Uyarra 
  • Brother Aurelio María Villalón Acebrón 
  • Brother Teodomiro Joaquin Sáiz Sáiz

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The Blessed Martyrs of the Rochefort (1794) - Feast day 2 September 

Brothers Roger, Léon and Uldaric lived in France in the 1790s, the years of revolution in that country. All religious leaders were required to sign an oath of allegiance to the government which would be more binding on a person than his or her allegiance to the Catholic Church. Many priests, brothers and religious sisters refused to sign such an oath. Some fled the country, some were arrested, put in prison and even tortured. In 1794, 827 of these prisoners endured months of captivity on two boats –no bigger than large pontoons. Brothers Roger, Léon and Uldaric were three of the 542 who died on these boats as victims of suffering for their faith during the French Revolution. 

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The Blessed Martyrs of Valencia (1936) - Feast Day 1 July

Five De La Salle Christian Brothers lived in Spain during the days when the government was persecuting those who were Christian, and often executing anyone who was a Christian leader. Brother Florencio Martín was kind, optimistic and talented in art and music. Brother Bertrán Franciso was steady, frugal, patient, modest and hard-working. Brother Ambrosio León was a competent, distinguished and highly respected teacher. Brother Elias Julián was a simple person always willing to serve. Brother Honorato Andrés was quiet, thoughtful and understanding. These men had been working peacefully in the educational ministries of the De La Salle Christian Brothers near Barcelona and because of persecution there, they fled to Valencia so they could continue their service. When the authorities discovered these five were professed De La Salle Christian Brothers, they were arrested and executed.

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Blessed Leonardo José (1886-1936) - Feast day 6 November

Born José María Aragonés Mateu in Tarragona, Spain, on May 21, 1886. He studied at the seminary and while at the College of Tarragona decided to become a Brother of the Christian Schools. In 1910, he entered the Novitiate in Burgos. He was sent to Catalonia, where he began his apostolate and in 1914 was appointed deputy director of a boarding school in Barcelona. In 1928, Brother Leonardo became Brother Visitor of the District, where he served for eight years until  August 8, 1936, when he was detained by the militia and executed. He was beatified in 2007 along with 487 other martyrs of the Spanish Civil War.


Blessed Raphael-Louis Rafiringa (1856-1919) - Feast day 19 May

Blessed Brother Raphael-Louis Rafiringa was born to an upper class, but pagan family in Antananarivo, Madagascar. At 10 years of age, he was one of the first students at a school opened by the De La Salle Christian Brothers in Madagascar. In 1869, he was baptized, in 1876 he entered the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and in 1879, he made the Annual Profession. When the foreign missionaries were expelled from the island, he was elected Chief of the Catholic Union for all Madagascar. He went on to teach, work, write and compose music. He was honored with the Medal of the Civil Merit for his successful efforts to normalize relations between France and Madagascar.

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The Blessed Brothers of Barcelona (1936) - Feast day 6 November

In 1936, there were 32 Lasallian ministries in Catalonia. All were forcibly abandoned when the religious persecution became violent. Many were pillaged and some burned. De La Salle Christian Brothers from 26 communities were executed. Brother Leonardo José, Visitor, and Brother Dionisio Luis, Director of the La Salle Bononova College, were in the Cerdaña area when they learned of the sad news. They tried to get to Barcelona and Cambrils to be close to the De La Salle Christian Brothers and to those in formation, but were arrested, shot, and killed in Traverseras. Today their remains are at San Martin de Sasgayolas. The other 95 De La Salle Christian Brothers of the District suffered the same fate. The youngest was only 18 years old, while the oldest was 60. Forty-four of these De La Salle Christian Brothers are included in this canonical process.

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The Blessed Brothers of the Community of Santa Cruz de Mudela (1936) - Feast day 6 November

In 1936, Santa Cruz de Mudela was a small town in the province of Ciudad Real. There was a school run by five De La Salle Christian Brothers. In 1936, a group of militia overran the school and arrested the De La Salle Christian Brothers. They were taken to a prison to be tormented and humiliated. Several times a day they were forced to sweep the public square while being insulted and verbally abused. Forced to do military marches while singing Marxist slogans, their faces were slapped. A group of militia showed up and demanded to see the De La Salle Christian Brothers and other prisoners (including five priests) – all of whom were executed at midnight in the cemetery at Valdepeñas. 


