May 15 ---------------- St. John Baptist de la Salle
John Baptist, the eldest of ten children, was born in France into a family of magistrates. At a very young age, he experienced a strong revulsion to the social gatherings of the day.
Noticing this uncommon sentiment, a cousin introduced him to the lives of the saints, which influenced him to study theology. In July of 1671, St. John's mother died leaving him the responsibility of educating his brothers and sisters.
At that same time, he came in contact with the need for Catholic education of poor boys, which resulted in the founding of the Brothers of the Christian Schools or Christian Brothers, a group of priests and laymen. This was a congregation which became a force in the Church and society in forming boys to become good Catholics, had to face many obstacles along with St. John, himself.
Persecution posed ongoing sufferings of all kinds. The lay teachers were booed in the streets or had mud thrown at them. The Jansenists threatened the orthodoxy of the foundation and caused many to abandon their vocation. Finally, St. John was deprived of his priestly powers because of slanders and intrigues. His mission came to an end with his death on April 7, 1719, Good Friday.
St. John Baptist de la Salle accepted all his sufferings with the calm and conviction that God's will would be accomplished. He knew that every apostolate has to be germinated with suffering. Let us ask him to help us increase our love of suffering in order to fulfill the special vocation that God has given us.