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October 11, 2011

The Arrival Of St. De La Salle's Relic

Tomorrow, Oct. 12, 2011, the relic of St. John Baptist de la Salle, founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (or the Lasallian Brothers) and patron saint of all teachers, will arrive at the University of Saint La Salle - Bacolod City, the second La Salle school to be founded in the Philippines and the first La Salle school to be established outside of Manila. The arrival of the relic of the saint is in relation to the Centennial celebration of the De La Salle brothers. 2011 is the 100th year of Lasallian presence in the Philippines. For many non-Lasallians, St. John Baptist de la Salle may not be a familiar saint. Who is St. John Baptist de la Salle?

This description of the Saint is taken from a La Salle website:

"John Baptist de La Salle was born into a world very different from our own. He was the first son of wealthy parents living in France over 300 years ago. Born at Reims, John Baptist de La Salle received the tonsure at age eleven and was named Canon of the Reims Cathedral at sixteen. Though he had to assume the administration of family affairs after his parents died, 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 in order to establish schools for poor boys."

"De La Salle became involved in education little by little, without ever consciously setting out to do so. In 1679, what began as a charitable effort to help Adrian Nyel establish a school for the poor in De La Salle's home town gradually became his life's work. He thereby began a new order, the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, also known as the De La Salle Brothers (in the U.K., Ireland, Malta, Australasia, and Asia) or, most commonly in the United States, the Christian Brothers. (Wikipedia)"

When De La Salle decided to dedicate his life to the education of poor boys in France, it was a decision that gradually developed. Wrote St. John Baptist de la Salle (as cited in Wikipedia), "I had imagined that the care which I assumed of the schools and the masters would amount only to a marginal involvement committing me to no more than providing for the subsistence of the masters and assuring that they acquitted themselves of their tasks with piety and devotedness ... Indeed, if I had ever thought that the care I was taking of the schoolmasters out of pure charity would ever have made it my duty to live with them, I would have dropped the whole project. ... God, who guides all things with wisdom and serenity, whose way it is not to force the inclinations of persons, willed to commit me entirely to the development of the schools. He did this in an imperceptible way and over a long period of time so that one commitment led to another in a way that I did not foresee in the beginning of death."

St. De La Salle experienced a lot of challenges while running the Institute. Among his many challenges were the brothers and teachers he recruited. Many even left his newly organized Institute. Despite these obstacles, however, St. De La Salle did not waver. In 1691, St. De La Salle, Gabriel Drolin, and Nicolas Vuyart vowed association and union in order to establish the Society of the Christian Schools "even if only we three remained in the Society and were obliged to beg for alms and live on bread alone". This became known as The Heroic Vow.

Through his persistence and faith, more schools were established by St. De La Salle. He died on April 7, 1719. He was beatified on February 19, 1888 and canonized as a saint on May 4, 1900 (the first saint to be proclaimed in the 20th century).

It was in 1911 that the first La Salle Brothers came to the Philippines upon the invitation of the Archbishop of Manila (Archbishop Jeremiah James Harty). The archbishop himself was an alumnus of a Lasalllian school. From March up to June 1911, nine De La Salle Christian Brothers from Europe and the United States led by Brother Blimond FSC of France arrived in the Philippines. Together on June 16, 1911, the Brothers established the first Christian Brother school in the Philippines, De La Salle College, on Calle Nozaleda (now General Luna St.) in Paco, Manila. Because of increasing student population, the Brothers transferred the school to its present location on Taft Avenue in the Malate district of Manila in 1921.

In 1946, an opportunity for the Brothers to set up a second La Salle school in the country came when then Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Montelibano, Sr., offered them a ten-hectare lot (where the University stands today) for the purpose. In 1952, La Salle-Bacolod was established through the guidance and efforts of its three founding fathers, Bro. Felix Masson, Bro. Hugh Wester, and Bro. Dennis Ruhland, the first director of the school. La Salle-Bacolod opened with 175 male students from Prep to Grade 5, under seven faculty members. The school building was unimpressive, built amidst sprawling muddy grounds and bordered by canfields of adjoining lands. The following decade saw the expansion of La Salle from Grade School to College. This was made possible through pledges, donations, and fund drives actively supported by parents, alumni, and benefactors.

In 1988, La Salle College became a University, the first under the post-EDSA Aquino Administration. Since then, USLS Bacolod has become one of Bacolod's familiar landmarks.

The relic of the Founder which will come from St. Joseph's - La Salle will arrive at the USLS grounds at around 9:30a.m. A High Mass will be celebrated at around 10 a.m. The entire University is expected to meet the relic of St. John Baptist De La Salle, come rain or shine. The relic will then be housed at the USLS Chapel for 2 weeks for veneration.


GLORY TO YOU, O SAINT DE LA SALLE

WE RAISE OUR VOICE, WE SING OUR PRAISE TO YOU APOSTLE OF CHRIST, GUARDIAN OF YOUTH TEACHER AND BROTHER OF THE POOR WITH YOU WE ARE MOVED TO PRAY

"TEACH US, LORD, WE IMPLORE TO TOUCH THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO CONFIDED TO OUR CARE EMPOWERED BY YOUR LOVE IN FAITH AND SEAL OUR LIVES WE ENTRUST TO YOUR WILL LIVE JESUS IN OUR HEARTS (FOREVER)"

(REPEAT STANZA 1)

LIVE JESUS IN OUR HEARTS LIVE JESUS IN OUR HEARTS!






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