Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools
St. John Baptist de la Salle (also: Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle), (1651–1719), Founder
|Motto||"Signum fidei" Latin, ("Sign of faith")|
|Type||religious teaching congregation|
|Headquarters||Generalate of the Brothers of the Christian Schools|
Bro. Robert Schieler, F.S.C.
|St. John Baptist de La Salle – founder|
"The Brothers of the Christian Schools" (also known as the "Christian Brothers", the "Lasallian Brothers", the "French Christian Brothers", or the "De La Salle Brothers"; French: "Frères des écoles chrétiennes"; Latin: "Fratres Scholarum Christianarum") is a Roman Catholic religious teaching congregation, founded in France by Jean-Baptiste de La Salle (1651–1719), and now based in Rome, Italy. The Brothers use the post-nominal abbreviation of "F.S.C." to denote their membership of the order, and use the honorific title of "Brother", abbreviated "Br.".
De La Salle said: "The spirit of this Institute is first, a spirit of faith, which should induce those who compose it not to look upon anything but with the eyes of faith, not to do anything but in view of God, and to attribute all to God." (Rule 1718). He also said that “To touch the hearts of your students and to inspire them with the Christian spirit is the greatest miracle you could perform, and the one that God asks of you, since this is the purpose of your work.”
The Brothers' Rule states that the mission of the Institute is “to provide a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor, according to the ministry entrusted to them by the church.”
Requirements on members
Members of the order take vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, and are required to give their services without any remuneration and to wear a special habit of coarse black material, consisting of a cassock, a hooded cloak with hanging sleeves and a broad-brimmed hat. A clause in its rules forbids the admission of priests with a theological education, which gave rise to the nickname "Ignorantines" ("Frères Ignorantins").
The order was founded by Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, a French priest from a wealthy family. He spent his life on teaching poor children in parish charity schools, and was canonized as a saint on May 15, 1900. In 1950 Pope Pius XII declared him to be the "Special Patron of All Teachers of Youth in the Catholic Church".
Informal names that have been used for the order, in addition to "Ignorantines", are "Frères de Saint-Yon", from the house at Rouen in France, which was their headquarters from 1705 until 1770, "Frères a quatre bras", from their hanging sleeves, and "Frères Fouetteurs", from their former use of the whip (fouet) in punishments.
The order, approved by Pope Benedict XIII in 1724, rapidly spread over France. It was dissolved by a decree of the National Assembly set up after the French revolution in February 1790, but recalled by Napoleon I in 1804 and formally recognized by the French government in 1808. Since then its members penetrated into nearly every country of Europe, and into America, Asia and Africa. They numbered about 14,000 members at the beginning of the 20th century running over 2000 schools. The "De La Salle Christian Brothers" are the largest Roman Catholic lay religious order of men exclusively devoted to education.
In accordance with their mission statement "to provide a human and Christian education ... especially [to] the poor" the Brothers' principal activity is education, especially of the poor.
As of 2014[update] the Institute conducted educational work in 80 different countries, in both developed and developing nations, with more than 800,000 students enrolled in its educational works.
Sexual abuse of boys
In the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, the largest inquiry of its type in UK legal history into institutional sexual and physical abuse in Northern Ireland institutions that were in charge of children from 1922 to 1995, the De La Salle Brothers admitted in 2014 to the abuse of boys at the former De La Salle Boys' Home, Rubane House, in Kircubbin, County Down, Northern Ireland, and issued an apology to its victims.
The Inquiry's first public hearings were held from January to May 2014, and continued from 1 September 2014 at Banbridge courthouse, with open oral testimony to finish in June 2015, and with the inquiry team reporting to the Executive by the start of 2016. Module 3: De La Salle Boys Home at Rubane House, Kircubbin, started on 29 September 2014 and was completed on 17 December, when the chairman paid tribute to the victims who testified. Evidence called and transcripts were posted on the NIHIAI Web site. Billy McConville, orphaned when his mother Jean McConville was abducted and shot by the IRA in 1972, waived anonymity and described repeated sexual and physical abuse, and starvation, at Rubane House, saying "Christians looking after young boys – maybe they were Christians, but to me they were devils disguised in that uniform."
On 29 April, 2015 a former member of staff at St Gilbert's approved school in Hartlebury, Worcestershire was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault and grievous bodily harm and bailed until June while investigations continue. Police launched an investigation the previous year into allegations of abuse at the school between the 1940s and 1970s after former pupils were interviewed by BBC Hereford and Worcester. 
In 1981, the Institute started Christian Brothers Investment Services, which says it is a responsible investing service exclusively for Catholic organisations, and that it "encourage[s] companies to improve policies and practices through active ownership".
- Jean-Baptiste de La Salle
- Bénilde Romançon
- Jaime Hilario Barbal
- Miguel Febres Cordero
- Mutien-Marie Wiaux
- "Home". Manhattan College.
- http://www.lasalle.org/en/2014/05/br-robert-schieler-elected-superior-general/ "Br. Robert Schieler elected Superior General ", 21 May 2014. Retrieved on 11 June 2014.
- BBC News: Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry - the background, 13 January 2014
- The Guardian newspaper, 14 January 2014
- Belfast Telegraph: Rubane House 'like Hell upon Earth' for 69-year-old branded a liar for reporting his abuse as boy, 9 October 2014
- BBC News: Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry examines Australian migration, 12 August 2014
- BBC:Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry tribute to witnesses, 17 December 2014
- NIHIAI Web site - Module 3 timetable
- UTV:Jean McConville's child 'abused at Rubane', 6 November 2014
- BBC News: St Gilbert's school abuse inquiry suspect arrested, 29 April 2015
- CBIS: Overview
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.|
- De La Salle Christian Brothers
- De La Salle Christian Brothers, Province of Great Britain
- Brief history of the Lasallian Institute
- Catholic Encyclopedia article
- Works by Christian Brothers at Project Gutenberg
- Internet Archive