The Blessed Brothers of the Community of Lorca (1936) - Feast day 6 November

Five De La Salle Christian Brothers were in their community at the San José elementary school in Lorca, a town in Murcia. In 1936, a group of 20 militia invaded the house and searched all of the rooms for weapons and money. Finding neither, the militia arrested the De La Salle Christian Brothers anyway. After unsuccessfully being able to testify and be set free, the De La Salle Christian Brothers were taken to a mountain where there were sulphur mines. They were shot by militia and their bodies were thrown into a deep sulphur pool, now known as the “pool of martyrs.” 


The Blessed Brothers of the Process of Madrid n. 1 (1936) - Feast Day 6 November 

In the Griñón community, there was a juniorate, novitiate, scholasticate and a house for sick De La Salle Christian Brothers. One day, a group of militia invaded the property. There were 10 De La Salle Christian Brothers there at the time. They were forced to line up in front of the chapel while militia destroyed sacred images, objects and furniture. The De La Salle Christian Brothers and a house employee were executed because of their religious beliefs, their bodies left outside on the ground. A group of townspeople and a judge later helped identify the bodies and bury them on the De La Salle Christian Brothers’ property. Included in this canonical process are eight other De La Salle Christian Brothers from the Asilo Sagrado Corazón community and three from the Camberi community.

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The Blessed Brothers of the Process of Madrid n. 2 (1936) - Feast Day 6 November 

The community of Editorial Bruño was a printing house that published textbooks composed by De La Salle Christian Brothers but often used in state schools. One day, a group of communist militia went to the house and pretended to inspect it looking for arms and money. This was only an excuse. Without any explanation, they pushed the eight De La Salle Christian Brothers who were there into a jeep, drove them to Casa de Campo (part of Madrid), and killed them. Also included in this canonical process are another eight De La Salle Christian Brothers from different communities.

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The Blessed Brothers of Tarragona (1952-1959) - Feast Day 6 November

De La Salle Christian Brothers in Tarragona from 1952-1959 belonged to different Brothers’ communities. When persecution became fierce, they were forced to find refuge wherever they could to avoid the danger of being discovered or denounced. Six De La Salle Christian Brothers pretended to be tourists and took refuge at the National Hotel of Tarragona. They were discovered and executed together with the owner of the hotel who had given them hospitality. An employee from the house of the De La Salle Christian Brothers was forced to shoot two other Brothers of Cambrils even though he refused. Other De La Salle Christian Brothers were arrested and taken to prison where groups of them were shot each day. There are 39 total De La Salle Christian Brothers included in this canonical process.

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Brother James Santiago Miller (1944-1982) - Feast Day 13 February

The Vatican will formally hear the cause of the beatification of alumnus Brother James (Santiago) Miller, FSC ’66, M’74, in spring of 2018. An American missionary, Brother James was killed in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, on Feb. 13, 1982. 

Brother James is often remembered for the way his life ended. A life ended too soon, Brother James was only 37 when he was shot and killed by three masked gunmen as he was mending a wall outside a school where he worked. After graduating from Saint Mary’s, Brother James taught high school in the Midwest for several years before going to Nicaragua and eventually Guatemala. At the Casa Indigena school, Brother James taught English, religion and Guatemalan art to secondary level students. Aware of the oppression of the indigenous people of Guatemala and their need to be trained in job skills and leadership skills, he helped begin an experimental farm where indigenous students learned agricultural methods and improvements. More importantly, he prepared native leaders for rural areas who would work for collective development in their villages.

The cause of beatification was undertaken by the Diocese of Huehuetenango, Guatemala, in 2009 and received the Decree of Validity in Rome in July 2010 when Brother James was designated a “Servant of God” and a martyr for the faith. Because he is considered a martyr, a miracle would not be necessary for his possible beatification, but will be necessary for canonization, or the full declaration of sainthood.

Click HERE for more information or click HERE to view the dedicated website. 



Source: History of Lasallian Saints, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota.